Palliative care

Definition

Palliative care is the set of medical interventions to alleviate symptoms, most frequently pain, associated with a medical condition. The main goal of palliative care is to reduce and prevent patient suffering. Unlike therapeutics, palliative care does not aim to cure the underlying disease.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    Muscle wasting (sarcopenia) and loss of weight (cachexia) can occur in patients with heart failure. In this Review, von Haehling and colleagues provide an overview of the prevalence and pathophysiological mechanisms of these processes in heart failure, and discuss potential therapeutic strategies, including exercise training, nutritional supplements, and drug treatments.

    • Stephan von Haehling
    • , Nicole Ebner
    • , Marcelo R. dos Santos
    • , Jochen Springer
    •  & Stefan D. Anker
  • Reviews |

    Although no cure exists for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), supportive and symptomatic care can prolong survival and improve quality of life. This Review discusses best strategies to manage symptoms in patients with ALS, including respiratory and nutritional support. Such interventions should involve a specialist multidisciplinary team, and patient should be given an active role in planning of the care.

    • Esther V. Hobson
    •  & Christopher J. McDermott
  • Reviews |

    Cachexia, a syndrome where metabolic demands cannot be met by energy intake, can substantially reduce the quality of life and increase mortality of patients with oesophageal cancer. In this Review, authors describe the causes, and effects of cachexia in these patients throughout the disease trajectory, and during the survivorship period; suggestions are made on how best to manage the effects of, and minimize the occurrence of this syndrome.

    • Poorna Anandavadivelan
    •  & Pernilla Lagergren
  • Reviews |

    The practice of palliative care for patients with cancer is continually improving, and an increasing evidence base indicates that early integration of oncological and palliative care can result in wide-ranging benefits for the patients, their loved ones, clinicians, and health-care payers. Herein, David Hui and Eduardo Bruera discuss optimization of clinical infrastructures, processes, and education to support this strategy, and provide a conceptual model for the integration of supportive and/or palliative care with primary and oncological care. The authors emphasize the need for health-care systems and institutions to tailor integration based on their resources, size, and the level of primary palliative care available.

    • David Hui
    •  & Eduardo Bruera

News and Comment