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J Palliat Med. 2012 Jan;15(1):29-36. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0265. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Assessment of self-perceived end-of-life care competencies of intensive care unit providers.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA.



The need for improved (end-of-life) EOL care in the intensive care unit (ICU) has gained attention in the medical literature over the last 10 years. The purpose of this study is to describe ICU health care providers' self-perceived knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to the provision of EOL care as a first step in planning educational interventions for ICU staff.


One hundred eighty-five ICU staff members of an academic affiliated tertiary medical center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin received the survey, the Scale of End-of-Life Care in the ICU (EOLC-ICU), a new questionnaire developed for this study. The response rate was 50.3%.


We found that having previous EOL care education was common among ICU staff. However, several deficiencies in self-perceived EOL competencies were identified among staff, particularly in the areas of communication, continuity of care, and decision-making process. Nursing and medical staff also had different perceptions on how certain EOL behaviors were carried out in the ICU. Educational interventions will be implemented in our ICU in an effort to improve staff preparedness for the provision of quality EOL care.

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