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End of life decisions and care of the adult burn patient

Authors
Journal
Burns
0305-4179
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2010.08.009
Keywords
  • End Of Life
  • Dnar
  • Do-Not-Resuscitate
  • Burn Death
  • Palliation
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Introduction Despite advancements in the provision of burn care, there is still a significant cohort of patients who fail to respond to therapy or for whom treatment is deemed futile. The decision to withdraw support from, or to implement a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNAR) order in, such patients can be challenging. Our aims were to review the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, issuing of DNAR orders and end of life care in burn patient deaths. Methods A retrospective case notes review was undertaken, for all burn in-patient deaths from 1st April 2001 to 31st December 2007. Results Following exclusions, 63 patients were included in our study, with a median age of 56 years (21–94). End of life decisions in younger patients (under 65 years) were more often due to burn severity. In those over 65 years, reasons were due to co-morbidities, and these decisions were made late in the patient's admission. In 34% of patients, end of life care was not comprehensively documented. Conclusion A coherent, decisive approach should be adopted and adhered to by all members of the multi-disciplinary team, with clear, standardised documentation in place.

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