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Protecting privacy while supporting nurses

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To: Ethics Advisory Board   

From: Concerned emergency department clinical manager

Subject: Patient/family privacy and nurses’ well-being  

A patient was brought to our emergency department (ED) from home hospice care and received aggressive resuscitation, with eventual transfer to the ICU. During an interdisciplinary staff debrief several weeks later, nurses were struggling with moral distress, feeling they had caused patient suffering at the end of life. A physician shared that the patient and family received excellent support in the ICU for several weeks and that they expressed deep gratitude for the expert care they received in our organization and for the compassionate end-of-life care they received in the ICU. The nurses, visibly relieved, asked about regular updates on patients following care in the ED to alleviate concerns and to sustain them in their work. 

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