Communication in intensive care settings: The challenge of futility disputes

J. J. Fins, M. Z. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


In intensive care settings, suboptimal communication can erode family trust and fuel so-called "futility" disputes. Presenting a teaching case used by >225 hospitals participating in the Decisions Near the End-of-Life program, we identify critical communication challenges and opportunities. We emphasize that good communication requires not only clear and sensitive language but also clinician self-awareness, psychological insight, and an institutional culture that promotes good communication with families. The article concludes with two examples of steps institutions can take to foster good communication between families and healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)N10-N15
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2001


  • Case study
  • Communication
  • Doctor-patient relationship
  • End-of-life
  • Family
  • Futility
  • Intensive care
  • Medical education
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication in intensive care settings: The challenge of futility disputes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this