The World Health Organization defines palliative care as “an approach to care that improves quality of life of patients facing life-threatening illness and their families, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.”1 In contemporary discussions of healthcare, the topics of “palliative care” and “end-of-life care” are prominent. Although palliative medicine specialists have become more widely available for consultation, the care of seriously ill and dying patients is central to the entire practice of medicine, including surgery. However, fear of treating patients at end of life is experienced by many healthcare providers. Providers are generally not formally prepared to manage dying as a normal process. Caring for this population entails complex decisions that may seem to contradict the intent to cure. However, it is recognized that the essential goal of medicine is to relieve suffering, and that caring well for these patients and their families can be a hopeful and healing process.
KeywordsPalliative Care Advance Care Planning Palliative Intent Integrate Palliative Care Surgical Textbook
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