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July 5, 2016

Strategies to Support Surrogate Decision Makers of Patients With Chronic Critical Illness: The Search Continues

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness, CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2016;316(1):35-37. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8691

Patients with chronic critical illness (defined as a critical illness that requires prolonged mechanical ventilation) are at high risk for death or severe functional impairment.1 The surrogate decision makers for these patients face challenging decisions about whether to continue life-prolonging treatments given uncertain outcomes. A growing body of research indicates that surrogates often experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress in the months following the intensive care unit (ICU) admission of a family member.2

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