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The Intensive Care Unit 

The Intensive Care Unit
Chapter:
The Intensive Care Unit
Author(s):

Jennifer McAdam

and Kathleen Puntillo

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190223755.003.0004
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date: 19 October 2019

The intensive care unit (ICU) environment has represented one of the areas of greatest need for palliative care services, yet also one of the most challenging. The culture of the ICU, with a focus on cure and recovery for critical care patients, often creates barriers to implementing palliative care, whose aim is to provide comfort. Yet models have been developed that demonstrate very effective integration of palliative ICU care for patients across many acute and chronic illnesses. Processes such as withdrawal of life support, family conferencing, and collaboration between palliative care clinicians and intensivists are being successfully implemented. This chapter provides a review of both progress and continuing needs in the ICU.

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