Promoting peaceful death in the intensive care unit in Thailand

W Kongsuwan, R C Locsin
International Nursing Review 2009, 56 (1): 116-22

BACKGROUND: Having a peaceful death is a common wish among Thai people. Thai culture and religious beliefs offer practical ways to enhance having a peaceful death. Dying in an intensive care unit (ICU) is unnatural and oftentimes painful for the patient and their loved ones. Promoting a peaceful death is one of the least understood yet critical roles of nurses who practise in ICUs.

PURPOSE: To explore the ways that ICU nurses in Thailand could promote peaceful death and to attempt a definition of the concept of 'peaceful death'.

METHOD: Data were generated from ICU nurses' descriptions of peaceful death. These were given during in-depth telephone interviews, tape-recorded and analysed using the grounded theory method of analysis.

FINDINGS: ICU nurses promote peaceful death through a three-dimensional process: awareness of dying; creating a caring environment; and promoting end-of-life care.

CONCLUSIONS: The study provided opportunities for nurses to understand and influence the practice of promoting peaceful death in ICUs in Thailand. Further research is needed to enhance the practices and processes necessary for promoting peaceful death among ICU patients. It is anticipated that this will advance policy changes in nursing care processes in Thailand.

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