Withdrawal of life support is an option for patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation when all attempts at weaning have failed and it is deemed futile to continue the therapy, when quality of life is unacceptable, or when it is perceived that the patient is suffering. The purpose of this article is to present the nursing aspects of managing an adult patient undergoing the withdrawal of mechanical ventilation as an end-of-life procedure. Withdrawal of mechanical ventilation is a complex and difficult process that requires meticulous planning and management. Conferences with the patient and the patient’s family are critical to addressing emotional support and ensuring that everyone understands the process and is provided an opportunity to gather information. Clear communication with patients and their families can ensure that the process goes smoothly. Having an organized approach can ensure that patients experience a peaceful death and staff experience closure regarding the event.
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Cover Article| June 01 2012
Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment: A Case Study
Kathleen M. Stacy, RN, PhD, CNS, CCRN, PCCN, CCNS
Kathleen M. Stacy is a clinical nurse specialist in the intermediate care unit at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California.
Corresponding author: Kathleen M. Stacy, rn, phd, Intermediate Care Unit, Palomar Medical Center, 555 Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Crit Care Nurse (2012) 32 (3): 14–24.
Kathleen M. Stacy; Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment: A Case Study. Crit Care Nurse 1 June 2012; 32 (3): 14–24. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn2012152
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