People are living longer with complex medical problems owing to an increasingly ageing population and high prevalence of chronic disease.

The ED is not generally considered the ideal place to begin palliative care. The reality is that some patients presenting with an acute condition may also have a terminal illness.

Responding to the care needs of these patients is crucial to ensure the maximum amount of dignity and respect. Caring for patients who are reaching the end of their lives can be complex and there is a great deal to consider when initiating palliative care.

This involves working alongside other health professionals to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care.

ED nurses are key in the provision of high quality end of life care, as they are in a prime position to advocate and actively intervene in the best interest of the patient.

Palliative care in the Emergency Department
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Palliative Care in Emergency Medicine
Applying some principles learned in Palliative Care to every-day Emergency Medicine practice – a guest post by Professor Ian Rogers FACEM, of St John of God Murdoch Hospital and University of Notre Dame in Perth, Western Australia

Virtual Empathy Museum
Few healthcare interventions have as much impact on a person’s physical and emotional well-being as empathy. Empathy is a basic component of therapeutic relationships and a key factor in patients’ definitions of quality care. Roll over the marked features on the homepage to navigate the site.

Díaz-Cortés, M. d. M., Granero-Molina, J., Hernández-Padilla, J. M., Pérez Rodríguez, R., Correa Casado, M., & Fernández-Sola, C. (2018). Promoting dignified end-of-life care in the Emergency Department: A qualitative study. International Emergency Nursing, 37, 23-28. doi:10.1016/j.ienj.2017.05.004

McCallum, K. J., Jackson, D., Walthall, H., & Aveyard, H. (2018). Exploring the quality of the dying and death experience in the Emergency Department: An integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 85, 106-117. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2018.05.011

Norton, C. K., Hobson, G., & Kulm, E. (2011). Palliative and end-of-life care in the Emergency Department: Guidelines for Nurses. JEN: Journal of Emergency Nursing, 37(3), 240-245. doi:10.1016/j.jen.2010.02.019