Are nurses able to help surrogate decision-makers for ICU patients reduce depression and anxiety subsequent to the death of a loved one? A New England Journal of Medicine study Rick and I discuss on PodMed TT this week indicates the answer is no, but another very important outcome was noted: when nurses got involved, the time patients spent in the ICU was reduced by a couple of days on average.
This is important because it suggests that the intervention allowed surrogates to understand that medical intervention was futile and really only prolonging technology-supported life, without hope of recovery. At least in my mind, this translates to suffering for the patient, and whatever can be done to reduce suffering is a positive outcome. Rick and I agree that perhaps some anxiety and depression following a loved one’s ICU stay and death may be expected, and that supporting people while they have these feelings is important.
Other topics this week include the benefits of alternatives to the car for commuting in Heart; usefulness of procalcitonin and antibiotic use in NEJM; and two from Science on bacterial and fungal resistance worldwide.
Until next week, y’all listen up and make healthy choices.