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Palliative Care

Palliative care prioritizes symptom management and quality of life throughout the course of serious illness. Regardless of whether care is inpatient or outpatient, primary or subspecialty, a solid understanding of the basics of effective communication, symptom management, and end-of-life care is crucial. This article reviews these essentials and provides an overview of current evidence to support patient-centered palliative care.

Palliative care (PC) focuses on improving quality of life and alleviating symptoms in patients with serious illness—that is, conditions that are chronic, incurable, and associated with high morbidity. However, it does not necessarily denote absence of treatment options or limited prognosis (e.g., near the end of life [EOL]) (1). PC addresses the physical, mental, spiritual, and social distress caused by serious illness to maintain hope, ensure dignity, and respect the autonomy of patients and families.

About Annals in the Clinic

Annals In the Clinic is a monthly feature in Annals of Internal Medicine introduced in January 2007 that focuses on practical management of patients with common clinical conditions. It offers evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about screening, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, and patient education and provides physicians with tools to improve the quality of care.



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Annals in the Clinic