Palliative Care Criteria

The following criteria have been suggested as considerations for appropriateness for palliative care:

Presence of a serious illness and one or more of the following:

  • New diagnosis of life-limiting illness for symptom control, patient/family support
  • Declining ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Progressive metastatic cancer
  • Admission from long-term care facility (nursing home or assisted living)
  • Two or more hospitalizations for illness within three months
  • Difficult-to-control physical or emotional symptoms
  • Patient, family or physician uncertainty regarding prognosis
  • Patient, family or physician uncertainty regarding appropriateness of treatment options
  • Patient or family requests for futile care
  • DNR order conflicts
  • Conflicts or uncertainty regarding the use of non-oral feeding/hydration in cognitively impaired, seriously ill, or dying patients
  • Limited social support in setting of a serious illness (e.g., homeless, no family or friends, chronic mental illness, overwhelmed family caregivers)
  • Metastatic or locally advanced cancer progressing despite systemic treatments
  • Brain metastases, spinal cord compression, or neoplastic meningitis
  • Malignant hypercalcemia
  • Progressive pleural/peritoneal or pericardial effusions
  • Feeding tube is being considered for any neurological condition
  • ALS or other neuromuscular disease considering mechanical ventilation
  • Any recurrent brain neoplasm
  • Parkinson’s disease with poor functional status or dementia
  • Advanced dementia with dependence in all activities of daily living


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