Palliative care in illnesses other than cancerBMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2528 (Published 06 July 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m2528
- Arno Maetens, head
- Centre of Expertise The Cycle of Care, Karel de Grote University of Applied Sciences, Brusselstraat 45, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium
Palliative care, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life threatening illness through the prevention or relief of suffering’.1 While this definition deliberately broadens the scope to include all patients faced with life threatening illness, few studies have been able to provide convincing evidence suggesting a positive impact of palliative care among adults dying from non-cancer illness, such as chronic organ failure or dementia.
In a linked paper, Quinn and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.m2257) report a population based matched cohort study from Canada that suggests potential benefits of palliative care in some non-cancer illnesses.2 Few high quality randomised controlled trials have been conducted in palliative care, …