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Making time for person-centred care

Human contact and reassurance can help older patients in the emergency department just as much as relieving their pain, writes Justin Walford.

The ambulance crew tell me you have been admitted to the emergency department with a suspected femoral shaft fracture. I see a scared, frail older person, but when I look into your eyes there’s a sparkle. This must be how you made it to 101 years old.

Part of me wants to sit with you, hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right and what’s going to happen and when. To provide you with the psychological support and reassurance that you need. But I can’t give you this time. The emergency nurse in me knows that if I do not complete a full set of vital signs and a top-to-toe survey looking for other injuries, this might prove fatal.

So I listen to the handover, the minute

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