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Palliative medicine 

Palliative medicine
Chapter:
Palliative medicine
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199681907.003.0027
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date: 23 October 2019

The chapter underlines the importance of early involvement of the palliative care team to help patients to live better and longer. Palliative care is a multidisciplinary specialty and the role of community and inpatient nursing staff, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and the bereavement, chaplaincy, and medical teams are discussed. The chapter also covers where palliative care is delivered, which can be at home as well as in a hospice or a hospital. Advice is given on where and when medical students can learn the most from the palliative care team, from listening to one of the palliative care consultants take a history to observing the palliative care team prescribing anticipatory medications for the dying patient. Symptom control, including pain, nausea and vomiting, anorexia, constipation, diarrhoea, and breathlessness are also discussed. The chapter focuses not only on the patient and her/his psychological and spiritual needs but also on family members and carers who might also have their own needs. The chapter underlines the importance of communication skills in palliative care and how medical students should observe carefully in either the hospice or in hospital to learn from interactions that are difficult as well as the ones that go well.

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