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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 06

Healthcare (Basel)



Caring for Patients in Need of Palliative Care: Is This a Mission for Acute Care Hospitals? Key Questions for Healthcare Professionals.


The prevalence of patients affected by end-stage diseases or advanced cancer is increasing due to an aging population and progression in medicine and public healthcare. The burden of symptoms these people suffer in the last months of life often forces them to seek aid in an emergency department. In developed countries, acute care hospital-based services are often better designed to treat acute clinical conditions than to manage the needs of patients with serious chronic diseases. Thus, the palliative care (PC) population poses very real clinical challenges to healthcare professionals who care for them in hospital settings. The authors have formulated four key questions (who, why, when, and how) to address in order to identify a model for providing the best care for these PC patients. The questions are related to: (1) defining people living with serious chronic diseases; (2) managing the challenge of unplanned hospital admission of these people; (3) identifying PC patients among people with serious chronic diseases; and (4) determining the appropriate work of caring for this inpatient PC population. Clinicians need the knowledge, tools, and services to care for these PC patients, and acute care hospitals should plan the work of caring for these inpatients.