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The epidemiology of death and symptoms: planning for population-based palliative care 

The epidemiology of death and symptoms: planning for population-based palliative care
Chapter:
The epidemiology of death and symptoms: planning for population-based palliative care
Author(s):

Megan B. Sands

, Dianne L. O’Connell

, Michael Piza

, and Jane M. Ingham

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0006
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date: 07 May 2021

Despite the advances of modern medicine, many illnesses continue to evade cure. Chronic, progressive, incurable illness is a major cause of disability, distress, suffering, and, ultimately, death. This is true for many causes of cancer, progressive neurological disorders, AIDS, and other disorders of vital organs. Progressive chronic diseases of this ilk are most common in late adulthood and old age, but they occur in all ages. When cure is not possible, as often it is not, the relief of suffering is the cardinal goal of medicine. The clinical imperative to relive suffering requires a nuanced understanding of the factors that contribute to suffering and the interaction between the distress of the patient, family members, and health-care providers. This chapter reviews those concepts and offers an approach to the evaluation of suffering for patients requiring palliative care.

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