Patients and families living with serious illness who are seen in the Emergency Department (ED) may receive palliative care services via either 1) referral for consult by the palliative care team, and/or 2) delivery of palliative care services by trained ED staff. Ideally, these models occur in parallel.

This toolkit was developed and curated by the Advisory Board of IPAL-EM: Improving Palliative Care in Emergency Medicine in an effort to increase access to palliative care services for patients in the ED and their families.

What’s in the Toolkit

The "what and why" of ED palliative care, including standards for ED palliative care and how to make the case.

Making the Case for ED-Palliative Care Integration

Make the case to administrators for starting an ED-palliative care integration project. Includes data on gaps in 'usual' care and best practice recommendations.

Clinical Practice Guidelines

THE IPAL-EM board has developed clinical practice guidelines for Emergency Department palliative care services, adapted from the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care.

Clinical Practice Guidelines: Self-Assessment

Used by emergency department and palliative care staff as a self-assessment tool to guide integration of palliative care services in the ED.

Four Things to Do in a Week: Integrating Palliative Care Services into the Emergency Department

Kick-start an ED-palliative care integration project using a structured needs assessment.

Getting Started: Organizing an ED Palliative Care Initiative

A roadmap for planning and implementing a project to integrate palliative care principles into daily emergency department care.

Practical guidance on model design and tools for identifying patients in the ED who would benefit from palliative care.

Getting Started: Keys to Success for an ED Palliative Care Initiative

Presenter: Tammie E. Quest, MD. March 2015.

Palliative Care ED Screening Tool

Screening tool to identify patients with unmet palliative care needs. For ED staff.

Pediatric Palliative Care Delivery

Guidance on program design and program operations for the pediatric palliative care program.

Tools for both palliative care and ED teams to assess need, conduct family meetings about priorities for care, and provide services in the ED.

Primary Palliative Care Trigger Criteria

CAPC consensus report for identification of patients with palliative care need. 2011.

Palliative Care ED Screening Tool

Screening tool to identify patients with unmet palliative care needs. For ED staff.

Consultation Etiquette for Palliative Care in the Emergency Department

Key concepts for palliative care teams when providing consultations in the emergency department.

Prescribing Opioids: A Pocket Reference

Opioid pocket reference for providers including safe starting doses, equianalgesic chart, and standard dosing strengths.

Leading a Patient and Caregiver Meeting Best Practices

A stepwise approach for all members of the health care team for leading meetings with patients and caregivers.

Family Conference Progress Note

For use by ED staff. Shared by Froedert Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin.

Family Conference Progress Note

For use by ED staff. Shared by Central Baptist Hospital.

Family Witnessed Resuscitation Checklist

Sample tool used for quality improvement in the ED. Shared by Emory University Hospital Midtown.

The Family Goal-Setting Conference

10-step guide including recommended phrases for the clinical team. Shared by Mount Sinai Hospital.

Measurement strategies to evaluate patient, family, and clinician satisfaction with services, in support of ongoing quality improvement.

Evaluation of ED-Palliative Care Metrics & Quality

Consensus recommendations on key operational, clinical and satisfaction metrics that emergency departments can track to ensure quality palliative care services.

Measurement Best Practices

Use this toolkit to select program measures that demonstrate value to stakeholders and support quality care delivery. Overcome common measurement obstacles and synthesize program data.

National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) Measurement and Evaluation Tools

NPCRC provides measurement and evaluation tools for research, including pain and symptom management, functional status, psychosocial care, caregiver assessment, and quality of life.

Train ED teams in communication skills and family caregiver support, including CAPC’s online CE curriculum on communication skills for clinicians from all disciplines.

Online Clinical Training Courses For All Clinicians

Online training curriculum for all specialties and disciplines to strengthen their care of patients living with serious illness. Free continuing education credits for all, and physicians receive ABIM MOC credits for select courses.

Education for Physicians on End-of-Life Care (EPEC)

Education in Palliative and End-of-life Care for Emergency Medicine (EPEC - Emergency Medicine) teaches essential clinical competencies in palliative care to professionals who work in the emergency department (ED).

End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium - Critical Care Train-the-Trainer Courses (ELNEC)

A train-the-trainer program, held once or twice annually at a specific location, covering eight curriculum modules. Participants receive up-to-date resources for teaching at their home institutions.

Educating Social Workers in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (ESPEC)

Educating Social Workers in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (ESPEC) is an innovative training program designed for health social workers by social workers to promote the integration of primary palliative care skills into clinical practice.

Fast Facts and Concepts

Concise, practical, peer-reviewed, and evidence-based summaries on topics important to clinicians and trainees caring for seriously ill patients. Use Fast Facts to onboard staff and for ongoing team education.

Online information to explain the role and benefits of palliative care to patients and families.

Information for patients and families about palliative care.

End of Life: Helping with Comfort and Care

Jargon-free information for families of patients who are at the end of life. Published by the National Insitute on Aging (NIA).

Relevant publications for integrating palliative care in the Emergency Department.

Reference Library

Relevant literature for palliative care-ED integration.


Members of CAPC's IPAL-EM Advisory Council, which co-authored many of the resources in this toolkit.

Tools to make the case for palliative care resources and financial partnerships, including the palliative care evidence base and downloadable tools for presenting the case. Includes 27 resources.
Tools to design and implement a training initiative for care teams from all specialties, to improve quality of life for patients and families living with serious illness. Includes 27 resources.
Integrating palliative care practices in the ICU through training and collaboration. Includes 35 resources.

See all 47 Toolkits

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