Turkish critical care nurses' views on end-of-life decision making and practices.

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Badır, Aysel
Topçu, İbrahim
Türkmen, Emine
Göktepe, Nilgün
Miral, Mukaddes
Ersoy, Nermin
Akın, Esra
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Life-sustaining treatments are increasingly used in intensive care units (ICUs) for EOL care, but the decision to use these may cause ethical issues.
The aim of this study was to investigate the views and practices of critical care nurses in Turkey on the end-of-life (EOL) care.
This was a cross-sectional study.
The research was conducted in 32 second- and third-level ICUs of 19 Ministry of Health research hospitals in Turkey. The Views of European Nurses in Intensive Care on EOL Care tool was used for data collection.
The total sample size was 602. While half of the nurses stated that the withholding and withdrawal of life support were ethically different decisions, 40% felt both decisions were unethical. The expected quality of life as viewed by the patient, the medical team, the family and the nursing team (90·4%, 85·4%, and 83·4%, respectively) was an important factor in EOL decision making. The majority of the nurses (75·7%) were not directly involved in the EOL decision making and 78·4% of nurses were committed to family involvement in EOL decisions. When withdrawing treatment, 87·2% of ICU nurses agreed that the patient and family members should perform their final religious and spiritual duties. Further results showed that after withdrawing treatment, a majority of nurses (86%) agreed to continue pressure sore prevention, effective pain relief (85·5%), nutritional support (77·6%) and hydration (64·8%). Almost half (48·2%) indicated that keeping the patients in the ICU was unnecessary.
ICU nurses expressed a range of experiences and practices regarding EOL care. ICU nurses should be more involved in the decision-making process about EOL care.
Due to their unique relationship with patients, nurses should be involved in EOL care decision making; however, patients, families or nurses are not often involved in the decision-making process in Turkey.
Decision making, End-of-life care, Intensive care nursing, Turkey
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