Palliative medicine aims to relieve symptoms and pain a patient suffers due to a serious illness. Goals of palliative care include reducing suffering, improving the quality of life for a patient, and supporting the patient and family throughout the treatment process.
Hospice care is provided for patients facing a terminal diagnosis who no longer wish to undergo curative treatment. Goals of hospice care include relieving symptoms and supporting patients in the end-of-life stages.
Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship training requires an additional year of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency in a Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship training program.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, there are 108 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in Hospice and Palliative Medicine with 263 active positions.
The American Board of Medical Specialties approved the creation of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) as a sub-specialty of ten participating boards in September 2006. The American Board of Internal Medicine is one of these boards. The first certification exam was held in October 2008, and is offered every other year.