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Community and primary care nursing
Initiation of palliative care in the last 6 months of life can reduce the frequency of healthcare use and burdensome interventions for people with both cancer and non-cancer diagnoses
  1. Laura Green
  1. Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University of Manchester, Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Green, Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University of Manchester Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health, Manchester, UK;{at}

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Commentary on: Association between palliative care and healthcare outcomes among adults with terminal non-cancer illness: population-based matched cohort study (2020) Quinn et al, BMJ 370: m2257

Implications for practice and research

  • Palliative care may help reduce the rate of emergency department visits, hospital admissions and intensive care unit admissions in people dying from organ failure.

  • Patterns of healthcare use with and without palliative care input are similar for those with cancer and non-malignant life-limiting conditions.

  • Future research is required into the structure of palliative care provision for people with conditions such as dementia.


People in the last months of life frequently experience increased healthcare interventions. Previous research suggests that many of these hospital admissions are avoidable1 and burdensome.2

Supporting decision-making around appropriate treatments is one of the roles of palliative care. One approach …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.