Palliative care consultations for patients with life-threatening illnesses provide benefits for the patients and their families as well as for the health care team. Patients have better quality of life and live longer but cost the health care system less. Still, many patients are not offered the opportunity to receive a palliative care consultation. Barriers to palliative care consultation for patients in critical care units include misunderstandings about palliative care and not having agreed upon criteria for referral. Critical care nurses can assist in overcoming these barriers.

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