critical care, end of life, family support, palliative care



  1. Robley, Lois PhD, RN
  2. Denton, Sherry BSN, RN, CCRN


Death in the critical care area of hospitals is often preceded by withdrawal of life-sustaining technology, creating immeasurable stress and grief for patients and the families of the person dying. This study was designed to evaluate a critical care nurse liaison program to determine its effectiveness and provide direction for program improvement and possible replication. A retrospective outcome analysis of data from telephone interviews with 22 significant others of those served by the critical care nurse liaison found that a majority of family members felt supported. The services of the critical care nurse liaison were helpful in improving communication as well as cultural and religious sensitivity and paid sufficient attention to the distress of family members. There was significant difference between satisfaction scores of family members of male and female patients. As a palliative care practitioner, the critical care nurse liaison was valued for her focus on the unique problems of dying in critical care.