End-of-life care in the pediatric intensive care unit: Research review and recommendations

Jeffrey P. Burns, Cynda Hylton Rushton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Although there has been a strong national movement to improve palliative care, data from the literature reveals that significant perceptual differences exist among parents, pediatric critical care physicians, and nurses on their assessment of the quality of end-of-life care as it is actually practiced in the PICU. Whether these data reflect inadequacies in care as it is actually delivered, or gaps in communication about that care, or some component of the two, is not known. Data from the literature do support several measures that can be widely implemented immediately. For example, more intensive interdisciplinary collaboration, through case review as well as through the identification and support of positive role models already on staff, can help to promote an emphasis on competent and compassionate end-of-life care, and assist the bereavement process for clinicians. Creation of regular, unit-based multidisciplinary bereavement rounds will foster open discussion with all members of the care team on their perceptions of how well palliative care measures were provided, identify opportunities for improvement, and allow a forum to express the emotional toll of providing such care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-485
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Care Clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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