Palliative Care: Is Now the Time?
Medicine and Health Sciences
Palliative care is an approach that focuses on optimizing quality of life for patients and families affected by serious illness, regardless of prognosis. It comprises pain and symptom management; psychological, spiritual, and social support; assistance with treatment decision-making; and complex care coordination. Mounting evidence indicates that palliative care reduces symptom burden, improves mood, decreases healthcare utilization, and improves quality of life for both patients with end-stage heart disease and their caregivers. Indeed, there is a consensus among major clinical guidelines of the importance of early integration of palliative care as an essential component of high quality care for patients with heart failure, a growing use of palliative care in patients with end-stage heart disease, and a clear desire of patients for such care.