A report of an investigation of end-of-life care practices in health care facilities and the influences on those practices.
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In 1992, 82.2% of deaths in Alberta occurred in acute care hospitals or continuing care facilities. This paper outlines the end-of-life care of adult inpatients who died that year in four such facilities (n = 137). CPR was an infrequent end-of-life treatment modality (2.9%), in stark contrast to the extensive use of other medical technologies. Almost every inpatient (94.2%) died with one or more technologies in continuous operation. Although reasons were infrequently given, the desire to promote patient comfort was the most frequent influence on end-of-life technology use. The findings of this study raise issues for debate and further investigation. Chief among these issues is whether or not medical technologies promote comfort during the dying process.
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