Palliative care and interstitial lung disease

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Abstract

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.

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