The rapid code status conversation guide for seriously ill older adults in acute respiratory failure
You are working a shift in your emergency department (ED) when an 85 year old female presents with a complaint of altered mental status. She comes from an extended care facility, where paramedics are able to tell you “they called us to come get her,”you are handed a stack of paperwork, given some vital signs, and you notice the patient is altered and unable to provide any further history. You dig a little in the paperwork and note a history of dementia as well as a long list of other medical problems, you notice no known advanced directive, and see that her daughter lives out of state but is available via phone. Have you been here? Seen this patient? If you have worked in emergency medicine long enough you certainly have. The tool outlined below is designed to help you know what to do in these difficult situations.