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Decision making, Dying patients, Ethics



  1. Ott, Barbara B. RN, PhD


Practitioners in critical care have made a significant progress in caring for dying patients in critical care by taking advantage of the suggestions from their professional groups. Progress has been made in responding to and controlling patients' pain. Major initiatives from the Joint Commission and the American Pain Society have helped direct this improvement. Palliative care consultations as well as ethics consultations have improved symptom control in the critically ill. Issues of consent have been problematic for dying patients in critical care especially in the area of discontinuing therapies. But, better policies related to advance directives have been developed to ensure good care. Spiritual care has received more attention, and now chaplains are recognized by the Society for Critical Care Medicine as integral to the critical care team. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has been a leader in improving end-of-life issues and continues to spearhead many projects to improve end-of-life care.