Improving End-of-Life Care in the Intensive Care Unit: Clinicians' Experiences with the 3 Wishes Project Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background: End-of-life (EOL) care is an important aspect of practice in the intensive care unit (ICU), where approximately one of every five patients may die. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe clinicians' experiences with the 3 Wishes Project (3WP) and understand the influence of the project on care in the ICU. Design: The 3WP is a palliative care intervention in which clinicians elicit and implement final wishes for patients dying in the ICU; it had been implemented for seven months at the time of this study. This mixed-methods study includes quantitative data from clinician surveys and qualitative data from clinician focus groups. Setting: A 24-bed medical ICU in a tertiary academic center. Subjects: Perspectives of 97 clinicians working in the ICU during the study period were obtained by self-administered surveys. Five focus groups with 25 nurses and 5 physicians were held, digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Measurements and Results: During the 7-month period, 67 decedents and their families participated in the 3WP. The overarching concept identified through analysis of the survey and focus group data is that the 3WP improves EOL care in the ICU, which was supported by three main themes: (1) The 3WP facilitates meaningful EOL care; (2) The 3WP has a positive impact on nurses and physicians; and (3) clinicians observe a positive influence of the 3WP on families. Conclusions: This patient-centered and family-partnered intervention facilitates meaningful EOL care, favorably impacting the ICU team and positively influencing family members.


  • Neville, Thanh H
  • Agarwal, Neha
  • Swinton, Marilyn
  • Phung, Peter
  • Xu, Xueqing
  • Kao, Yuhan
  • Seo, Jiyeon
  • Granone, Maria C
  • Hjelmhaug, Kristen
  • Hainje, Jessica
  • Pavlish, Carol
  • Clarke, France
  • Cook, Deborah

publication date

  • December 1, 2019