Death : End of Life

Death : End of Life 150 150 Tony Guo


  • Occurs when all vital organs and body systems cease to function
  • Irreversible cessation of cardiovascular, respiratory, and brain function

Brain Death

  • Irreversible loss of all brain functions including the brainstem
  • Occurs when the cerebral cortex stops functioning or is destroyed
  • Exact definition of death can be controversial
  • Legal and medical standards require that all brain function must cease for brain death to be pronounced and life support to be disconnected.
  • Diagnosis of brain death is of particular importance when organ donation is an option.
  • In some states and under specific circumstances, registered nurses are legally permitted to pronounce death. Policies and procedures may vary from state to state and among health care institutions.

End of Life

  • Refers to the final phase of a patient’s illness, when death is imminent
  • Period of time from diagnosis of a terminal illness to actual death varies considerably, depending on the patient’s diagnosis and extent of disease
  • Goals
    • Provide comfort and supportive care during dying process
    • Improve quality of remaining life
    • Help ensure a dignified death
    • Provide emotional support to family

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