Elderly people are being taken to emergency departments in their final hours of life and dying because many aged-care homes are not equipped to provide palliative care, according to a report in ‘The Age’.
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president elect, Dr Simon Judkins, said in an interview that people who should be receiving palliative care are sometimes dying in an emergency department cubical.
"Coming to hospital and passing away in an emergency department is not by anybody's definition a good death," he said. "My concern is for the family and the patient who has to spend their last hours in a busy, noisy, overcrowded environment."
About 70 per cent of Australians would prefer to die at home, but less than 10 per cent are able to, says a study. It is common for ambulances to be called for people in their final stages of a terminal illness, with nursing home staff not experienced enough to treat a dying person.
Experienced doctors and nurses will be able to recognise the telltale signs of dying – mottled hands and feet that turn purple, a loss of appetite, confusion, problems breathing and a sinking into unconsciousness. In the final days, some start plucking at their blankets. Most distressing signs are agitation and delirium, or vomiting, which can be managed very well with the right expertise of a trained professional.The reluctance of the aged-care industry to address the staffing requirements is an ongoing concern.
Read full report in 'The Age': http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/elderly-people-dying-in-emergency-departments-due-to-lack-of-palliative-care-20171005-gyv588.html