Palliative Care in Solid Organ Transplantation

Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN


December 08, 2015

Is the Time Right for Palliative Care?

Increasingly, the staff of organ transplantation services are recognizing the many benefits of collaborating with palliative care services, for both patients who will and will not receive transplantation. It is not appropriate to delay the palliative care consultation while the patient is still on the organ waiting list. Delays in referral often result in suboptimal management of symptoms and involvement of many supportive care services.

It would also not be appropriate to ask the palliative care provider to avoid discussing prognosis. Honest communication between patient and professionals is always essential to patient-centered care. It will be important for the palliative care and transplantation teams to communicate so that consistent information is provided about her disease, prognosis, and goals of care.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of Clare's disease or if she receives a transplant, she is likely to be a good candidate for palliative care support. The correct response to the resident's query is to initiate a palliative care consultation at the present time for management of the patient's quality-of-life concerns, symptoms, and goals of care.


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