Palliative Care Lags

While heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, relatively few of these patients receive a referral to palliative care focusing on quality of life and value base treatment decisions. Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialize medical care for people living with a serious illness. This type of care is focus on relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

When heart patients are referr to palliative care; so they are typically nearing death and therefore benefit from hospice services gear to end-of-life; hence according to a study lead by Duke Health researchers. Hospice care is a subset of palliative care that is generally provide; so when a patient has about six months left to live, said Haider J. Warraich, M.D., a cardiology fellow at Duke and lead author of the study appearing online Friday in JAMA Network Open.

Palliative care is much broader, focusing on improving quality of life; so easing pain and suffering and assuring that the patients’ treatments going forward are in line with their values and goals,” Warraich said. “There’s a huge gap that patients with heart disease face that has result in them not receiving this type of care.

Palliative care specialist

Warraich and senior author, Arif Kamal, M.D., a palliative care specialist at Duke Cancer Institute; so review referrals to palliative care from a large national database to determine; so when and how often patients with cardiovascular disease were refer to palliative care. The study include more than 1,800 patients with heart disease who had refer to palliative care from 2015-2017.
Of those, about 29% were bed bound, meaning they were in the late stages of disease. By comparison, only about 10% of cancer patients, who are the largest group refer to palliative care, are bed-bound. General medicine physicians increase referrals of heart patients to palliative care; hence from 43.2% in 2015 to 52.9% in 2017.
But the proportion of referrals from cardiologists decline; hence from 16.5% in 2015 to 10.5% in 2017. Our data highlight the enormous potential for increase partnerships between cardiologists and palliative care specialists in providing comprehensive, high-touch, supportive care to all affect by advance heart disease,” Kamal said.