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P045: Palliative care nurse specialist in the emergency department: a pilot project

  • K. Nichol (a1), L. Galitzine (a1), L. Kachuik (a1), S. Madore (a1), S. Olivier (a1) and L. Fischer (a1)...

Abstract

Background: Patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) with unmet palliative care needs are often admitted to hospital and this can be a pivotal point in their subsequent health care journey. Literature from the United States supports the integration of palliative care resources in the ED and to our knowledge, this has yet to be done in a Canadian setting. Aim Statement: To develop, implement, and evaluate a model to support patients presenting to the ED with unmet palliative care needs. Measures & Design: A pilot project was implemented in one campus of the ED at a tertiary care academic center in Ottawa, Ontario. A palliative care nurse specialist was available for consultation with goals to: a) reduce admission to hospital for patients choosing to have a palliative approach to their care; b) increase coordination between ED and community resources; and c) be a resource for ED staff. Referral criteria were developed after systematic review of the literature and in consultation with palliative and emergency medicine experts. Evaluation/Results: Over the course of the study period (9 months), 50 referrals were made. The primary reason for referral was for increased community supports. Patient outcomes: 10 patients were discharged to hospice/palliative care units from the ED, 38 patients were discharged home. Of those discharged home, 66% had no returns to ED within 30 days. Qualitative feedback collected via pre and post survey has been extremely supportive from ED health care practitioners and community palliative care providers. Discussion/Impact: This ongoing project has led to positive, patient centered outcomes and decreased admission to acute care hospital. Ongoing evaluation will include consideration of Ontario Palliative Care Network quality indicators and cost-analysis to determine impact on health care system.

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