n Southern African Journal of Critical Care - The last hours of living in the ICU - priorities of care for critical care nurses




Critical care is associated with a high mortality rate. While this varies, overall it is likely to be between 15% and 25%. In some cases death occurs almost immediately after an emergency admission and there is little time to prepare either the patient or the family. In the majority of cases, however, death occurs after a period of time. It may be an expected outcome, or it may become evident that further intervention and continuation of treatment is futile and distressing for the patient, the family, and especially the nursing staff.


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