Roger Watson, Editor
Intensive care is designed to save lives but many lives also end there and the environment may not be the best suited to this sensitive time of transition for the dying person and for families. A recent study by Coombs M (2015) titled: 'A scoping review of family experience and need during end of life care in intensive care' and published in Nursing Open explores family experiences at end of life of a relative in ICU in a literature review.
From the many hundreds of articles retrieved and the 16 that were finally reviewed, the author concludes: 'Studies in this scoping review demonstrate the interest
from practitioners and researchers to improve care for patients and families at the end of life. In this body of work on family need and experience in end of life care,
there is broad consensus on key areas in this, for example, information, communication, relationships and support. However, this review has identified areas for further theoretical, empirical and practical exploration with the aim of
improving family outcome in end of life care in critical care. Greater use of prospective and longitudinal studies is required to explore how time influences family perception of their experience and need. There is further opportunity to understand family need at the transition from treatment withdrawal to death in the intensive care setting and the impact of care at this time. As nurses manage care for patients and families at this pivotal time, this is an important area requiring further exploration and review.'
Coombs M (2015) A scoping review of family experience and need during end of life care in intensive care' Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.14