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Surgical Innovation
March 2018

Palliative Care Assessment in the Surgical and Trauma Intensive Care Unit

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Bariatric and Gastrointestinal Surgery, Departments of Surgery and Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
  • 2Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Oncology and Palliative Care, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
  • 3Division of Acute Care Surgical Services, Department of Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
JAMA Surg. 2018;153(3):280-281. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.5077

How can we prioritize the fundamental needs of patients in the increasingly technical and data-driven environment of modern health care, especially in the intensive care unit? Palliative care is a relatively new specialty that focuses on the most basic and human elements of medicine, including

The innovation is incorporating a palliative care assessment into the daily rounding metrics in the surgical and trauma intensive care unit (STICU). The palliative care assessment is a simple question—does this patient have any palliative care needs?—that the team understands to include symptom management challenges, issues of psychosocial support, and disparities in perception of treatment plan and prognosis. Incorporating this question into the daily rounds allows these aspects of patient care to be given equal priority as issues such as hemodynamics and infection in the daily rounding discussion.

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