Integration of palliative care into emergency medicine: the Improving Palliative Care in Emergency Medicine (IPAL-EM) collaboration

J Emerg Med. 2014 Feb;46(2):264-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.08.087. Epub 2013 Nov 25.


Background: Emergency department (ED) providers commonly care for seriously ill patients who suffer from advanced, chronic, life-limiting illnesses in addition to those that are acutely ill or injured. Both the chronically ill and those who present in extremis may benefit from application of palliative care principles.

Case report: We present a case highlighting the opportunities and need for better integration of emergency medicine and palliative care.

Discussion: We offer practical guidelines to the ED faculty/administrators who seek to enhance the quality of patient care in their own unique ED setting by starting an initiative that better integrates palliative principles into daily practice. Specifically, we outline four things to do to jumpstart this collaborative effort.

Conclusion: The Improving Palliative Care in Emergency Medicine project sponsored by the Center to Advance Palliative Care is a resource that assists ED health care providers with the process and structure needed to integrate palliative care into the ED setting.

Keywords: collaboration; emergency department; emergency medicine; integration; palliative care.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic