End of life care in emergency departments: a review of the literature

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End of life care in emergency departments: a review of the literature

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Providing end of life care (EOLC) in emergency departments (EDs) is challenging because of minimal resources, lack of staff education and outdated models of care. Dynamic, chaotic environments like EDs require systematic, clear and concise principles and goals for patient care. Death in EDs is inevitable, therefore staff should be equipped to provide optimal care to this vulnerable patient group. This article reviews the literature on the barriers to providing EOLC in EDs, and makes recommendations for clinical practice and further research. EOLC refers to care of terminally and critically ill patients in their final days and hours of life.

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