Article Text

Download PDFPDF
‘Death rounds to support critical care nurses: a qualitative study’
  1. Keh Kiong Ong1,
  2. Chew Lai Sum1,
  3. Xuelian Jamie Zhou2,3 and
  4. Yeow Leng Chow4
  1. 1Nursing, National University Hospital, Singapore
  2. 2Division of Supportive and Palliative Care, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore
  3. 3Lien Centre for Palliative Care, Duke-NUS, Singapore
  4. 4Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Keh Kiong Ong, Nursing, National University Hospital, Singapore 119074, Singapore; keh_kiong_ong{at}


Objective Providing end-of-life care has a significant psychological impact on critical care nurses. Little is known about whether critical care nurses find death rounds useful as a support system. This study aimed to describe critical care nurses’ perceptions of attending death rounds.

Methods This study was conducted using a qualitative descriptive design, using one-to-one audio-recorded interviews. The study was conducted at a 20-bed medical intensive care unit in a 1200-bed public tertiary hospital in Singapore. One-to-one interviews were conducted with 14 nurses using a semi-structured interview guide. Data was analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Critical care nurses valued attending death rounds. They found death rounds to be an outlet to express themselves and remember patients, to draw and give peer support, to build nursing and interprofessional cohesiveness and to learn to improve palliative care. The death rounds were optimal when they felt safe to share, when there was a good facilitator, when the hierarchy was flat and when the audience was interdisciplinary. The barriers to a successful death round were the rounds being too formal, timing and not knowing the patients.

Conclusion Death rounds are a viable way to support critical care nurses in providing end-of-life care.

  • education and training
  • psychological care

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors All authors were involved in study conception. KKO and CLS were involved in data collection. KKO and YLC were involved in data analysis. All authors were involved in manuscript preparation.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Domain Specific Review Board (2017/00481).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. NA.