Ethics. Research. Community.

Synergizing acute care and palliative care to optimise nursing care in end-stage cardiorespiratory disease.

Australian critical care : official journal of the Confederation of Australian Critical Care Nurses. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Advances in the practice of medicine and nursing science have increased survival for patients with chronic cardiorespiratory disease. Parallel to this positive outcome is a societal expectation of longevity and cure of disease. Chronic disease and the inevitability of death creates a dilemma, more than ever before, for the health care professional, who is committed to the delivery of quality care to patients and their families. The appropriate time for broaching the issue of dying and determining when palliative care is required is problematic. Dilemmas occur with a perceived dissonance between acute and palliative care and difficulties in determining prognosis. Palliative care must be integrated within the health care continuum, rather than being a discrete entity at the end of life, in order to achieve optimal patient outcomes. Anecdotally, acute and critical care nurses experience frustration from the tensions that arise between acute and palliative care philosophies. Many clinicians are concerned that patients are denied a good death and yet the moment when care should be oriented toward palliation rather than aggressive management is usually unclear. Clearly this has implications for the type and quality of care that patients receive. This paper provides a review of the extant literature and identifies issues in the end of life care for patients with chronic cardiorespiratory diseases within acute and critical care environments. Issues for refinement of acute and critical care nursing practice and research priorities are identified to create a synergy between these philosophical perspectives.
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