Futile treatment common in critical care

ehospice_130913In a recent American study it was found that more than one in ten patients being treated in intensive care were receiving treatment that doctors considered futile. According to the authors of a paper published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, future treatment – i.e. treatment where the burdens greatly outweigh the benefits, or in a situation where a patient will never survive outside intensive care – is common in critical care units in many developed countries, such as USA, Canada and Europe.

The researchers set out to discover how common this kind of futile treatment is, and how much it costs, by spending three months in five intensive care units (ICU) in American hospitals, assessing how often the doctors considered treatment of their patients to be futile. The study involved 6916 assessments by 36 critical care specialists of 1136 patients…read more

From ehospice’s International edition.