[Skip to Navigation]
Invited Commentary
March 2015

End-of-Life Care in the Intensive Care Unit: How Asia Differs From the West

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Integrative and Community Care, Department of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(3):371-372. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7397

The decision to withhold and withdraw life-sustaining treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) remains a challenge given the presence of technological advances that make it possible to prolong life even when there is minimum chance of meaningful recovery. These decisions are often difficult to make, with strong social, legal, cultural, moral, and religious values affecting attitudes and practices.1 There is little information available on decision-making processes pertaining to withholding and withdrawal of life-sustaining support in critically ill patients in Asia. In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Phua and colleagues2 present, to our knowledge, the first large-scale study to provide valuable insights into end-of-life care practices in this part of the world.