End of life care services for patients with heart failure
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End of life care services for patients with heart failure

Louise A Charnock Palliative clinical nurse specialist, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust Southport

Heart failure has high incidence and prevalence in the UK. However, access to palliative care services for patients with heart failure is inequitable. Patients with heart failure often do not receive specialist palliative care at the end of life, or referral is made only in the last days of life. This results in lost opportunities for advance care planning, psychological support for patients and families and symptom management. Prognostic tools are useful in ensuring appropriate referral. However, the controversy regarding the Liverpool Care Pathway has created uncertainty for healthcare professionals, patients and families. This article examines palliative care and end of life care services for patients with heart failure. It presents the case for service development and examines the benefits for patients who traditionally may not have had access to this care.

Nursing Standard. 28, 51, 35-41. doi: 10.7748/ns.28.51.35.e8669

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 09 December 2013

Accepted: 30 April 2013

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