Palliative care during and following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to synthesize recent literature regarding the provision of palliative care to patients during and following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), highlighting factors which mediate impairments in health-related quality of life in this patient population, and the intervention approaches and models of care delivery that clinicians can consider to address unmet needs for palliative care and to strengthen patient and family resiliency.

Recent findings

Provision of palliative care simultaneous with the delivery of treatment directed at the underlying malignancy has emerged as a recommended practice for patients with advanced cancer and high-symptom burden, and a recent randomized trial demonstrates the effectiveness of early palliative care in reducing some of the symptom burden and mood disturbances associated with HSCT. Although more research is needed, there is an expanding body of research-tested interventions to ameliorate the physical and psychological morbidity of HSCT across the transplant trajectory.

Summary

Palliative care interventions delivered by an interdisciplinary team that includes transplant clinicians and palliative care across the HSCT trajectory can alleviate physical and psychological morbidity, thereby improving the patient and family experience of HSCT.

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