Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on patients with serious illness and their families. In the intensive care unit (ICU), palliative care encompasses core skills to support patients and their families throughout their ICU course and post-ICU stays. Psychiatric symptoms are common among patients approaching the end of life and require particular attention in the setting of sedating medications, typically used when patients require ventilators and other life-sustaining treatments. For patients with preexisting severe mental illness who have a concurrent serious medical illness, a palliative psychiatric approach can address complex symptom management and support ethical and value-based shared decision making.
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