Family history has a role, but who should be responsible for exploring and recording it?
The increasing age, number and comorbidities of hospital inpatients has increased the load on emergency departments and necessitated significant redesign, including the introduction of short-stay and medical assessment units. These units are diverse in their casemix, but common factors include higher acuity of illness and expedited discharge. Obtaining a complete history of a patient’s acute illness and longstanding comorbidities, as well as his or her social and psychological issues, represents the ideal standard of care. Obviously, however, there are tensions between providing holistic care and continuity of care to the patient and achieving the rapid turnover required in such units.
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