Background: Heart failure is a common condition with a significant physical and psychological burden for patients and their families. The need for supportive and palliative care: It is well recognised that palliative care is important in patients with advanced heart failure.
What is known: Heart failure patients have limited access to palliative care services. Barriers to palliative care include difficult prognostication due to the unpredictable disease trajectory and inadequate initiation of conversations about end-of-life care. WHAT IS NOT KNOWN: There are gaps in the evidence for symptom control, especially for symptoms other than pain or dyspnoea, but recommendations are becoming increasingly evidence based. IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH, POLICY AND PRACTICE: There are challenges to research in this area although progress is being made with increasing numbers of trials and use of novel research methods. Integrated models of care based on symptom triggers rather than prognosis are recommended. At the centre is excellent communication both with the patient and between services to ensure the best possible care.
Keywords: Heart failure; communication; health services research; palliative care.