15 Nov, 11 | by BMJ Group
A newly launched national initiative in the US entitled Improving Palliative Care in Emergency Medicine (IPAL-EM) will promote access to palliative medicine for seriously ill patients presenting at emergency departments.
The project, which was supported in part by the Centre to Advance Palliative Care, aims to increase referral rates for seriously ill patients from emergency wards to more appropriate care settings and also to improve control of physical symptoms.
It has become increasingly apparent over recent years that the fields of emergency medicine and palliative care are inter-linked in terms of patient experience. Many people suffering from serious and long-term illnesses will attend an emergency department at some point, often in need of pain relief. There is also more recognition of the general role which palliative care can play in the emergency room, where it can be used to decrease both physical pain and stress experienced by patients and their loved ones.
IPAL-EM aims to provide palliative and emergency physicians with the tools and evidence necessary to integrate the two therapeutic areas.