A Literature review on care at the end-of-life in the emergency department

Roberto Forero, Geoff McDonnell, Blanca Gallego Luxan, Sally McCarthy, Mohammed Mohsin, Chris Shanley, Frank Formby, Ken Hillman

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The hospitalisation and management of patients at the end-of-life by emergency medical services is presenting a challenge to our society as the majority of people approaching death explicitly state that they want to die at home and the transition from acute care to palliation is difficult. In addition, the escalating costs of providing care at the end-of-life in acute hospitals are unsustainable. Hospitals in general and emergency departments in particular cannot always provide the best care for patients approaching end-of-life. The main objectives of this paper are to review the existing literature in order to assess the evidence for managing patients dying in the emergency department, and to identify areas of improvement such as supporting different models of care and evaluating those models with health services research. The paper identified six main areas where there is lack of research and/or suboptimal policy implementation. These include uncertainty of treatment in the emergency department; quality of life issues, costs, ethical and social issues, interaction between ED and other health services, and strategies for out of hospital care. The paper concludes with some areas for policy development and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number486516
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEmergency medicine international
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2012. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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