The Importance of Communication in ED

We all know how important communication is across all fields of medicine, and a couple of articles that came up in this month's EMU round up (an oddly amusing summary of recent literature) highlight a couple of important issues we encounter often in critical care and Emergency Medicine: end of life discussions and consultation with specialty teams.

Word Choice is Important

We often have to have THAT discussion with patients and their families about limitations of care and patient wishes. In the absence of an Advanced Care Directive, broaching this topic can be uncomfortable. In this article from Intensive Care Medicine, the authors suggest we make sure to use the right language to make sure the correct message is received by our patients and their families. The key is to avoid some common phrases that may give the wrong impression, with alternative wordings suggested:



Avoiding Conflict in Consultations

In this study, investigators interviewed emergency department doctors and explored the incidence of conflict experienced during consultation with inpatient specialty teams (not something we'd ever experience, right?). They identified a number of themes that map against traditional domains for conflict producing and mitigating factors. What were important messages?

  • Have a good reputation (be a good doctor, and have been a good doctor before)
  • Care about what you're doing
  • Collaborate and work together




What to do now?

Well, there's nothing really all that mindblowing about what either paper has offered, but it is worth a reminder to keep these concepts at Front of Mind while performing these tasks.  Be a good doctor and communicator, and care about what you do—this is what we already do in Emergency Medicine.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming guide on How to Make a Referral that has been in the works for some time...


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