The latest issue of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension focuses on palliative care as an integral component of treating people with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Many people have the misconception that palliative care relates solely to hospice care, which is end of life care and only one part of palliative care. Palliative care, named from the “palliation of symptoms and pain” is appropriate at any stage of chronic or serious illness and focuses on a patient’s quality of life through treatment of symptoms, discomfort, side effects and stress. The article “Pulmonary Hypertension Roundtable: Palliative Care and Pulmonary Hypertension” in this issue is a wide-ranging conversation about the role and status of palliative care for people with PH. Guest editors were Christopher Barnett, M.D., MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Hunter Groninger, M.D., MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and roundtable participants: Keith Swetz, M.D., University of Alabama School of Medicine and Birmingham, Alabama VA Medical Center; Donna Hershey, R.N., Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C., and person with PH; and Anne Kinderman, M.D., University of California, San Francisco and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
“I think the important thing to say about palliative care is, some people don’t even know what palliative care is,” said Ms. Hershey during the roundtable. “I think the best quick answer is, ‘It’s trying to make every day the best it can be.’”