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Principles of Palliative Care


Key Clinical Questions

  • image What are the primary palliative care skills that every hospitalist should know?

  • image What is specialty palliative care and how does it differ from hospice?

  • image How do you identify patients in need of a palliative care assessment in a hospital setting?

Palliative care focuses on effective management of pain and other distressing symptoms, and integrates psychosocial and spiritual care by considering a patient’s and family’s needs, preferences, values, beliefs, and culture (see Table 214-1). The palliative care approach works to improve quality of life for the patient and family by reducing a patient’s symptom burden, providing clear communication about what to expect in the future, and aligning realistic treatment options with patient- and family-determined goals of care (see Table 214-2).

TABLE 214-1Palliative Care Services
TABLE 214-2Areas of Palliative Care

Unlike hospice, which requires that a physician endorse a 6-month prognosis in order for a patient to qualify for hospice services, palliative care (sometime referred to as supportive care), is provided in conjunction with curative treatment ...

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