Identifying patients in need of a palliative care assessment in the hospital setting: a consensus report from the Center to Advance Palliative Care

J Palliat Med. 2011 Jan;14(1):17-23. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0347. Epub 2010 Dec 6.


Workforce shortages, late referrals, and palliative care program resource constraints present significant barriers to meeting the needs of hospitalized patients facing serious illnesses. The Center to Advance Palliative Care convened a consensus panel to select criteria by which patients at high risk for unmet palliative care needs can be identified in advance for a palliative care screening assessment. The consensus panel developed primary and secondary criteria for two checklists-one to use for screening at the time of admission and one for daily patient rounds. The consensus panel believes that by implementing a checklist approach to screening patients for unmet palliative care needs, combined with educational initiatives and other system-change work, hospital staff engaged in day-to-day patient care can identify a majority of such needs, reserving specialty palliative care services for more complex problems.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist
  • Consensus*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Palliative Care*