City Research Online

Challenges and facilitators in providing effective end of life care in intensive care units

Ivany, E. & Aitken, L. M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5722-9090 (2019). Challenges and facilitators in providing effective end of life care in intensive care units. Nursing Standard, 34(6), pp. 44-50. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11248


Caring for patients who are at the end of their lives is an essential aspect of practice in intensive care units (ICUs). While intensive care is one of the fastest-growing healthcare specialties as a result of technological and scientific advances, a significant proportion of patients admitted to an ICU in the UK will not survive their ICU stay. Therefore, it is important to examine ways to enhance practice in this area and the factors that might affect the care provided to patients and their families. AIM: To identify the challenges and facilitators that members of the ICU multidisciplinary team encounter in the delivery of end of life care to dying patients in ICUs. METHOD: A scoping literature review was undertaken. Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) Plus with full text, MEDLINE Complete and the EBSCOhost E-Journals Database were searched electronically to identify literature from April 2007 to April 2017, alongside hand-searching. Critical appraisal tools were used and thematic analysis was undertaken to analyse the data and identify themes. FINDINGS: Ten articles were included in the literature review, which identified various challenges and facilitators in providing effective end of life care in ICUs. The main themes identified were: communication, family involvement, personal factors and the ICU environment. CONCLUSION: All of the studies included in the literature review identified several important challenges related to communication, such as time constraints, disagreements among healthcare professionals, and a lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals about how to conduct challenging conversations with patients and families. Future developments in practice should consider the role of effective multidisciplinary team-working in end of life care.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the author accepted manuscript. You can access the version of record here,
Publisher Keywords: communication, critical care, death, end of life care, good death, intensive care, literature review, palliative care, patient-centred care, patients, person-centred care, research
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
Text - Accepted Version
Download (226kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login