Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nursing and End-of-Life Care

"I have often heard that one of the most valuable things that nurses do for patients is to help them die well."

In a new article, "End-of-Life Care by Nurses in the ICU," in Medscape Today, Marilyn W. Edmunds, PhD, CRNP and Laurie Scudder, MS, NP report on a small study which was designed to explore nurses' perceptions about caring for dying patients, specifically focused on unaccompanied patients, involvement of family members and environmental facets. In their interviews with 9 experienced intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, the researchers found that nurses were most concerned with providing dignified end-of-life care and ensuring that present relatives would remember the death of their loved one as calm and dignified, despite previous suffering.

INQRI researchers Lissi Hansen, PhD, RN and Richard Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR were recently funded to examine "Nursing's Specific Contributions to Quality Palliative Care within the Context of Interdisciplinary Intensive Care Practice." Their study will explore the relationships between quality palliative nursing care delivered in ICUs and patient and family outcomes. They will also look at how to measure and to improve these outcomes. The purpose of this investigator-initiated study is to examine nursing's specific contributions to quality palliative care provided to patients and their families in the ICU.

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