Background: Despite evidence showing that goals of care (GOC) conversations increase the likelihood that patients facing a serious illness receive care that is concordant with their wishes, only a minority of at-risk patients receive the opportunity to engage in such conversations.
Objective: The Preventing Readmissions through Effective Partnerships—Communication and Palliative Care (PREP-CPC) intervention was designed to increase the frequency of GOC conversations for hospitalized patients facing serious illness.
Methods: The PREP-CPC employed a sequential, multicohort design using a yearlong mentored implementation approach to support nonpalliative care health-care professionals at participating hospitals to implement quality improvement projects focused on GOC conversations.
Results: Over the 3-year study period, 134 clinicians from 29 hospital teams were trained to facilitate GOC conversations. After the kickoff conference, participants reported improvements in their confidence in facilitating GOC conversations. The hospital teams then instituted site-specific pilot interventions to promote GOC conversations, identifying essential elements required for ongoing improvement. Since projects varied by hospital, results did as well, but reported positive outcomes included increased GOC conversations, increased Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form completion rates, new screening and documentation methods, and increased support from leadership.
Conclusions: The PREP-CPC pilot successfully engaged a diverse set of hospitals to participate in quality improvement collaborative promoting primary palliative care and more frequent GOC conversations. This initiative revealed several lessons that should guide future interventions.
Background: New Orleans, Louisiana served as a central location for a surge of novel coronavirus cases during the months of March 2020 to May 2020. To provide guidance to palliative care teams naive to the palliative care demand associated with a surge of coronavirus cases, we document our protocol to best optimize palliative care resources. This report aims to present this information and reflect upon what was most beneficial/least beneficial to serve as a roadmap for palliative teams facing this pandemic.
Objective: To pilot a team-based structured protocol to categorize severity of COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and subsequently collaborate with the palliative interdisciplinary team to assess physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs.
Design: New ICU consults were categorized into color-coded clinical severity "pots" during daily ICU interdisciplinary rounds. Clinical decision making and communication with patient/next of kin were based on "pot" classification.
Settings/Subjects: Palliative medicine consults were placed on all COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the ICU between March 29, 2020, and May 1, 2020.
Measurements: A retrospective chart review was performed to analyze the effect of palliative care consultation on completion of goals-of-care conversations and the life-sustaining treatment (LST) document, an advance directive form specific to the Veterans Affairs hospital system between March 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020.
Results: Of the palliative consults evaluated by a palliative provider, 74% resulted in completion of a LST document, 58% resulted in video contact with family members, and 100% incorporated a goals-of-care discussion.
Conclusions: We found that standardizing palliative care consultation on all COVID-19 positive ICU admissions subjectively alleviated the burden on ICU providers and staff in the midst of a crisis, resulted in increased documentation of patient goals-of-care preferences/LSTs, facilitated clinical updates to family members, and better distributed clinical burden among palliative team members.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the attitudes and practices of intensivists working in Lebanon regarding withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (LSTs). The objectives of the study were to assess the points of view and practices of intensivists in Lebanon along with the opinions of medical, legal and religious leaders regarding withholding withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments in Lebanese intensive care units (ICU).
METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted among intensivists working in Lebanese adult ICUs. Interviews were also done with Lebanese medical, legal and religious leaders.
RESULTS: Of the 229 survey recipients, 83 intensivists completed it, i.e. a response rate of (36.3%). Most respondents were between 30 and 49 years old (72%), Catholic Christians (60%), anesthesiologists (63%), working in Beirut (47%). Ninety-two percent of them were familiar with the withholding and withdrawal concepts and 80% applied them. Poor prognosis of the acute and chronic disease and futile therapy were the main reasons to consider withholding and withdrawal of treatments. Ninety-five percent of intensivists agreed with the "Principle of Double Effect" (i.e. adding analgesia and or sedation to patients after the withholding/withdrawal decisions in order to prevent their suffering and allow their comfort, even though it might hasten the dying process). The main withheld therapies were vasopressors, respiratory assistance and CPR. Most of the respondents reported the decision was often to always multidisciplinary (92%), involving the family (68%), and the patient (65%), or his advance directives (77%) or his surrogate (81%) and the nurses (78%). The interviewees agreed there was a law governing withholding and withdrawal decisions/practices in Lebanon. Christians and Muslim Sunni leaders declared accepting those practices (withholding or withdrawing LSTs from patients when appropriate).
