Dr. Leon Yeh, Medical Director of Emergency Services – OSF Saint Francis Medical Center
Supportive care brings together a variety of needed services that influence the care given to patients we see daily in the emergency department. Both supportive care and palliative care programs and teams in the hospital bring together doctors, nurses, care managers, ethicists, patients and families to discuss and truly understand a patient’s end-of-life wishes. This may include a discussion about Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders and advance care planning.
An emergency department visit can be a scary and confusing time for both patients and their families, especially when faced with the final stages of life. It is comforting for everyone involved to know how to proceed in a manner that respects a patient’s desires. That is exactly what our supportive care and palliative care team members do. They help to remind our caregivers that the patient’s wishes and requests come first.
There is often temptation to apply every technology and medical treatment for life-threatening or life-ending illnesses and injuries even if medical science knows these things to be incurable. Supportive care refocuses our attention on the truly important objective, which is to extend the patient’s quality of life by making them more comfortable and giving them more time to spend with their loved ones.