Language matters in end-of-life conversations

IMAGE

Credit: Penn Nursing

PHILADELPHIA (February 2, 2018) – In general, the term "medical futility" applies when, based on data and professional experience, no further treatments, procedures or tests will provide benefit and may, in fact, be more burdensome and create undue suffering for the patient and the patient's family.

As expected, discussing futility at end of life is complex and emotionally draining for patients, families, and clinicians. Because it is often used imprecisely, the term "futile" — and newer terms including "potentially inappropriate" — can cause confusion and result in disagreements about end-of-life care. A University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) perspective article cautions that care must be taken by clinicians to guard against the misuse of language when guiding patients and families on death and dying.

"The reconceptualization of futility language requires further clarification and analysis of how newer terms impact the patients and families who rely on their clinicians for expert care and compassion at end of life," wrote author Connie M. Ulrich, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Lillian S. Brunner Chair in Medical and Surgical Nursing and Professor of Nursing. The article, "End-of-Life Futility Conversations – When Language Matters" has been published in the journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine.

"How clinicians use words to give meaning to the dying process for those who are seriously ill can be a salve that is long remembered amidst the initial disbelief and grief suffered by so many," wrote Ulrich.

###

About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world's leading schools of nursing. For the second year in a row, it is ranked the #1 nursing school in the world by QS University, and has four graduate programs ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report, the most of any school in the United States. Penn Nursing is currently ranked # 1 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, among other schools of nursing. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through research, education, and practice. Follow Penn Nursing on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube.

Media Contact

Ed Federico
[email protected]
215-746-3562

http://www.nursing.upenn.edu

Original Source

https://www.nursing.upenn.edu/live/news/1009-language-matters-in-end-of-life-conversations

Comments
%d bloggers like this: