Timing of Palliative Care


Anchor lead: When is palliative care most effective?
Elizabeth Tracey reports

October 18, 2019 Getting palliative care- a team approach aimed at improving symptoms of chronic disease – didn’t extend life in a large VA study if it was given within 30 days of someone’s death, but did if it was given before that. Tom Smith, director of palliative care at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Smith: They looked at people who got palliative care from 31
days before they died up to 364 days before they died. Those people lived weeks
to months longer than those who didn’t get palliative care. That’s consistent
with the national guidelines from the American Society for Clinical Oncology
which suggest every person with advanced cancer should be seen concurrently by
a palliative care multidisciplinary team within eight weeks of diagnosis and
the National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network guidelines basically say the
same thing.  :31

Smith notes that such an approach involving palliative care
early is known as collaborative care and it really seems to help quality of
life for people with chronic illnesses. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.