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Ethics consultations reduced hospital, ICU, and ventilation days in patients who died before hospital discharge in the ICU

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Q Does offering an ethics consultation reduce non-beneficial life sustaining treatments or hospital days more than usual care for patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who subsequently die before hospital discharge?


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:

blinded {patients and data collectors}*.

Embedded ImageFollow up period:

until death before hospital discharge.

Embedded ImageSetting:

ICUs of 7 hospitals in the US.

Embedded ImagePatients:

551 adult ICU patients (mean age 68 y, 54% men) in whom imminent or manifest value laden conflicts that could lead to incompatible courses of treatment were identified. Conflicts occurred within or between the healthcare team and family and friends (eg, whether to pursue aggressive life sustaining treatment or comfort care, whether treatments were regarded as futile by …

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  • * Information provided by author.

  • For correspondence: Dr L J Schneiderman, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

  • Source of funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • * A modified version of this abstract appears in ACP Journal Club.