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Clinical Practice of Palliative Care 

Clinical Practice of Palliative Care
Chapter:
Clinical Practice of Palliative Care
Author(s):

Robert C. Macauley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199313945.003.0018
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date: 17 January 2020

Communication, cultural sensitivity, and respect for spirituality undergird the practice of palliative care. Clinicians must appreciate the nuance of communicating complex diagnoses and often grim prognoses and know how to respond when patients express a desire to not be fully informed (or their family demands that they not be). Across cultures there is significant variation in how prognosis is communicated, who makes decisions for a patient, and attitudes toward end-of-life care. Many patients and families also rely on their religious or spiritual beliefs in making medical decisions, and expectation of a “miracle” and perceived religious “mandates” for continued treatment demand spiritually-nuanced responses.

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