Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Intensive care units poorly equipped to care for the dying

05.10.2009
Almost half of the patients who die in intensive care units die within 24 hours, but the environment is not equipped to provide good end-of-life care.

Most relatives are nevertheless happy with the care given, shows a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

An intensive care unit (ICU) is designed primarily to save lives rather than provide end-of-life care. When a patient dies on an ICU, this often follows a sudden illness or trauma, and neither the patient nor relatives are prepared for death.

"The location and environment in which people die mean a lot not only for the person who is dying but also for those who are to look after them and those who must learn to live without them," says nurse Isabell Fridh, who wrote the thesis.

Her thesis shows that Swedish ICUs are often unable to care for dying patients in separate rooms. The waiting rooms to which relatives are sent are often too few and too small. Most units do not have a care programme for end-of-life care, and many also have no procedures in place for supporting relatives after a death, which is standard practice at hospices. The results also show that almost half of the patients (in the study) died within 24 hours after admittance (to intensive care), and 40% of these did not have any relatives present at the time of death.

"This may seem to paint a bleak picture, but the truth is that most of the relatives I interviewed for my thesis thought that the care given was a positive experience despite their sense of loss," says Fridh. "Many feel that their loved one benefited from all available medical resources and that everything that could be done to save their life was indeed done."

Relatives rarely complain about the physical environment, but they do not like to be separated from the patient against their will, and greatly appreciate being able to spend that last bit of time with their loved one in a private room.

Isabell Fridh also interviewed ICU nurses, who do their utmost to care for dying patients even where the environment is not well suited to it. Nurses use the available medical technology to alleviate patients' suffering and try hard to provide privacy and give relatives a lasting sense that their loved one's death was peaceful and dignified.

For more information:
Isabell Fridh, PhD and nurse, +46 31-786 60 59, 070-172 27 28, isabell.fridh@fhs.gu.se
The thesis was successfully defended on October 2.
Title: Vårdmiljö, vård och omvårdnad vid livets slut inom intensivvård (End of life in intensive care units: health care environment and nursing)

Link to thesis: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/20463

The thesis is based on the following papers:
I. Fridh, I., Forsberg, A., & Bergbom, I. (2007). End-of-life care in intensive care units - family routines and environmental factors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 21, 25-31.
II. Fridh, I., Forsberg, A., & Bergbom, I. (2007). Family presence and environmental factors
at the time of a patient's death in an ICU. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavia, 51, 395-401.
III. Fridh, I., Forsberg, A., & Bergbom, I. (2009). Close relatives' experiences of caring andof the physical environment when a loved one dies in an ICU. Intensive and Critical CareNursing, 25, 111 -119.
IV. Fridh, I., Forsberg, A., & Bergbom, I. (2009). Doing one's utmost: Nurses' descriptions of caring for dying patients in an intensive care environment. Intensive and Critical Care

Nursing, in press, doi:10.1016/j.iccn.2009.06.007

BY: Elin Lindström Claessen
elin.lindstrom@sahlgrenska.gu.se
+46 31-7863869

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/20463
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>