Symptom control in advanced chronic liver disease: integrating anticipatory palliative and supportive care

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Wright, M.
Woodland, H.
Hudson, B.
Frontline gastroenterology
Journal Article
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
The number of patients coming to hospital with liver disease is increasing. There was a worrying trend before the pandemic, and this has intensified. Despite improvements in the management of patients with advanced cirrhosis many patients will die within 6-12 months of first presentation, and, despite this, the field of palliative and supportive care in liver disease is still in its infancy. This is a narrative review. Evidence is often thin in this field. Where it exists it is cited, but much of the commentary here is based on the authors own experience and readers are free to consider it and debate it. Most patients who die of liver disease receive palliative care very late in their illness (if at all). There are many barriers to supportive and palliative care in liver disease which are discussed. Symptom control is often poor because of these barriers. Before symptomatic control can be established, patients in need of it must to be identified and conversations had about the severity of their situation and what their wishes would be. Interest in palliative and supportive care for patients liver disease is growing as is the number of hepatologists and palliative care clinicians within the UK with an interest. It is important that this enthusiasm and interest can be rolled out and scaled up across the UK so that all patients, wherever they are, can benefit. The aims of these articles are first to highlight and bring into focus the unmet need for palliative and supportive care in liver disease and second to provide suggestions for its integration into liver services. Ask yourself the question: where would I start in my hospital to help these patients?
Frontline Gastroenterol. 2022 Jun 1;13(e1):e109-e115. doi: 10.1136/flgastro-2022-102114. eCollection 2022.
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