Dr. Amy S. Kelley and Dr. Diane E. Meier, MD of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York wrote an accompanying editorial that said palliative care is "appropriate and potentially beneficial when it is introduced at the time of diagnosis of a serious or life-limiting illness—at the same time as all other appropriate and medical therapies are initiated."
They added that future studies should address the impact of specific components of palliative care to establish evidence to support best practice.
Nonetheless, the results point to the value of a paradigm shift toward earlier implementation of palliative care.
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, reducing patients' misery may help them live longer," Kelley and Meier wrote. "We now have both the means and the knowledge to make palliative care an essential and routine component of evidence-based, high-quality care for the management of serious illness."