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Document Type

DNP - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Robin Arends


intensive care unit, palliative care, palliative care referral, nurse comfort, nurse knowledge


Background: In the intensive care unit (ICU), patients and families face life-changing decisions. Palliative Care (PC) assists patients and families to understand difficult diagnoses while focusing on comfort and quality of life (World Health Organization, [WHO], 2016).
Methods: A standardized checklist determined which patients in a Midwestern urban ICU setting were appropriate for PC referral. Additionally, nurse comfort levels with PC referral from the ICU were measured before and after implementation.
Results: Statistical significance was found in nurses’ comfort regarding when a PC referral from ICU was appropriate.
Conclusions: Standardization of PC referral criteria from the ICU can increase nurses’ comfort levels regarding when a referral is appropriate and improve consistency among provider referrals. Additional studies are needed to translate the referral tool across other disciplines and measure potential improvement in patient and family satisfaction with care.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Palliative treatment
Medical referral
Nursing assessment


Includes bibliographical references (pages 76-83)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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