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J Nurs Care Qual. 2006 Jan-Mar;21(1):78-85.

Who is dying in our critical care units? A single center's experience.

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Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax; the Inova Research Center, Falls Church; and the Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA 22032, USA.


Are deaths that occur in critical care expected or unexpected? The objective was to illustrate the incidence of deaths in adult critical care units. We also wanted to discover if our patient population fit the norm of those who die in these units in the United States. Are the patients with many comorbid conditions? Could they benefit from advance care planning? A prospective chart review was completed on all deaths that occurred in our 5 critical care units. Most deaths (76.6%) were expected. Patients had an average of 3.3 comorbidities. Greater public knowledge about advance care planning is needed and must include education about the full range of options in end-of-life care.

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