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Death in Trauma: The Role of the ACNP in Patient Advocacy and Familial Support in End-of-Life Care Decision-Making

Barndt, Stephanie, N., MSN, CRNP, AGACNP-BC, CEN

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000363

The trauma acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) participates in the care of critically-ill patients by utilizing his or her advanced clinical skills at the bedside and through communication with the interdisciplinary team, the patient, and the patient's family. Although the incidence of morbidity is decreasing in trauma, death can occur shortly after arrival to hospital, or in the days after initial injury, leading to the need for the unexpected conversation of end-of-life wishes with a patient or the patient's family. It is within the scope of the ACNP to facilitate these conversations, and it is recommended that ACNPs engage patients and their families in these conversations for overall improved patient outcomes. Many techniques exist to aid in this difficult decision-making process and may be useful to the trauma ACNP when having end-of-life discussions.

Department of Medicine, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia, and Paoli Hospital, Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Stephanie N. Barndt, MSN, CRNP, AGACNP-BC, CEN, Department of Medicine, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, 51 N. 39th Street, Wright-Saunders W128, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (

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The author declares no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.