Kicking off the news this week is a look at an article I found over at looking at education around EMS Do Not Resuscitate orders and hospice patients. It’s a continuing education article co-written by our good friend and fellow ProMed Network podcaster, Greg Friese. Greg is the host of the EMS Educast and works at as their director of education.

Palliative Care and DNR Patients

Caring-for-Husband_smI like this article because it teaches us about a group of patients we see a lot but I think fail to treat adequately simply because we don’t understand the purposes and nuances of the DNR order. All too frequently EMS providers fail to understand the scope of the DNR order and the true meaning of palliative care for these fragile patients.

Greg quotes the World Health Organization definition of palliative care as “the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. According to a prominent cleveland hospice, the goal of palliative care is achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families.”

Dropping the Ball on DNR Care

That’s where many of us fall down in our care for these patients. Palliative care allows us to reduce pain and discomfort for these patients. It means that a patient with a broken hip with a DNR order in their chart still gets morphine for pain. You don’t just splint them with a scoop board and take them to the hospital, writhing in agony.

I urge you to check out this article which helps you to define the care for these patients and provide better care and documentation for yourself. Check it out!


Find the link for this and all the news items plus additional resource links in the show notes for this week’s episode of the¬†MedicCast — Changing EMS Jobs and Episode 325.


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