Assessing the impact of palliative care in the intensive care unit through the lens of patient-centered outcomes research

Rebecca A. Aslakson, John F.P. Bridges

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Professional organizations, consensus groups, and stakeholders are calling for better palliative care in acute care settings, particularly in ICUs. Our ability to deliver that care is dependent on the outcomes associated with palliative care in the ICU. This review provides a conceptual framework for these outcomes, discusses current and future challenges for work in this field, and advocates for better use of patient-centered outcomes in future studies. RECENT FINDINGS: Previous studies of palliative care interventions in the ICU have used heterogeneous outcomes, conceptualized as: systems-related, content-related, clinician-related, or patient/family-related. Few outcomes were used in multiple studies and many studies had insufficient power and questionable generalizability and impact. Although nearly all previous studies incorporated family-related outcomes, not one incorporated patient-centered outcomes, such as health-related quality of life, patient symptom score, or consensus between patient goals and care provided. SUMMARY: Delivery of palliative care in the ICU will be hampered until studies incorporate outcomes that are: responsive to and reflective of variations in care, and multi-faceted (with patient-centered components) to reflect the multi-dimensional nature of palliative care and the varied needs of different stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-510
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in critical care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Critical care
  • Outcomes
  • Palliative care
  • Patient-centered outcomes research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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