The integration of palliative care (PC) in standard oncological care (SOC) has become ‘state-of-the art’. Its benefits have increasingly been appreciated and extensively studied, and guidelines have been developed to achieve this goal. However, an integrated, patient-centred approach also implies detecting patients care needs at an earlier stage and defining PC in a different way, i.e. based on care needs instead of life expectancy only. The ‘Palliative Care Indicator Tool’ PICT is instrumental in identifying the palliative patient and distinguishing different levels of needs in the palliative population. The status of ‘palliative patient’, access to PC benefits and facilities and the organisation and reimbursement of PC services should be based on care needs instead of life expectancy. Palliative care for every palliative patient requires an educated workforce, particularly with regard to communication skills, and the presence of a multidisciplinary team. Discussing goals of care (GoC), advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life decisions (ELD) should be the basis for ‘negotiated care’.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2021;15(6):315-20)