Palliative care for people with COPD: we need to meet the challenge.
The need to extend the palliative care approach to people dying with a wide range of chronic diseases is increasingly recognised. Whilst of relevance internationally, this topic is particularly timely in the UK as the General Medical Services contract will reward practices that create a register of patients "in need of palliative/supportive care". Difficulty predicting prognosis can lead to uncertainty about which patients with COPD to include in a register, potentially reducing the impact of this initiative. In this Discussion paper we highlight this challenge, and offer some practical strategies to help clinicians recognise these patients.