Identifying Advanced Illness Patients in the Emergency Department and Having Goals-of-Care Discussions to Assist with Early Hospice Referral



      The emergency department (ED) is often where patients with advanced illness (AI) present when faced with an acute deterioration in their disease.


      To investigate the effectiveness of our AI Management program in the ED on key outcomes.


      We conducted a pre-post study with a retrospective chart review with ED patients at an academic, tertiary care hospital in the New York metropolitan area. We assessed changes from baseline to intervention period on percent of patients identified in the ED with AI, percent who received an ED-led goals-of-care (GOC) discussion, and percent referred to hospice from the ED. We used the Fisher's exact test or the Mann-Whitney test to compare groups, as appropriate.


      Our sample consisted of 82 patients (21 baseline and 61 intervention). Patients in the baseline period had a median age of 75 years, with 61.9% being female, whereas those in the intervention period had a median age of 83 years, with 67.2% being female. Patients in the intervention, compared with baseline, were significantly more likely to be identified as having AI in the ED (90.2% vs. 0.0%; p < 0.0001), to receive an ED-led GOC conversation (83.6% vs. 0.0%; p < 0.0001), and to be discharged to home hospice (39.3% vs. 0.0%; p < 0.0001).


      The ED provides a critical opportunity to identify AI patients, have ED-led GOC discussions, and refer appropriate patients to hospice.


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