CONCLUSION: Withholding and withdrawal of LSTs in the ICU are known concepts among intensivists working in Lebanon and are being practiced. Our results could be used to inform and optimize therapeutic limitation in ICUs in the country.
BACKGROUND: While a palliative approach is generally perceived to be an integral part of the intensive care unit (ICU), the provision of palliative care in this setting is challenging. This review aims to identify factors (barriers and facilitators) influencing a palliative approach in intensive care settings, as perceived by health care professionals.
METHOD: A systematic mixed-methods review was conducted. Multiple electronic databases were used, and the following search terms were utilized: implementation, palliative care, and intensive care unit. In total, 1843 articles were screened, of which 24 met the research inclusion/exclusion criteria. A thematic synthesis method was used for both qualitative and quantitative studies.
RESULTS: Four key prerequisite factors were identified: (a) organizational structure in facilitating policies, unappropriated resources, multi-disciplinary team involvement, and knowledge and skills; (b) work environment, including physical and psychosocial factors; (c) interpersonal factors/barriers, including family and patients' involvement in communication and participation; and (d) decision-making, e.g., decision and transition, goal conflict, multidisciplinary team communication, and prognostication.
CONCLUSION: Factors hindering the integration of a palliative approach in an intensive care context constitute a complex interplay among organizational structure, the care environment and clinicians' perceptions and attitudes. While patient and family involvement was identified as an important facilitator of palliative care, it was also recognized as a barrier for clinicians due to challenges in shared goal setting and communication.
INTRODUCTION: Studies have suggested 5-20% of paediatric ICU patients may receive care felt to be futile. No data exists on the prevalence and impact of futile care in the Paediatric Cardiac ICU. The aim is to determine the prevalence and economic impact of futile care.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: Retrospective cohort of patients with congenital cardiac disease 0-21 years old, with length of stay >30 days and died (2015-2018). Documentation of futility by the medical team was retrospectively and independently reviewed.
RESULTS: Of the 127 deaths during the study period, 51 (40%) had hospitalisation >30 days, 13 (25%) had received futile care and 26 (51%) withdrew life-sustaining treatment. Futile care comprised 0.69% of total patient days with no difference in charges from patients not receiving futile care. There was no difference in insurance, single motherhood, education, income, poverty, or unemployment in families continuing futile care or electing withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Black families were less likely than White families to elect for withdrawal (p = 0.01), and Hispanic families were more likely to continue futile care than non-Hispanics (p = 0.044).
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to examine the impact of futile care and characteristics in the paediatric cardiac ICU. Black families were less likely to elect for withdrawal, while Hispanic families more likely to continue futile care. Futile care comprised 0.69% of bed days and little burden on resources. Cultural factors should be investigated to better support families through end-of-life decisions.
BACKGROUND: Hospitalisation rates for the older population have been increasing with end-of-life care becoming a more medicalised and costly experience. There is evidence that some of these patients received non-beneficial treatment during their final hospitalisation with a third of the non-beneficial treatment duration spent in intensive care units. This study aims to increase appropriate care and treatment decisions and pathways for older patients at the end of life in Australia. This study will implement and evaluate a prospective feedback loop and tailored clinical response intervention at three hospitals in Queensland, Australia.
METHODS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial will be conducted with up to 21 clinical teams in three acute hospitals over 70 weeks. The study involves clinical teams providing care to patients aged 75 years or older, who are prospectively identified to be at risk of non-beneficial treatment using two validated tools for detecting death and deterioration risks. The intervention's feedback loop will provide the teams with a summary of these patients' risk profiles as a stimulus for a tailored clinical response in the intervention phase. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research will be used to inform the intervention's implementation and process evaluation. The study will determine the impact of the intervention on patient outcomes related to appropriate care and treatment at the end of life in hospitals, as well as the associated healthcare resource use and costs. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients who are admitted to intensive care units. A process evaluation will be carried out to assess the implementation, mechanisms of impact, and contextual barriers and enablers of the intervention.
