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Type: Journal article
Title: Withdrawal of life-support treatment: the experience of critical care nurses
Author: Jones, Tina
FitzGerald, Mary
Citation: Australian Critical Care. 11(4):117-121
Issue Date: 1998
ISSN: 1036-7314
Abstract: Technological advances in health care have made it possible to restore and prolong life for patients who would have died in the past. Unfortunately, one consequence of this is that some patients linger in intensive care units (ICUs), dependent on the technologies but with no hope of recovery. Therefore, decisions regarding withdrawal of life-support treatment are increasingly being faced by the health-care team. This study aimed to explore the lived experience of critical care nurses who had cared for patients during withdrawal of life-support. The methodology employed was interpretive phenomenology. Interviews were conducted with seven critical care nurses, with the meanings of the experience of withdrawal of life-support treatment for these nurses extrapolated from the narratives and clustered into themes. The study highlighted the importance of honest communication during the processes of decision-making and withdrawal of treatment. It was important for these nurses to be sure that family members were well-informed regarding the process of withdrawal of life-support treatment and that they could provide support and ensure that the patient's comfort and dignity were maintained during the process. The need to debrief after the event became evident but formal debriefing processes were rarely undertaken.
DOI: 10.1016/S1036-7314(98)70498-9
Appears in Collections:Nursing publications

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