1 in 5 ICU Patients Get 'Futile' Care
Those tools, he adds, "ventilators, dialysis and ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] machines, drugs and left ventricular assist devices, things that beat instead of the heart—they work for some people, but not others, and it's when they've done their best to make patients better but they're not better, that these doctors are saying we shouldn't do this anymore; we should be converting to palliative care."
For the most part, these ICU patients "didn't have the capacity to appreciate the care they were receiving," Wenger says. "Some were in a persistent vegetative state, with severe cognitive impairment, or fed through a tube and couldn't interact."
"It does leave you with the question [of] why (these critical care specialists) are continuing to provide this treatment if they're calling it futile."
Sometimes, "families don't want to hear it and don't want to pull back, and doctors feel caught in between. And maybe doctors aren't having conversations quite well enough so families truly understand in a timely enough fashion. In some cases, these patients were very ill before they came to the ICU, but there hadn't been adequate conversations directly with these patients about the goals of their care," Wegner says.
Researchers, he adds, think the problem lies in lack of communication, among and between doctors caring for the patients and between caregivers and families.
- CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol
- Consumerism Drives Healthcare Branding, Rebranding Efforts
- PA Ranks See 'Phenomenal Growth,' Lack of Diversity
- 3 Traits Personality Assessments Can't Reveal
- CNO on Hospital Redesign: 'You Can't Over-Communicate'
- How Digital Strategy Shapes Patient Engagement at Boston Children's Hospital
- Antibiotic Overuse a 'Huge Threat' to Patient Safety, Says CDC
- CHS Hacked, 4.5M Patient Records Compromised
- Carondelet to Pay $35M to Settle Fraud Allegations
- Half of All Primary Care, Internal Medicine Jobs Unfilled in 2013