Palliative Care and End-of-Life Considerations for the Frail Patient

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19 Scopus citations


Patients with frailty experience substantial physical and emotional distress related to their condition and face increased morbidity and mortality compared with their nonfrail peers. Palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical specialty focused on improving quality of life for patients with serious illness, including those with frailty, throughout their disease course. Anesthesiology providers will frequently encounter frail patients in the perioperative period and in the intensive care unit (ICU) and can contribute to improving the quality of life for these patients through the provision of palliative care. We highlight the opportunities to incorporate primary palliative care, including basic symptom management and straightforward goals-of-care discussions, provided by the primary clinicians, and when necessary, timely consultation by a specialty palliative care team to assist with complex symptom management and goals-of-care discussions in the face of team and/or family conflict. In this review, we apply the principles of palliative care to patients with frailty and synthesize the evidence regarding methods to integrate palliative care into the perioperative and ICU settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1515
Number of pages12
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


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