Can death from chronic life limiting illnesses be predicted?
Palliative care cannot be provided appropriately if patients are not identified as having a life limiting illness. The challenge is to ensure that the people who may die in the foreseeable future are identified so that planning can take place. This study tested the ability of GPs to predict which patients will die within twelve months, with and without clinical guidelines. Results showed that the screening tool was better at predicting actual death than intuition, but with a higher false positive rate. Both were similarly effective at screening the whole cohort for death. Screening for possible death is not the best option for initiating end-of-life planning: recognising increased burden of illness might be a better trigger.