Palliative resuscitation: Managing dyspnea in emergency department palliative patients

A brief guide to the management of dyspnea in palliative patients in the emergency department

Case

An 87 year old woman with metastatic breast cancer and severe COPD is brought by her daughter to the emergency department because of progressively worsening shortness of breath that they have been unable to manage at home. Her family has noticed a significant decline over the last month, such that she now rarely gets out of bed. She is followed by the local palliative care team and has completed paperwork to indicate that she should not want aggressive life prolonging therapy. The daughter was very anxious about coming to the emergency department, because her mother had been intubated in the past had made it clear that she would never want that again. Unfortunately, despite following the plans of her palliative physician, they were unable to control her severe dyspnea at home… Continue reading “Palliative resuscitation: Managing dyspnea in emergency department palliative patients”