Objective: To develop clinical practice guidelines for application of palliative care consultation, quality-of-life measurements, and appropriate bereavement activities for patients with lung cancer.
Methods: To review the pertinent medical literature on palliative care consultation, quality-of-life measurements, and bereavement for patients with lung cancer, developing multidisciplinary discussions with authorities in these areas, and evolving written guidelines for end-of-life care of these patients.
Results: Palliative care consultation has developed into a new specialty with credentialing of experts in this field based on extensive experience with patients in end-of-life circumstances including those with lung cancer. Bereavement studies of the physical and emotional morbidity of family members and caregivers before, during, and after the death of a cancer patient have supported truthful communication, consideration of psychological problems, effective palliative care, understanding of the patient’s spiritual and cultural background, and sufficient forewarning of impending death.
Conclusion: Multidisciplinary investigations and experiences, with emphasis on consultation and delivery of palliative care, timely use of quality-of-life measurements for morbidities of treatment modalities and prognosis, and an understanding of the multifaceted complexities of the bereavement process, have clarified additional responsibilities of the attending physician.