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Palliative Care

  • By: Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, Joy Goldsmith & Robert West
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Palliative care offers an interdisciplinary approach to managing symptoms and improving quality of life for individuals with serious illness. It is provided simultaneously with all other appropriate medical treatment and thus is not exclusively for dying patients, as is commonly believed. Palliative care is delivered by a physician- or nurse practitioner-led care team, which includes nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and other health professionals. The unit of care is the patient and family (with palliative care often involving family caregiver services).

There are three primary objectives in palliative care: (1) to relieve physical and emotional suffering, (2) to improve patient-clinician communication, and (3) to coordinate care across settings. Effective communication is a vital component of quality palliative care services, making it a likely setting for the ...

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