In a new study, researchers found that palliative care is important for the recovery and quality of life in people with heart disease.
However, many heart patients do not receive a referral to this care.
The research was done by a team from Duke University.
Palliative care focuses on quality of life and value-based treatment decisions.
Currently, heart patients receive a palliative care referral when they are typically near death and therefore benefit more from hospice services geared to end-of-life.
But in the study, the team found that palliative care can be much broader.
It can help improve quality of life, reduce pain and suffering, and assure that the patients’ treatments going forward.
It can greatly benefit people with heart disease.
In the study, the team reviewed referrals to palliative care from a large national database.
They aimed to see when and how often patients with heart disease received palliative care referrals.
The review included more than 1,800 patients with heart disease who received a referral for palliative care from 2015-2017.
Among the patients, about 30% were bed-bound in the late stages of the disease.
On the contrary, only about 10 percent of cancer patients are bed-bound.
They found that while general medicine physicians increased referrals of heart patients to palliative care, the proportion of referrals from cardiologists declined.
The researchers suggest that cardiologists and palliative care specialists need to work together to provide comprehensive, high-touch, supportive care to all people with advanced heart disease.
The lead author of the study is Haider J. Warraich, a cardiology fellow at Duke University.
The study is published in JAMA Network Open.
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