“Exploring End of Life Care in an Emergency Department – Patient and Caregiver Narratives”
Barring major palliative care reform, the emergency department will continue to serve as an important health services interface for individuals at the end-of-life. While emergency medicine is oriented toward trauma care, acute stabilization and the prolongation of life, individuals at the end of life are likely seeking care to improve the quality of life rather than interventionist and/or curative care. This illuminates the emergency department as a point of ideological convergence where people with advanced disease, their caregivers and health professionals experience a tension between the quality of life paradigm versus the technological imperative or curative paradigm. The goal of this project is to conduct an ethnographically informed qualitative inquiry to learn from the patient and caregiver’s standpoints as they receive care, to reflect upon the process of care, and to translate these findings into an increased capacity to provide humane and compassionate end-of-life care within the emergency department.