To palliate means to relieve suffering. However, the public—and even clinicians—often confuse palliation with hospice care and believe that palliative care is restricted solely to the last hours, days, or weeks of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, “palliative care focuses on improving a patient's quality of life by managing pain and other distressing symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care should be provided along with other medical treatments; Hospice is palliative care for patients in their last year of life.”
1Palliative care typically focuses on one of three core areas: advance care planning, pain and symptom management, and psychosocial support.
American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
What is hospice and palliative care? 2020.
What is hospice and palliative care? 2020.
2This editorial will discuss palliative care with a focus on the important findings presented in the February 2021 issue of JAMDA, and predominantly on the narrow issues surrounding palliative care in the last few years of life.
- Buss M.K.
- Rock L.K.
- McCarthy E.P.
Understanding palliative care and hospice: A review for primary care providers.
Mayo Clin Proc. 2017; 92: 280-286
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- What is hospice and palliative care? 2020.(Available at:)
- Understanding palliative care and hospice: A review for primary care providers.Mayo Clin Proc. 2017; 92: 280-286
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Published online: December 27, 2020
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
© 2021 AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.