End-of-Life Care: Improving Communication and Reducing Stress

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021



Journal Title

Critical Care Nursing Quarterly

MeSH Headings

Communication; Critical Care Nursing; Humans; Intensive Care Units; Nursing Staff; Quality Improvement; Terminal Care


This quality improvement initiative originated in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) at a 637-bed licensed Magnet teaching hospital with the rating of level 1 trauma center. The CICU has 12 beds, with a staff of 59 nurses (RNs). The nursing staff expressed increased stress and discomfort when communicating with patients and their families when providing end-of-life care. Selected evidence-based techniques for stress reduction and active listening skills were taught in 4- to 5-minute mini sessions during the morning huddle 3 days per week for 4 weeks. The program was evaluated using pretest, posttest, and 2 follow-up surveys composed of 5 statements and 2 open-ended questions. The survey tool was developed by researchers in accordance with the relevant literature. The results showed improved communication as demonstrated by the surveys. Nurses also reported feeling more supported by their colleagues and supervisors. The project was conducted in 1 CICU, therefore limiting the generalizability of the results.

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