Exploring the quality of the dying and death experience in the Emergency Department: An integrative literature review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Nursing Studies, 2018, 85 pp. 106 - 117
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Aim: The aim of this integrative literature review was to explore the quality of the dying and death experience in the Emergency Department from the perspective of staff and carers. Background: Death in the Emergency Department is common. Understanding the quality of the death and dying experience of patients and their family members is crucial to building knowledge and improving care. Design: Systematic integrative literature review reported following the PRISMA guidelines. Data sources: Pubmed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Magonline (internurse), and the Cochrane library. Articles used were published in English during 1990- 2017. Review method: Appraisal and thematic analysis. Results: Sixteen articles are included. Eight themes emerged from the literature: care in the Emergency Department is about living not dying, staff perceive that death is a failure, staff feel underprepared to care for the dying patient and family in this environment, there is limited time for safe standards of care, staff stress and distress, staff use of distancing behaviours, the care of the dying role is devolved from medics to nurses at the end of life, and patients and staff perceive that the Emergency Department is not the preferred place of death Conclusion: There are areas of concern about end of life care in the Emergency Department. To improve practice and to ensure that a good death occurs, further research is needed. There is a need to understand more about the experience of caregivers when a relative or friend dies in the Emergency Department.
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