Background: While the benefits of embedding palliative care (PC) clinicians into the emergency department (ED) are now more widely appreciated, only a handful of programs have been reported in the literature. None has previously evaluated the attitudes and experiences of the multidisciplinary ED team with such an intervention. Objectives: We evaluated the experience of ED attendings, residents, nurses, social workers, and chaplains with an embedded PC clinician in the ED. Design/Subjects: We embedded PC clinicians into an urban, Academic ED in the United States and surveyed 142 ED clinicians about their experiences. We analyzed survey results using descriptive analysis for closed-ended responses and thematic analyses for open-ended responses. Measurements/Results: One hundred six of 141 clinicians responded (75% response rate). Quantitative analysis found that 99% of participants found the program valuable. Benefits of embedded PC included changing patients’ management or care trajectory, freeing up ED providers for other tasks, contributing to provider education, helping providers feel more supported during their shifts, and adding to providers’ skill sets and confidence in practicing primary PC. Most participants reported minimal barriers to engaging with PC. The qualitative analysis identified program approval, desire for expansion/continuation of the program, and ongoing education of ED staff. Important themes for future programs include staff education, PC proactivity, importance of adapting to the needs of the ED, and education regarding PC consultation criteria. Conclusions: ED clinicians’ attitudes toward embedded PC reflected overall approval, with underlying themes of providers feeling more supported during their shifts, improved resource management, the perception of better patient care, and nursing empowerment.


embedded palliative care; emergency department; goals of care; pain; palliative medicine.

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Emergency Department Clinician Experience with Embedded Palliative Care

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