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Subspecialty Careers: Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Subspecialty Careers: Hospice and Palliative Medicine

The Discipline

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 focused toward patients facing a terminal diagnosis who no longer wish to undergo curative treatment and seeks to relieve symptoms and support patients in the end-of-life stages. Hospice care is one component of palliative care which is also appropriate for patients with any life-changing serious medical illness, even if not terminal.


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.

Training Positions

For the 2013-2014 academic year, there are 92 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in Hospice and Palliative Medicine with 207 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.

Major Professional Society

Major Publications