The National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care, the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM; formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) note that palliative care1-4 can be provided regardless of the diagnosis or the age of the patient and at any stage in a serious illness.1-3 It may be provided with curative treatment and may begin early in the course of a serious illness. A 2015 NAM consensus recommends early integration of palliative care after the diagnosis of a serious illness, which can be provided simultaneously with curative or disease-modifying treatments.2
Demands for palliative care have increased and will likely continue to grow as the U.S. population gets older5 and the number of Americans over the age of 85 is expected to double to 14.1 million by 2040.6 Patients with a serious or chronic illness experience high symptom burden such as physical pain, depression, and fatigue7-9 and are likely to benefit from palliative care services.1-4 The CAPC notes that patients with many different types of serious or chronic illnesses can receive palliative care.10 These include, but are not limited to: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, bone marrow transplant, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, dementia, eosinophil-associated disease, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, kidney disease, leukemia and lymphoma, liver disease, multiple myeloma, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, pulmonary fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, stroke.
- National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care. Clinical practice guidelines for quality palliative care, 4th edition. Richmond, VA: National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care; 2018. https://www.nationalcoalitionhpc.org/ncp.
- IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2014. Dying in America: Improving quality and honoring individual preferences near the end of life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Elizabeth, H, McInturff, B. 2011 Public opinion research on palliative care. Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) with support from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). 2011. https://media.capc.org/filer_public/18/ab/18ab708c-f835-4380-921d-fbf729702e36/2011-public-opinion-research-on-palliative-care.pdf. Accessed Dec 26, 2018.
- World Health Organization. 2018. WHO definition of palliative care. https://www.who.int/cancer/palliative/definition/en/. Accessed Dec 26, 2018.
- Hughes MT, Smith TJ. The growth of palliative care in the United States. Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:459-475.
- Population estimates and 2012 national projections. U.S. Census Bureau, 2012.
- Walke LM, Gallo WT, Tinetti ME, Fried TR. The burden of symptoms among community-dwelling older persons with advanced chronic disease. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(21):2321-2324.
- Moens K, Higginson IJ, Harding R. Are there differences in the prevalence of palliative care-related problems in people living with advanced cancer and eight non-cancer conditions? A systematic review. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2014;48(4):660-677.
- Eckerblad J, Theander K, Ekdahl A, et al. Symptom burden in community-dwelling older people with multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study. BMC Geriatr. 2015;15:1.
- Center to Advance Palliative Care. Disease types and palliative care. https://getpalliativecare.org/whatis/disease-types/. Accessed Apr 5, 2019.