Transforming the Intensive Care Culture Using the Palliative Approach

Diane Guay, Cécile Michaud, Luc Mathieu, Jacinthe Pepin


Introduction: Although the ultimate goal of the intensive care unit (ICU) is to save and prolong human life, the integration of palliative care approach in this fast-paced highly technologic environment is increasingly recognized as a means of restoring the global nature of care and enhances the integrity of the person. In this perspective, a recent study showed that three conditions promote the integration of palliative care in the ICU: sharing a common vision, a collaborative decision-making process and a proper environment.

Objective: In light of these findings, this study proposes to develop, implement and evaluate an intervention to integrate these previously identified conditions. The purpose of this communication is to present our approach and its main results.

Method: Based on the premise that research and action can coexist to improve practice, a qualitative inquiry of action research was chosen for this study. Valuing the consensual decision-making process, this research method provides an organizational structure allowing success and sustainability of this intervention.

Results: The intervention aims to improve the quality of interdisciplinary communication and consisted of two main components. The first propose to enhance the skills and leadership of nurses through interactive training and the second focused on the improvement of intra and inter disciplinary intervention plan.

Conclusions: The integration of the palliative care approach in the ICU is definitely an innovative strategy to transform the mission of the ICU caregivers and improve the care of the whole person.


intensive care, palliative approach



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Published by McGill Library.

ISSN: 2291-918X, © McGill University Library