In 2004, Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care were released by the National Consensus Project. The guidelines were a response to the need for creating efficient, effective and compassionate care for patients and families facing life-threatening illness. The guidelines were intended to ensure quality care by establishing a standard for existing programs as well as encouraging the continued development and expansion of palliative care in the healthcare system.
The guidelines include eight domains: Structure and Process of Care, Physical Needs, Psychological and Psychiatric, Social, Spiritual/Religious and Existential, Cultural, the Imminently Dying Patient and Ethics and Law. The complete guidelines are available on the National Consensus Project Web site.