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Karen Kopan

2018 CSA Conference


Karen L. Kopan, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC

Intensive Karen
Nurse Practitioner


Intensive Care 101: Common Older Adult Diagnoses and Life-Sustaining Technologies

Despite 70% of Americans preferring to die at home, nearly 70% percent die in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility (CDC, 2007).  80% of patients with chronic diseases say they want to avoid hospitalization and intensive care when they are dying and yet only 12 to 30% percent of Americans report having an advance directive such as a living will (AP, 2010). 

Technological devices in the intensive care unit are able to sustain multiple organ systems through acute illness and injury.  However, most people are unaware of the risks and benefits of these devices.  Case studies are used to review the common diagnoses and life-sustaining technologies.


Learning Objectives

  1. List the top five common intensive care diagnoses of the older adult
  2. Describe the risks and benefits of common life-sustaining therapies including ventilators and mechanical heart support
  3. Describe common intensive care medical decisions presented to older adults and their families


About Karen

Dr. Karen Kopan is a Nurse Practitioner in the Intensive Care Unit at NorthShore Evanston Hospital.  She trail-blazed the role more than 20 years ago, paving the way for several hundred nurse practitioners who now work in the health system.  She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and her Doctorate degree from Rush University in Chicago. 

Visit the Schedule at a Glance for session dates, times, and locations. 

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