The guidelines are aimed at improving the quality of palliative care in the US, ensuring consistently high standards of care and encouraging continuity of care across settings.
Recognising the shared responsibility for palliative care across healthcare settings, the latest revision of the guidelines places an emphasis on collaborative partnerships to ensure quality, continuity and access to palliative care.
The guidelines identify eight areas of care and describe elements of best practice.
The areas are as follows:
- Structure and Processes of Care
- Physical Aspects of Care
- Psychological and Psychiatric Aspects
- Social Aspects of Care
- Spiritual, Religious, and Existential Aspects of Care
- Cultural Aspects of Care
- Care of the Patient at the End of Life
- Ethical and Legal Aspects of Care.
The Clinical Practice Guidelines serve as a manual or blueprint to create new programs and guide developing programmes. Dr Diane Meier, co-leader of the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care was quoted as saying that guidelines are critical in raising the bar to guide the training of professionals and the development of programmes.
The new edition emphasizes the need to deliver palliative care from the time of diagnosis, through an interdisciplinary team.
The guidelines were sponsored by the AAHPM, the Centre to Advance Palliative Care, the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Palliative Care Research Centre.
The guidelines can be downloaded in full from the website of the National Consensus for Palliative Care.