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Revista Brasileira de Terapia Intensiva
versión impresa ISSN 0103-507X
FONSECA, Anelise Coelho da; MENDES JUNIOR, Walter Vieira y FONSECA, Maria de Jesus Mendes da. Palliative care of elderly patients in intensive care units: a systematic review. Rev. bras. ter. intensiva [online]. 2012, vol.24, n.2, pp. 197-206. ISSN 0103-507X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-507X2012000200017.
OBJECTIVE: The use of interventionist medical technology in terminal elderly patients must be associated with palliative care as a measure of clinical support in intensive care units. Palliative care is an important component of end-of-life care, and the assistance provided by the healthcare team should be guided by decisions made by patients and their family members. Prolongation of life not accompanied by therapies aimed at relieving symptoms, such as pain and dyspnea, contributes to patient and family member stress suffering. The aim of the present study was to survey advances made in the application of palliative care in intensive care units. METHODS: Medline and Bireme were used to perform a systematic literature review of intensive care units-based palliative care for elderly patients. RESULTS: A total of 29 articles describing palliative care in intensive care units were analyzed according to the variables "satisfaction of relatives when they participate in the discussions on palliative care" and "difficulties to implement such type of care due to lack of technical skills of the health caregivers." CONCLUSION: Palliative care for elderly patients in intensive care units must be more thoroughly investigated to improve the relationships and communication among patients, their relatives, and the healthcare team. As greater numbers of elderly patients are admitted to intensive care units, the skills of health caregivers must improve to meet the challenges posed by the end-of-life care.
Palabras clave : Aged; Hospice care; Life support care; Palliative care; Critical care; Chronic disease.