DEFINITION OF PALLIATIVE CARE a,c
Palliative care is a special kind of patient- and family-centered health care that focuses on effective management of pain and other distressing
symptoms, while incorporating psychosocial and spiritual care according to patient/family needs, values, beliefs, and cultures. The goal of
palliative care is to anticipate, prevent, and reduce suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families,
regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. Palliative care begins at diagnosis and should be delivered concurrently
with disease-directed, life-prolonging therapies and should facilitate patient autonomy, access to information, and choice. Palliative care
becomes the main focus of care when disease-directed, life-prolonging therapies are no longer effective, appropriate, or desired. Palliative
care should be initiated by the primary oncology team and then augmented by collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of palliative care
STANDARDS OF PALLIATIVE CARE b,c
• Institutions should develop processes for integrating palliative care into cancer care, both as part of usual oncology care and for patients
with specialty palliative care needs.
• All cancer patients should be screened for palliative care needs at their initial visit, at appropriate intervals, and as clinically indicated.
• Patients and families should be informed that palliative care is an integral part of their comprehensive cancer care.
• Educational programs should be provided to all health care professionals and trainees so that they can develop effective palliative care
knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
• Palliative care specialists and interdisciplinary palliative care teams, including board-certified palliative care physicians, advanced practice
nurses, physician assistants, social workers, chaplains, and pharmacists, should be readily available to provide consultative or direct care
to patients/families who request or require their expertise.
• Quality of palliative care should be monitored by institutional quality improvement programs.