Background: Almost every otorhinolaryngologist will be confronted with patients in need of palliative care. The development of comprehensive cancer centers in Germany strengthens the cooperation between otorhinolaryngologists and palliative care specialists for the benefit of patients with head and neck cancer.
Objective: The present article provides an overview on palliative care in order to support otorhinolaryngologists in conscious end-of-life decision making and symptom management for head and neck cancer patients.
Materials and methods: A search of the contemporary medical scientific literature was conducted in PubMed and on the websites of relevant specialist societies.
Results: Different palliative care institutions are introduced and a general overview on palliative care is given. Possible practical solutions for management of typical palliative symptoms (dyspnea, pain, bleeding), negotiation (setting, perception, invitation, knowledge, emotions, and strategy/summary, SPIKES, model), and advanced care planning (living will, patient's free will, medical indication) are discussed.
Conclusion: Collaboration of otorhinolaryngologists and palliative care specialists has the potential to further increase quality of life and survival of patients with oncological head and neck diseases.
Keywords: Advance care planning; Bleeding; Dyspnea; Head and neck cancer; Palliative care.