Best Case Ever 45 – Mike Winters on Cardiac Arrest

I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Mike Winters on his first ever visit to Canada at North York General's Emergency Medicine Update Conference, where he gave two fantastic presentations. His credentials are impressive: He is the Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Associate Professor in both EM and IM, EM-IM-Critical Care Program co-director and Residency Program Director of EM-IM at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Sometimes we are so caught up with the job we need to get done during cardiac arrest that we forget about the important and profound effect that this event has on patients' families. On this Best Case Ever Dr. Winters tells the story of witnessing his grandfather's cardiac arrest, being present in the ED during the resuscitation attempts, and how that experience has coloured his practice. We discuss some pearls on communication with patients' families after death, colour-coded cardiac arrest teams and how to integrate POCUS into cardiac arrest care while minimizing chest compressions.

Episode 70 End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine

Most of us in North America live in cultures that almost never talk about death and dying. And medical progress has led the way to a shift in the culture of dying, in which death has been medicalized. While most people wish to die at home, every decade has seen an increase in the proportion of deaths that occur in hospital. Death is often seen as a failure to keep people alive rather than a natural dignified end to life. This is at odds with what a lot of people actually want at the end of their lives: 70% of hospitalized Canadian elderly say they prefer comfort measures as apposed to life-prolonging treatment, yet as many as ⅔ of these patients are admitted to ICUs. Quality End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine is not widely taught. Most of us are not well prepared for death in our EDs – and we should be. There’s no second chance when it comes to a bad death like there is if you screw up a central line placement, so you need the skills to do it right the first time. To recognize when comfort measures and compassion are what will be best for our patients, is just as important as knowing when to intervene and treat aggressively in a resuscitation. Emergency physicians should be able to recognize not only the symptoms and patterns that are common in the last hours to days of life, but also understand the various trajectories over months or years toward death, if they’re going to provide the high quality end of life care that patients deserve. So, with the help of Dr. Howard Ovens, a veteran emergency physician with over 25 years of experience who speaks at national conferences on End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Paul Miller, an emergency physician who also runs a palliative care unit at McMaster University and Dr. Shona MacLachlan who led the palliative care stream at the CAEP conference in Edmonton this past June, we'll help you learn the skills you need to assess dying patients appropriately, communicate with their families effectively, manage end of life symptoms with confidence and much more...

Episode 51 Effective Patient Communication – Managing Difficult Patients

If you believe that coping with some of the people we deal with in emergency medicine is difficult or impossible, you’re not alone. We all feel this way from time to time. Managing difficult patients can be a challenge to the health care provider and to the entire ED. The hostile aggressive patient, the demanding patient, the know-it-all, the excessively anxious patient, and the incessant complainer, are some of the folks that we need to know how to manage effectively. If we fail to handle these patients appropriately, they may receive suboptimal care, grind patient flow to a halt, and delay care of other patients. If the staff has to deal with a multitude of these patients on a given shift, there’s a sort of swarm-based escalation in frustration and sometimes, unfortunately, a total breakdown of effective patient communication and care. But don't fret. In this one-of-a-kind podcast on effective patient communication and managing difficult patients, Dr. Walter Himmel, Dr. Jean-Pierre Champagne and RN Ann Shook take us through specific strategies, based on both the medical and non-medical literature, on how we can effectively manage these challenging patients. As a bonus, we address the difficult situation of breaking bad news with a simple mnemonic and discuss tips on how to deliver effective discharge instructions to help improve outcomes once your patient leave the ED.

Episode 49 Effective Patient Communication, Patient Centered Care and Patient Satisfaction

If you believe that coping with some of the people we deal with in emergency medicine is difficult or impossible, you’re not alone. We all feel this way from time to time. We all work in stressful environments where it may feel as though we have too little time for effective patient communication, patient centered care and patient satisfaction. You and your patients may often have mismatched views of what’s important. You may have a specific medical agenda and they might have a very different agenda. Then there’s the difficult patient – we all know who these people are – the hostile aggressive patient, the demanding patient, the know-it-all, the excessively anxious patient, and the incessant complainer, among others. If we don’t know how to handle these patients appropriately, they may receive suboptimal care, grind patient flow to a halt, and delay care of other patients. And of course, if the staff has to deal with a multitude of these patients on a given shift, there’s a sort of swarm-based escalation in frustration and sometimes, unfortunately, a total breakdown of effective care. These frustrations don’t only come out when we’re presented with multiple sequential difficult patients, but for some of us, the more we practice, the more we become desensitized to the needs of all of our patients and their families and, we run the risk of destroying the doctor-patient relationship, as well as making most of our patient interactions frustrating, unsatisfying, – even detrimental to our health and the outcomes of our patients. How you communicate in the ED can improve patient outcomes and enhance job satisfaction, yet there is little education on patient centered care for EM practitioners. After listening to this episode, it is my hope that what you learn from the literature and from expert opinion,and then apply to the way you communicate with your patients, will effectively make you a happier health care professional. Dr.Walter Himmel, Dr. Jean Pierre Champagne and RN Ann Shook guide us in this round table discussion on effective patient communication, patient centered care and patient satisfaction – this has evolved my practice into what I perceive as a higher level of personal satisfaction as well as patient care….I hope it will do the same for you.