DISCUSSION: This intervention is expected to have a positive impact on the care of older patients near the end of life, specifically to improve clinical decision-making about treatment pathways and what constitutes appropriate care for these patients. These will reduce the incidence of non-beneficial treatment, and improve the efficiency of hospital resources and quality of care. The process evaluation results will be useful to inform subsequent intervention implementation at other hospitals.
BACKGROUND: The mortality rate of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients with respiratory failure remains high. This study aimed to identify factors contributing to death in these patients, and develop a mortality prediction model for pulmonary TB patients with respiratory failure.
METHODS: A retrospective study of patients admitted consecutively to the medical ICU of Beijing Chest Hospital, (Beijing, China), Chaoyang Fourth Hospital (Liaoning, China) and Hebi Third People's Hospital (Henan, China) from May 2018 to May 2019 was conducted. 153 patients with pulmonary TB accompanied by respiratory failure were enrolled. A multivariate analysis was performed to identify risk factors for death. A predictive fatality score was determined. The utility of the score for predicting death was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
RESULTS: The patients' median age was 57.82±19.42 years (17.0-87.0 years) and there were 106 males (69.28%). The mortality rate was 39.22% (60 of 153). Independent predictive factors of mortality included the PaO2 (hazard ratio 0.928, 95% CI: 0.882 - 0.976, P=0.004), Albumin (hazard ratio 0.881, 95% CI: 0.792- 0.980, P=0.019), Apache II score (hazard ratio 1.120, 95% CI: 1.017-1.234, P=0.022) and C-reactive protein (hazard ratio 1.012, 95% CI: 1.004-1.019, P=0.003). Establishing a logistic model of the death risk grade of pulmonary TB with respiratory failure was Y=1.710 - 0.068*PaO2-0.163* albumin + 0.215* Apache II +0.012* C-reactive protein. The value was Y=-0.494. If the Y value was greater than or equal to -0.494, the patients belonged to the deceased group, and if less than -0.494 the patients belonged to the survival group. AUC=0.818, The sensitivity was 83.3%; specificity was 73.1%.
CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary TB patients with respiratory failure have a high mortality rate and poor prognosis, particularly those with high Apache II scores, high C-reactive protein levels, low PaO2 admission to ICU and low albumin level. The prediction model will help assess the risk of death in patients with TB and respiratory failure.
End-of-life decision-making is an important area of research, and few sociological studies have considered family grief in light of end-of-life decision-making in the hospital. Drawing on in-depth interviews with family members in the intensive care unit (ICU) during an end-of-life hospitalization and into their bereavement period up to six months after the death of the patient, this article examines bereaved family members' experiences of grief by examining three aspects from the end-of-life hospitalization and decision-making in the ICU that informed their subsequent bereavement experiences. First, this article explores how the process of advance care planning (ACP) shaped family experiences of grief, by demonstrating that even prior informal conversations around end-of-life care outside of having an advance directive in the hospital was beneficial for family members both during the hospitalization and afterwards in bereavement. Second, clinicians' compassionate caring for both patients and families through the "little things" or small gestures were important to families during the end-of-life hospitalization and afterwards in bereavement. Third, the transition time in the hospital before the patient's death facilitated family experiences of grief by providing a sense of support and meaning in bereavement. The findings have implications for clinicians who provide end-of-life care by highlighting salient aspects from the hospitalization that may shape family grief following the patient's death. Most importantly, the notion that ACP as a social process may be a "gift" to families during end-of-life decision-making and carry through into bereavement can serve as a motivator to engage patients in ACP.
Critical care clinicians strive to reverse the disease process and are frequently faced with difficult end-of-life (EoL) situations, which include transitions from curative to palliative care, avoidance of disproportionate care, withholding or withdrawing therapy, responding to advance treatment directives, as well as requests for assistance in dying. This article presents a summary of the most common issues encountered by intensivists caring for patients around the end of their life. Topics explored are the practices around limitations of life-sustaining treatment, with specific mention to the thorny subject of assisted dying and euthanasia, as well as the difficulties encountered regarding the adoption of advance care directives in clinical practice and the importance of integrating palliative care in the everyday practice of critical-care physicians. The aim of this article is to enhance understanding around the complexity of EoL decisions, highlight the intricate cultural, religious, and social dimensions around death and dying, and identify areas of potential improvement for individual practice.
