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Palliative care and interstitial lung disease

Bajwah, Sabrinaa; Yorke, Janelleb

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2017 - Volume 11 - Issue 3 - p 141–146
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000285
RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS: Edited by David C. Currow and Miriam J. Johnson

Purpose of review The palliative care needs of people with interstitial lung disease (ILD) have recently been highlighted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All people with progressive ILD should receive best supportive care to improve symptom control and quality of life and where possible this should be evidence based.

Recent findings Deaths from ILD are increasing and deaths in hospital are more common compared to home. People with ILD experience a wide range of symptoms including breathlessness and cough. People living with ILD often suffer unmet physical and psychological needs throughout the disease journey. Few appropriately validated outcome measures exist for ILD which has hampered research on the longitudinal experience of symptoms and quality of life and the evaluation of interventions. Recent recommendations from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence promote the use of a new palliative care needs assessment tool. Use of a tool in busy respiratory clinics may help to highlight those requiring specialist input.

Summary Further research into the role of opioids, oxygen and neuromodulatory agents in symptom management are needed. In addition, exploration of breathlessness and case conference interventions in transitioning patients from the hospital to community settings is a priority. Further work is needed to identify a core set of validated ILD-specific patient-reported outcome measures for the robust evaluation of interventions.

aCicely Saunders Institute, King's College London and King's College NHS Foundation Trust

bSchool of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Correspondence to Sabrina Bajwah, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College London, Bessemer Road, SE5 9PJ London, UK. Tel: +44 207 848 5826; e-mail:

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