OVERVIEW: Patients and family members often aren't aware that the use of life-support interventions at the end of life—when the body's systems and organs are failing—can have unintended consequences. Nurses need to be knowledgeable and able to communicate what they know about those consequences to patients, family members, and others on the health care team, leading to better decision making at this difficult time.
This article helps nurses communicate to patients and families the consequences of using life-support interventions at the end of life, leading to better decision making at this difficult time.
Shirley A. Scott is a nurse thanatologist and volunteer community representative on the bioethics committee at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando, FL.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author of this article has no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.