BACKGROUND: To date, a comprehensive, psychometrically robust instrument to assess palliative and end-of-life (PEOL) care education, practice, and perceived competence among intensive care unit (ICU) nurses does not exist.
OBJECTIVE: To examine content validity and reliability of a proposed instrument to assess the PEOL care education-practice- competence triad among ICU nurses.
METHODS: An international modified e-Delphi and a cross-sectional pilot questionnaire survey. The Delphi involved 23 panelists from 11 countries. The pilot study involved 40 staff nurses and 3 nurse managers from 3 adult ICUs in a randomly selected hospital in Egypt. An instrument was developed and judged for content validity by international panelists, and then pretested in a pilot study, where data were collected at 2 time points using self-administered questionnaires, followed by cognitive interviews. Test-retest reliability was examined using intraclass correlation (ICC), standard error of measurement (SEM), and repeatability coefficient (RC).
RESULTS: The panelists confirmed content validity of the proposed instrument, and staff nurses confirmed its comprehensibility. At the level of the instrument's total scores, the lowest ICC was .9 (95% confidence interval: .8-.9); and the highest SEM and RC were 4.8 and 13.3, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The PEOL Care Index is a comprehensive, comprehensible, content valid, and reliable instrument to assess the PEOL care education-practice-competence triad among ICU nurses. Construct and criterion validities need to be confirmed in future studies. Applicability of the PEOL Care Index in different settings and cultures needs to be examined.
Background: This study examined the experience of withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment in patients hospitalized in the intensive care units (ICUs) of a tertiary care center. It also considers the role that intensivists play in the decision-making process regarding the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 227 patients who decided to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment while hospitalized at Ewha Womans University Medical Center Mokdong between April 9 and December 31, 2018.
Results: The 227 hospitalized patients included in the analysis withheld or withdrew from life-sustaining treatment. The department in which life-sustaining treatment was withheld or withdrawn most frequently was oncology (26.4%). Among these patients, the most common diagnosis was gastrointestinal tract cancer (29.1%). A majority of patients (64.3%) chose not to receive any life-sustaining treatment. Of the 80 patients in the ICU, intensivists participated in the decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment in 34 cases. There were higher proportions of treatment withdrawal and ICU-to-ward transfers among the cases in whom intensivists participated in decision making compared to those cases in whom intensivists did not participate (55.9% vs. 4.3% and 52.9% vs. 19.6%, respectively).
Conclusion: Through their participation in end-of-life discussions, intensivists can help patients' families to make decisions about withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and possibly avoiding futile treatments for these patients.
Background: Published data and practice recommendations on end-of-life care generally reflect Western practice frameworks; there are limited data on withdrawal of treatment for children in China.
Methods: Withdrawal of treatment for children in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a regional children’s hospital in eastern China from 2006 to 2017 was studied retrospectively. Withdrawal of treatment was categorized as medical withdrawal or premature withdrawal. The guardian’s self-reported reasons for abandoning the child’s treatment were recorded from 2011.
Results: The incidence of withdrawal of treatment for children in the PICU decreased significantly; for premature withdrawal the 3-year average of 15.1% in 2006–2008 decreased to 1.9% in 2015–2017 (87.4% reduction). The overall incidence of withdrawal of care reduced over the time period, and withdrawal of therapy by guardians was the main contributor to the overall reduction. The median age of children for whom treatment was withdrawn increased from 14.5 months (interquartile range: 4.0–72.0) in 2006 to 40.5 months (interquartile range: 8.0–99.0) in 2017. Among the reasons given by guardians of children whose treatment was withdrawn in 2011–2017, “illness is too severe” ranked first, accounting for 66.3%, followed by “condition has been improved” (20.9%). Only a few guardians ascribed treatment withdrawal to economic reasons.
Conclusions: The frequency of withdrawal of medical therapy has changed over time in this children’s hospital PICU, and parental decision-making has been a large part of the change.
