Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2012 Sep;15(3):147-154.

Family Decision-Making to Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment for Terminally-Ill Patients in an Unconscious State

Affiliations
  • 1College of Nursing, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Nursing, Kyungnam College University of Information & Technology, Busan, Korea. ehkkang@hanmail.net

Abstract

PURPOSE
The purpose of this study is to understand family members' experience of deciding to withdraw life-sustaining treatments for terminally-ill patients in an unconscious state.
METHODS
Data were collected by performing an in-depth interview with eight terminally-ill patients' family members who decided to withdraw life-sustaining treatments. Colaizzi's phenomenological method was used for data analysis.
RESULTS
Questions were classified into 12 groups and finally into five categories. The five categories were about family members' frustration with patient's condition, emotional preparation for the patient's death upon medical professionals' recommendation, patient's wishes, exhaustion due to caring and past experiences related to life-sustaining treatment.
CONCLUSION
Using the five categories, hospice and palliative professionals could better understand family members' decision making experience of withdrawing life-sustaining treatments for terminally-ill patients. Based on that, the family members could be provided with appropriate counseling and care, which in turn could improve hospice and palliative care intervention.

Keyword

Terminally ill; Family; Withholding treatment; Qualitative research

MeSH Terms

Counseling
Decision Making
Frustration
Hospices
Humans
Palliative Care
Qualitative Research
Terminally Ill
Unconscious (Psychology)
Unconsciousness
Withholding Treatment
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