Rapid response teams (RRTs) can effectively foster discussions about appropriate goals of care and address other emergent palliative care needs of patients and families facing life-threatening illness on hospital wards. In this article, The Improving Palliative Care in the ICU (IPAL-ICU) Project brings together interdisciplinary expertise and existing data to address the following: special challenges for providing palliative care in the rapid response setting, knowledge and skills needed by RRTs for delivery of high-quality palliative care, and strategies for improving the integration of palliative care with rapid response critical care. We discuss key components of communication with patients, families, and primary clinicians to develop a goal-directed treatment approach during a rapid response event. We also highlight the need for RRT expertise to initiate symptom relief. Strategies including specific clinician training and system initiatives are then recommended for RRT care improvement. We conclude by suggesting that as evaluation of their impact on other outcomes continues, performance by RRTs in meeting palliative care needs of patients and families should also be measured and improved.
School of Medicine
Geriatric and Palliative Medicine