Studies on end-of-life care reveal different practices regarding withholding and/or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments between countries and regions. Available data about physicians' practices regarding end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is scarce. This study aimed to investigate physicians' attitudes toward end-of-life care and the reported practice in adult ICUs in Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt. 100 physicians currently working in several ICU settings in Ain Shams University Hospitals were included. A self-administered questionnaire was used for collection of data. Most of the participants agreed to implementation of "do not resuscitate" (DNR) orders and applying pre-written DNR orders (61% and 65% consecutively), while only 13% almost always/often order DNR for terminally-ill patients. 52% of the participants agreed to usefulness of limiting life-sustaining therapy in some cases, but they expressed fear of legal consequences. 47% found withholding life-sustaining treatment is more ethical than its withdrawal. 16% almost always/often withheld further active treatment but continued current ones while only 6% almost always/often withdrew active therapy for terminally-ill patients. The absence of legislation and guidelines for end-of-life care in ICUs at Ain Shams University Hospitals was the main influential factor for the dissociation between participants' attitudes and their practices. Therefore, development of a consensus for end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is mandatory. Also, training of physicians in ICUs on effective communication with patients' families and surrogates is important for planning of limitation of life-sustaining treatments.
BACKGROUND: Treatment limitation decisions (TLDs) on the ICU can be challenging, especially in patients with a malignancy. Up-to-date literature regarding TLDs in critically ill patients with a malignancy admitted to the ICU is scarce. The aim was to compare the incidence of written TLDs between patients with an active malignancy, patients with a malignancy in their medical history (complete remission, CR) and patients without a malignancy admitted unplanned to the ICU.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in a large university hospital in the Netherlands. We identified all unplanned admissions to the ICU in 2017 and categorized the patients in 3 groups: patients with an active malignancy (study population), with CR and without a malignancy. A TLD was defined as a written instruction not to perform life-saving treatments, such as CPR in case of cardiac arrest. A multivariate binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify whether having a malignancy was associated with TLDs.
RESULTS: Of the 1046 unplanned admissions, 125 patients (12%) had an active malignancy and 76 (7.3%) patients had CR. The incidence of written TLDs in these subgroups were 37 (29.6%) and 20 (26.3%). Age (OR 1.03; 95% CI 1.01 -1.04), SOFA score at ICU admission (OR 1.11; 95% CI 1.05 -1.18) and having an active malignancy (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.04-2.96) compared to no malignancy were independently associated with written TLDs. SOFA scores on the day of the TLD were not significantly different in patients with and without a malignancy.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the presence of an underlying malignancy is independently associated with written TLDs during ICU stay. Patients with CR were not at risk of more written TLDs. Whether this higher incidence of TLDs in patients with a malignancy is justified, is at least questionable and should be evaluated in future research.
Durant la pandémie Coronavirus Disease 19, certains aspects habituels des retraits thérapeutiques ont dû être adaptés. L’accompagnement des patients et de leurs proches au décès ainsi que le soutien aux équipes de soins ont amené à résoudre de nouveaux défis. L’intégration des soins palliatifs dans les processus de retraits thérapeutiques aux soins intensifs a pu être mise en œuvre durant cette crise sanitaire. La formation continue aux questions en lien avec la fin de vie et l’établissement de plans de collaboration avec les soins palliatifs est essentielle aux soins intensifs.
PURPOSE: To review and summarize the most frequent medications and dosages used during withholding and withdrawal of life-prolonging measures in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Virtual Health Library from inception through March 2019. We considered any study evaluating pharmaceutical interventions for pain management during the withholding or withdrawing of life support in adult critically ill patients at the end-of-life. Two independent investigators performed the screening and data extraction. We pooled data on utilization rate of analgesic and sedative drugs and summarized the dosing between the moment prior to withholding or withdrawal of life support and the moment before death.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria. Studies were conducted in the United States (38%), Canada (31%), and the Netherlands (31%). Eleven studies were single-cohort and twelve had a Newcastle-Ottawa Scale score of less than 7. The mean age of the patients ranged from 59 to 71 years, 59-100% were mechanically ventilated, and 47-100% of the patients underwent life support withdrawal. The most commonly used opioid and sedative were morphine [utilization rate 60% (95% CI 48-71%)] and midazolam [utilization rate 28% (95% CI 23-32%)], respectively. Doses increased during the end-of-life process (pooled mean increase in the dose of morphine: 2.6 mg/h, 95% CI 1.2-4).
