Integrated care pathways (i.e., the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient) are recommended as an educational and quality assurance instrument to improve care of dying patients in settings that are not
specialized in palliative care.
In some non-specialist services (i.e., radiology, radiotherapy, surgery), limited resources may lead to the implementation of waiting lists. These waiting lists are particularly disadvantageous for palliative care patients because of the limited remaining lifespan in which they could benefit from the service.
Therefore, fast-tracking pathways have been suggested to give priority access to palliative care patients. Considering the reduced life expectancy of palliative care patients, fast-tracking care pathways should be implemented in medical services, ensuring adequate priority for these patients, to prevent disproportional burden from lost time.
Radbruch L, Payne S and the Board of Directors of the EAPC. EAPC update. White Paper on standards and norms for hospice and palliative care in Europe: part 2. European Journal of Palliative Care, 2009; 16(6).