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Palliative care emergencies 

Palliative care emergencies
Chapter:
Palliative care emergencies
Author(s):

Richard D.W. Hain

and Satbir Singh Jassal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198745457.003.0015
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date: 26 May 2020

A palliative care emergency describes a symptom situation that is serious and demands immediate and skilled specialist attention, but is also unusual enough for there to be a possibility that the specialist has not often encountered it. In a palliative care emergency, the patient experiences sudden and severe distress that can only be relieved by prompt and confident intervention by the palliative care team. There is little time to prepare for it, and, to the specialist in paediatric palliative medicine, an emergency is defined by the importance of already having a clear strategy for dealing with it. That can be challenging for those working in paediatric palliative care, because most are rare. This chapter covers the six main emergencies encountered in paediatric palliative medicine: cord compression, catastrophic haemorrhage, severe uncontrolled pain, superior vena cava obstruction, intestinal obstruction, and hypercalcaemia.

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