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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 3

of 'Palliative care: Medically futile and potentially inappropriate therapies of questionable benefit'

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A Balancing Act: Experiences of Nurses and Physicians When Making End-of-Life Decisions in Intensive Care Units.
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McAndrew NS, Leske JS
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Clin Nurs Res. 2015;24(4):357. Epub 2014 May 25.
 
The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive study was to describe end-of-life decision-making experiences as understood by critical care nurses and physicians in intensive care units (ICUs). A purposive sample of seven nurses and four physicians from a large teaching hospital were interviewed. Grounded theory analysis revealed the core category of "end-of-life decision making as a balancing act." Three interacting subthemes were identified: emotional responsiveness, professional roles and responsibilities, and intentional communication and collaboration. Balancing factors included a team approach, shared goals, understanding the perspectives of those involved, and knowing your own beliefs. In contrast, feeling powerless, difficult family dynamics, and recognition of suffering caused an imbalance. When balance was achieved during end-of-life decision making, nurses and physicians described positive end-of-life experiences. The consequence of an imbalance during an end-of-life decision-making experience was moral distress. Practice recommendations include development of support interventions for nurses and physicians involved in end-of-life decision making and further research to test interventions aimed at improving communication and collaboration.
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Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, WI, USA natalie.mcandrew@froedtert.com.
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