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      Nondialytic Therapy for Elderly Patients in a Critical Care Setting

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          It is frequently necessary to admit critically ill elderly patients to intensive care units (ICUs) due to their physiological impairments and co-morbidities. Several life-sustaining therapies such as mechanical ventilation are performed as necessary treatment in these ICUs. Sometimes renal replacement therapy (i.e. dialysis) is considered for elderly patients with complicating serious renal insufficiency. However, although the necessity for dialysis is recognized, some elderly patients may not benefit from this care because of their limited life expectancy. Until recently, life-sustaining support for critically ill elderly patients in Japan has been used routinely, regardless of the medical futility. The issue of providing better end-of-life care for elderly patients even in the ICU is now being raised frequently. We therefore wish to highlight the issue of end-of-life care and decision-making in the ICU, focusing on nondialytic therapy (NDT). The aim of this article was to assess whether NDT is an acceptable optional care for critically ill elderly patients with serious kidney diseases, even in the ICU. We hope our experiences may be helpful to physicians with an interest in decision-making and end-of-life care.

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          Recommendations for end-of-life care in the intensive care unit: a consensus statement by the American College [corrected] of Critical Care Medicine.

           Robert Truog,  ,  C Haas (2008)
          These recommendations have been developed to improve the care of intensive care unit (ICU) patients during the dying process. The recommendations build on those published in 2003 and highlight recent developments in the field from a U.S. perspective. They do not use an evidence grading system because most of the recommendations are based on ethical and legal principles that are not derived from empirically based evidence. Family-centered care, which emphasizes the importance of the social structure within which patients are embedded, has emerged as a comprehensive ideal for managing end-of-life care in the ICU. ICU clinicians should be competent in all aspects of this care, including the practical and ethical aspects of withdrawing different modalities of life-sustaining treatment and the use of sedatives, analgesics, and nonpharmacologic approaches to easing the suffering of the dying process. Several key ethical concepts play a foundational role in guiding end-of-life care, including the distinctions between withholding and withdrawing treatments, between actions of killing and allowing to die, and between consequences that are intended vs. those that are merely foreseen (the doctrine of double effect). Improved communication with the family has been shown to improve patient care and family outcomes. Other knowledge unique to end-of-life care includes principles for notifying families of a patient's death and compassionate approaches to discussing options for organ donation. End-of-life care continues even after the death of the patient, and ICUs should consider developing comprehensive bereavement programs to support both families and the needs of the clinical staff. Finally, a comprehensive agenda for improving end-of-life care in the ICU has been developed to guide research, quality improvement efforts, and educational curricula. End-of-life care is emerging as a comprehensive area of expertise in the ICU and demands the same high level of knowledge and competence as all other areas of ICU practice.
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            Ethics and end-of-life care for adults in the intensive care unit.

            The intensive care unit (ICU) is where patients are given some of the most technologically advanced life-sustaining treatments, and where difficult decisions are made about the usefulness of such treatments. The substantial regional variability in these ethical decisions is a result of many factors, including religious and cultural beliefs. Because most critically ill patients lack the capacity to make decisions, family and other individuals often act as the surrogate decision makers, and in many regions communication between the clinician and family is central to decision making in the ICU. Elsewhere, involvement of the family is reduced and that of the physicians is increased. End-of-life care is associated with increased burnout and distress among clinicians working in the ICU. Since many deaths in the ICU are preceded by a decision to withhold or withdraw life support, high-quality decision making and end-of-life care are essential in all regions, and can improve patient and family outcomes, and also retention of clinicians working in the ICU. To make such a decision requires adequate training, good communication between the clinician and family, and the collaboration of a well functioning interdisciplinary team. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Defining "patient-centered medicine".


                Author and article information

                Case Reports in Nephrology and Dialysis
                S. Karger AG
                May – August 2014
                14 June 2014
                : 4
                : 2
                : 126-130
                aDepartment of Nephrology at bTokai Central Hospital of Japan, Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, Kakamigahara, Japan
                Author notes
                *Junichi Sakamoto, MD, PhD, FACS, Tokai Central Hospital, 4-6-2 Sohara Higashijima-cho, Kakamigahara, Gifu 504-8601 (Japan), E-Mail
                363733 PMC4107387 Case Rep Nephrol Urol 2014;4:126-130
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) (, applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Pages: 5
                Published: June 2014

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                End-of-life care, Nondialytic therapy, Intensive care unit


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