Clinical care lies at the very heart of palliative care and concerns the optimal management of distressing physical and psychological symptoms of the patient and relief of social, spiritual and existential problems of patients and their family caregivers in order to improve their quality of life. Clinical care is provided at home, in nursing homes, in hospices and hospitals and includes especially vulnerable groups and situations, e.g. at the end of life.
Assessment of patients' and families' palliative care needs is crucial at the beginning of every treatment and during follow-up. Treatment should always follow evidence-based best practice as published in guidelines, systematic reviews and primary research. Interventions need to be assessed using valid and reliable outcome measures, ideally patient-reported outcomes (PROMs), both in clinical care and research.