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How neurologists can integrate palliative care in the intensive care unit (ICU).
In the ICU, neurologists need different types of skill sets, says Neurology Today Editor-in-chief Steven P. Ringel, FAAN. On one hand, they are tasked with saving the life of a critically ill person; and when that is not possible, they need to know how to communicate that to their patient and/or their loved ones. In a video interview, Dr. Ringel and Neurology Today Associate Editor Robert G. Holloway Jr., MD, FAAN, discuss the unique challenges of tending to neurologic patients in the ICU. A critical priority is to take the time to build a relationship with the patient in the ICU and their family, Dr. Holloway says. When discussing the patient's prognosis, avoid references to statistical odds of survival; instead, talk more broadly about what is “likely” or “highly likely” to happen, Dr. Ringel adds. For more discussion about working with patients and their families in the ICU, watch the video on the Neurology Today YouTube channel here: http://bit.ly/NT-palliative-care. For Neurology Today's past coverage of palliative and end-of-life care, go to http://bit.ly/palliative-endoflife.