Primary palliative care for heart failure: what is it? How do we implement it?

Laura P. Gelfman, Dio Kavalieratos, Winifred G. Teuteberg, Anuradha Lala, Nathan E. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) is a chronic and progressive illness, which affects a growing number of adults, and is associated with a high morbidity and mortality, as well as significant physical and psychological symptom burden on both patients with HF and their families. Palliative care is the multidisciplinary specialty focused on optimizing quality of life and reducing suffering for patients and families facing serious illness, regardless of prognosis. Palliative care can be delivered as (1) specialist palliative care in which a palliative care specialist with subspecialty palliative care training consults or co-manages patients to address palliative needs alongside clinicians who manage the underlying illness or (2) as primary palliative care in which the primary clinician (such as the internist, cardiologist, cardiology nurse, or HF specialist) caring for the patient with HF provides the essential palliative domains. In this paper, we describe the key domains of primary palliative care for patients with HF and offer some specific ways in which primary palliative care and specialist palliative care can be offered in this population. Although there is little research on HF primary palliative care, primary palliative care in HF offers a key opportunity to ensure that this population receives high-quality palliative care in spite of the growing numbers of patients with HF as well as the limited number of specialist palliative care providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Heart failure
  • Palliative care


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