CONCLUSIONS: Pain control is centered on opioids and adjunctive benzodiazepines, with dosages exceeding those recommended by guidelines. Despite consistency among guidelines, there is significant heterogeneity among practices in end-of-life care.
In late February and early March 2020, Italy became the European epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite increasingly stringent containment measures enforced by the government, the health system faced an enormous pressure, and extraordinary efforts were made in order to increase overall hospital beds' availability and especially ICU capacity. Nevertheless, the hardest-hit hospitals in Northern Italy experienced a shortage of ICU beds and resources that led to hard allocating choices. At the beginning of March 2020, the Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation, and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) issued recommendations aimed at supporting physicians in prioritizing patients when the number of critically ill patients overwhelm the capacity of ICUs. One motivating concern for the SIAARTI guidance was that, if no balanced and consistent allocation procedures were applied to prioritize patients, there would be a concrete risk for unfair choices, and that the prevalent "first come, first served" principle would lead to many avoidable deaths. Among the drivers of decision for admission to ICUs, age, comorbidities, and preexisting functional status were included. The recommendations were criticized as ageist and potentially discriminatory against elderly patients. Looking forward to the next steps, the Italian experience can be relevant to other parts of the world that are yet to see a significant surge of COVID-19: the need for transparent triage criteria and commonly shared values give the Italian recommendations even greater legitimacy.
Facing the possibility of a surge of COVID-19-infected patients requiring ventilatory support in Intensive Care Units (ICU), the Singapore Hospice Council and the Chapter of Palliative Medicine Physicians forward its position on the guiding principles that ought to drive the allocation of ICU beds and its role in care of these patients and their families.
Background: There is growing interest in the use of a Palliative care approach in Intensive care. However, it tends to remain inconsistent, infrequent or non-existent, as does its acceptance by intensive care physicians. This study sought to explore the perceptions, level of knowledge, perceived barriers, and practices of physicians regarding palliative care practices (PC) in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
Methods: Descriptive-correlational study. Participating physicians working in ICU in Colombia (n = 101) completed an ad hoc questionnaire that included subscales of perceptions, knowledge, perceived barriers, and PC practices in ICU. A Structural Equation Model (PLS-SEM) was used to examine the reciprocal relationships between the measured variables and those that could predict interaction practices between the 2 specialties.
Results: First, results from the measurement model to examine the validity and reliability of the latent variables found (PC training, favorable perceptions about PC, institutional barriers, and ICU-PC interaction practices) and their indicators were obtained. Second, the structural model found that, a greater number of hours of PC training, a favorable perception of PC and a lower perception of institutional barriers are related to greater interaction between PC and ICU, particularly when emotional or family problems are detected.
Conclusions: PC-ICU interactions are influenced by training, a positive perception of PC and less perceived institutional barriers. An integrated ICU-PC model that strengthens the PC training of those who work in ICU and provides clearer guidelines for interaction practices, may help overcome perceived barriers and improve the perception of the potential impact of PC.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is challenging healthcare systems worldwide, none more so than critical and intensive care settings. Significant attention has been paid to the capacity of Australian intensive care unit (ICUs) to respond to a COVID-19 surge, particularly in relation to beds, ventilators, staffing, personal protective equipment, and unparalleled increase in deaths in ICUs associated with COVID-19 seen internationally. While death is not uncommon in critical care, the international experience demonstrates that restrictions to family presence at the end of life result in significant distress for families and clinicians. As a result, the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses and the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control supported the development of a position statement to provide critical care nurses with specific guidance and recommendations for practice for this emerging priority area. Where possible, position statements are founded on high-quality evidence. However, the short time period since the first recognition of a cluster of pneumonia-like cases in China in January, 2020, meant that an integrative approach was required to expedite timely development of this position statement in preparation for a COVID-19 surge in Australia. This position statement is intended to provide practical guidance to critical care nurses in facilitating next-of-kin presence for patients dying from COVID-19 in the ICU.