Challenges in End-of-Life Decisions in the Intensive Care Unit: An Ethical Perspective [Book Review]

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (1):93-101 (2013)
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When making end-of-life decisions in intensive care units (ICUs), different staff groups have different roles in the decision-making process and may not always assess the situation in the same way. The aim of this study was to examine the challenges Danish nurses, intensivists, and primary physicians experience with end-of-life decisions in ICUs and how these challenges affect the decision-making process. Interviews with nurses, intensivists, and primary physicians were conducted, and data is discussed from an ethical perspective. All three groups found that the main challenges were associated with interdisciplinary collaboration and future perspectives for the patient. Most of these challenges were connected with ethical issues. The challenges included different assessments of treatment potential, changes and postponements of withholding and withdrawing therapy orders, how and when to identify patients’ wishes, and suffering caused by the treatment. To improve end-of-life decision-making in the ICU, these challenges need to be addressed by interdisciplinary teams



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Hanne Jensen
Whitman College

References found in this work

Enough: The Failure of the Living Will.Angela Fagerlin & Carl E. Schneider - 2004 - Hastings Center Report 34 (2):30-42.

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