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 Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>