Improving palliative care with Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Komal Valliani, Aga Khan University


Background: Advanced cardiac diseases causes a person to face issues concerning the meaning of life, death and an uncertain future. It can be challenging to improve the quality of life of those who are living with a terminal illness. For patients with a compromised cardiovascular health state, implementing a palliative care framework could play a key role in alleviating suffering and grief. This article aims to apply a modified version of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs to provide effective palliative care to patients with cardiac conditions.
Methods: A narrative review was conducted using PubMed, ScienceDirect and Google scholar search engines to extract relevant literature and evidence-based practices.
Results: Maslow's hierarchy of needs can also be adapted to palliative care of patients with terminal cardiac illnesses. Priority should be given to low hierarchical stages, leading to the highest physical symptoms management, personal and social security, acceptance and love during illness, restoration of self-esteem, and self-actualisation and transcendence.
Conclusions: Advanced cardiac diseases have long-term effects on a patient's life. The challenge is to provide holistic care to meet the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of vulnerable patients through the use of appropriate palliative care plans. A modified version of Maslow's hierarchy of needs in palliative care for cardiovascular diseases could be effectively applied for the assessment of patients' requirements and the planning of interventions to achieve aims that initiate wellbeing and potentially cover the experience of transcendence.