Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines (NCCN, 2021)

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

These are some of the highlights of the guidelines without analysis or commentary. For more information, go directly to the guidelines by clicking the link in the reference.

August 09, 2021

Clinical practice guidelines on palliative care in oncology were published in July 2021 by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network: JNCCN.[1]

According to the NCCN, the focus of palliative care is the optimal management of distressing symptoms, in addition to patient-centered psychosocial and spiritual care. Specific recommendations include the following:

  • Patients and their families and caregivers should be told that palliative care is an essential component of comprehensive cancer care

  • All patients with cancer should be repeatedly screened for palliative care needs, beginning with their initial diagnosis and thereafter at intervals as clinically indicated

  • The primary oncology team should initiate palliative care, which is then augmented by collaboration with palliative care experts

  • An interdisciplinary team of palliative care specialists should be available to provide consultation or direct care to patients and/or families as requested or needed

  • All health care professionals should receive education and training to develop palliative care knowledge, skills, and attitudes

  • Institutional quality improvement programs should monitor the quality of palliative care

For more information, please go to Palliative Care of the Patient With Advanced Gynecologic Cancer.

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