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J Crit Care. 2016 Oct;35:57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2016.04.033. Epub 2016 May 12.

Causes of moral distress in the intensive care unit: A qualitative study.

Author information

  • 1Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 2Center for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address: peter.dodek@ubc.ca.
  • 3Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 4Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 5School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the study is to examine the causes of moral distress in diverse members of the intensive care unit (ICU) team in both community and tertiary ICUs.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We used focus groups and coding of transcripts into themes and subthemes in 2 tertiary care ICUs and 1 community ICU.

RESULTS:

Based on input from 19 staff nurses (3 focus groups), 4 clinical nurse leaders (1 focus group), 13 physicians (3 focus groups), and 20 other health professionals (3 focus groups), the most commonly reported causes of moral distress were concerns about the care provided by other health care workers, the amount of care provided (especially too much care at end of life), poor communication, inconsistent care plans, and issues around end of life decision making.

CONCLUSIONS:

Causes of moral distress vary among ICU professional groups, but all are amenable to improvement.

KEYWORDS:

Focus groups; Intensive care; Moral distress

PMID:
27481736
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcrc.2016.04.033
[PubMed - in process]
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