Palliative medicine and geriatric emergency care: challenges, opportunities, and basic principles

Clin Geriatr Med. 2013 Feb;29(1):1-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2012.09.006.


Patients with serious or life-threatening illness are likely to find themselves in an emergency department at some point along their trajectory of illness, and they should expect to receive high-quality palliative care in that setting. Recently, emergency medicine has increasingly taken a central role in the early implementation of palliative care. This article presents an overview of palliative care in the emergency department and describes commonly encountered palliative emergencies, strategies for acute symptom management, communication strategies, and issues related to optimal use of hospice service in the emergency department.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Geriatrics*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospice Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration
  • Severity of Illness Index