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Palliative care and management of troublesome symptoms for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Matthew Maddocks, Natasha Lovell, Sara Booth, William D.C. Man, Irene J. Higginson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-1002
Number of pages15
JournalLancet
Volume390
Issue number10098
Early online date31 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2017

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Abstract

People with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have distressing physical and psychological symptoms, often have limited understanding of their disease, and infrequently discuss end-of-life issues in routine clinical care. These are strong indicators for expert multidisciplinary palliative care, which incorporates assessment and management of symptoms and concerns, patient and caregiver education, and sensitive communication to elicit preferences for care towards the end of life. The unpredictable course of COPD and the difficulty of predicting survival are barriers to timely referral and receipt of palliative care. Early integration of palliative care with respiratory, primary care, and rehabilitation services, with referral on the basis of the complexity of symptoms and concerns, rather than prognosis, can improve patient and caregiver outcomes. Models of integrated working in COPD could include: services triggered by troublesome symptoms such as refractory breathlessness; short-term palliative care; and, in settings with limited access to palliative care, consultation only in specific circumstances or for the most complex patients.

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