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Columbus Dispatch: Palliative Care

Emergency Rooms Seeing Patients With Chronic Conditions

When you are in pain, the first thing you usually want is to make it stop. Often, that involves a trip to the emergency room. That's why many hospitals are adding extra resources to help tackle pain - palliative care teams.

Palliative medicine can help relieve pain, suffering, and stress of a serious illness or medical condition.

Dee'A Ragland is no stranger to the hospital. She would check into the emergency room with various ailments, only to return home and end up back with the same problems.

Months ago, she was introduced to palliative care at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital.

"The pain felt so bad, I thought I was going to die, and for the first time I talked to a doctor and his team who actually wanted to hear what I had to say,” Ragland said to the Columbus Dispatch.

Following that visit in March, Ragland says she learned more about pain management, how to control the pain, and what to do when it starts to flare up again.

“It’s been invaluable. I wouldn’t be sitting here if not for them,” Ragland told reporter Encarnita Pyle.

“Emergency departments have been places where you act now and ask questions later,” said Dr. Charles von Gunten, vice president of medical affairs, hospice and palliative medicine for the OhioHealth system to the Dispatch. “But that’s exactly the wrong thing to do with many of these patients,” he added.

Ragland says better understanding what is happening with her, working with her team, allows her to keep her pain down, and take better care of herself away from the emergency department.

Click here to learn more about OhioHealth Palliative Care Services

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