Australian intensive care nurses' evaluation of end of life care

2017-02-15T23:33:48Z (GMT) by Rattu, Merlin
End of life care (EOLC) in the intensive care unit (ICU) is becoming increasingly common. As a result, intensive care unit (ICU) nurses are required to make a switch from a curative mode of care, to one which promotes a peaceful death. In this transition, nurses are often ill prepared and therefore, further research is needed to adequately prepare nurses to provide this specialised care. The aims of this study were to assess the quality of dying and death in Australian ICUs according to intensive care nurses; to identify areas for improvement in current EOLC nursing practice; to identify Australian intensive care nurses' level of EOLC education to evaluate the possible need for further education; and to describe Palliative Care and Social Work involvement in EOLC. An ICU version of the Quality of Death and Dying (QODD) questionnaire was used in this study. Participants were accessed through the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN). There were 220 participants in this study. The findings of this study indicated that education, experience, patients' conscious state at the time of death, and having someone present at the time of death affected the quality of dying and death in Australian ICUs. Participants also expressed their views that education alone is insufficient in preparing nurses to deal with dying and death; and that learning through experience is also important. This study also found that palliative care services were underutilised. These results strengthen what is already known about this topic and suggests ways in which the quality of EOLC may be improved in future practice.