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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 129-131

End of life in the Burn/Trauma unit: A nursing perspective

The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 W. 10th Avenue, N748 Doan Hall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Correspondence Address:
Rebecca Coffey
MSN CNP The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 W. 10th Avenue, N748 Doan Hall, Columbus, OH 43210
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5151.84799

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The issues related to end of life decisions and mortality in the intensive care unit are common occurrences for the nursing staff. For the Critical Care/Burn nurse, issues such as who should be resuscitated, what are the end points of treatment, and what will be the quality of life for the patient if he/she survives are major factors in end of life decisions. Furthermore, the close relationships that can develop between the nurse and the patient and/or the patient's family make end of life decisions emotionally difficult. Unlike the other members of the multidisciplinary team, the nurses spend more time with the dying patient and his/her family, answering questions, explaining the care and course of the illness, and assisting the patient and family in understanding what the doctors have said. Repeated explanations are needed because the family and patient are under tremendous stress. Nurses experience emotional distress and need to develop resilience to continue to care for and work with patients approaching the end stages of life. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review the literature and use a case scenario to illustrate the challenges the Critical Care/Burn nurse faces when caring for the dying patient.

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