In small study, patients and families say earlier referrals are better.

The small study, published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, John Donlan, et al. found that patients (and their caregivers) with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) had limited knowledge — and misperceptions — of palliative care. After the same patients and caregivers then heard a brief description of palliative care, the majority believed that it could help patients with ESLD — and that it should be offered soon after diagnosis to help understand the serious illness and offer needed support.

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