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National University Hospital starts palliative care service in emergency department

Published on Jul 28, 2014 6:01 PM
National University Hospital's Associate Consultant for Emergency Medicine Rakhee Yash Pal counseling Madam Mumina d/o Jahabar. NUH is the first hospital to roll out a palliative care service, as part of care and service, at its Emergency Medicine Department. -- PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES 

SINGAPORE - The National University Hospital is starting a dedicated palliative care service in its emergency department (ED) to relieve patients' suffering.

Doctors see the need as more elderly have died in the ED in the past two years.

"As our population ages, patients with advanced chronic illness and crisis events such as severe pneumonia or heart attack, are likely to increase," said Associate Consultant for Emergency Medicine Rakhee Yash Pal at NUH. "The default mode in emergency medicine is maximum resuscitation, but not every patient might want that or benefit from that," she said. NUH is also believed to be the first hospital to start a palliative service in its ED.

Currently, patients and their family members might need to wait several hours to see a palliative specialist, especially if an emergency happens at night. Some might not even make it, thus the need to train ED staff to provide prompt palliative care, Dr Yash Pal said.

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