Palliative care would benefit patients with cirrhosis
SAN ANTONIO – Though 72% of patients with cirrhosis report poor quality of life, only a third receive referral to palliative care, according to an expert at the National Liver Conference 2019.
“Hepatology could benefit from a culture change relative to liver care coordination and palliative care,” Bruce A. Runyon, MD, FAASLD, special hepatology consultant to the Indian Health Services, said during his presentation.
Coordinating care for end-stage liver disease patients can improve survival and reduce costs along with in-hospital deaths while helping caregivers, 40% of whom are burnt out, he added.
“There is a lack of palliative care referral in academic centers,” he said. “Why not involve them in the care of your patients?”
Runyon said that palliative care should be considered a continuity of care for any patient with cirrhosis, but only 32% of hepatologists use inpatient palliative care and only 11% use outpatient palliative care. Yet there are centers like in San Diego that have liver-specific palliative care centers.
“Why not refer early?” he asked the audience. “If you refer them, you can punt the difficult conversation to palliative care. They do this all day every day and are very good at it.” – by Katrina Altersitz
Reference: Runyon BA. Continuum of Care of the Patient with Cirrhosis. Presented at: National Liver Conference; Oct. 25; San Antonio.
Disclosures: Runyon reports no relevant financial disclosures.