The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is committed to the belief that palliative care is a right of every patient. Palliative care is defined as “patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitating patient autonomy, access to information, and choice” (National Quality Forum, 2006, p. 3).
NHPCO’s Call to Action for Palliative Care in Critical Care Settings states:
- All eligible patients should have access to palliative care services.
- Every critical care health care provider should review the National Consensus Project/National Quality Forum (NCP/NQF) guidelines for palliative care and hospice.
- Every health care system should adopt the preferred practices as they apply in the critical care setting.
- Every critical care health care provider should be educated in the principles of palliative care.
- Current evidence based practices related to palliative care should be used in the treatment of patients.
- Palliative care services within critical care must be evaluated using an accepted continuous quality improvement methodology.
Download a PDF of the full position statement – Access to Palliative Care in Critical Care Settings A Call to Action – on the NHPCO website.