Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2020 Dec;23(4):252-255. 10.14475/kjhpc.2020.23.4.252.

Barriers to Early Palliative Care

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Chungnam National University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea


This article aims to discuss the barriers hindering cancer patients from receiving early palliative care, which has been demonstrated to be more effective in improving quality of life and controlling symptoms. Specifically, there are barriers in four aspects of delivering early palliative care. First, the difficulty of starting discussions about early palliative care and the lack of adequate appointment time can impede communication between oncologists and patients and their family members. Second, determining the timing of referral and deciding upon and applying a standard for referral can be barriers in the process of referral from oncology to palliative care. Third, palliative care patients and their family members can face difficulties regarding in what format and by whom the services will be delivered. Fourth, biases, misinformation, and inaccurate beliefs can be barriers in the process of patients and their family members accepting care. In order to facilitate early palliative care, research and policy regarding these barriers are necessary, along with efforts made by medical staff.


Palliative care; Early medical intervention; Health services accessibility; Communication; Neoplasms
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