end-of-life care


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end-of-life care

multidimensional and multidisciplinary physical, emotional, and spiritual care of the patient with terminal illness, including support of family and caregivers.

End-of-life care has received increasing attention in recent years. The pioneering studies of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross on death and dying, begun in the the 1960s, have afforded valuable insights into the evolving emotions, experiences, and needs of the dying person. Health care professionals have formally recognized the importance of rendering humane and competent care at the end of life in ways that preserve the dignity and autonomy of the patient. Physicians, particularly oncologists, who treat patients with terminal illness have focused on the need to distinguish clearly between aggressive and palliative forms of treatment and to establish guidelines for the care of patients for whom further cure-oriented treatment will be of no benefit. In particular, they have recognized the importance of providing adequate pain relief to patients with advanced cancer. Increased attention has also been given to the control of fatigue, anorexia, cachexia, nausea, vomiting, and dyspnea, which often occur in terminal illness. Studies have shown that pain relief in terminal patients is often inadequate because physicians are afraid of inducing narcotic addiction or of being accused of hastening death. Wider use of opioid analgesics and development of patient-controlled analgesia and anesthesia systems have improved control of pain in terminal cancer and AIDS. Professional nurses have embraced the obligation to provide relief of suffering, comfort, companionship, and, when possible, a death that is congruent with the dying person's wishes. The hospice movement has established programs and facilities within the organized health care system that focus on the special needs of dying patients for comfort and care rather than efforts at cure. These programs include support of caregivers and family members during and after the patients' final illness. There is general ethical consensus that the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments in terminal illness is not euthanasia but rather a decision to allow the disease to follow its natural course. End-of-life care emphasizes the importance of frank, timely, supportive discussion of such matters as preferences for life-extending care, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, artificial hydration and nutrition, renal dialysis, and surgery before decisions about the use of such measures become necessary. Legislatures have sought to preserve the dignity and independence of people nearing the end of life by allowing them to enact advance directives for their care in the event that they become incompetent or comatose. The integrity of the relationship between patients and health professionals has been threatened by growing social and legal toleration of physician-assisted suicide. The American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have issued official position statements opposing assisted suicide. see also advance directive, physician-assisted suicide, living will.

end-of-life care

n.
The network of medical and support services, including palliative care, hospice, psychological counseling, and legal assistance, provided to individuals in the last stages of a terminal illness.

end-of-life care

(end līf kār)
Multidimensional and multidisciplinary physical, emotional, and spiritual care of the patient with terminal illness, including support of family and caregivers.

end-of-life care

Supportive care for the dying. Such care includes invasive interventions such as advanced cardiac life support, or supportive interventions, such as educational, emotional, physical, or social assistance to the terminally ill and their families and significant others.
See also: care
References in periodicals archive ?
Houston Hospice, a nonprofit organization, has been providing end-of-life care to Houston and surrounding communities since 1980.
VITAS provides quality, compassionate end-of-life care for adult and pediatric patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses, including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and AIDS.
They are truly passionate about end-of-life care and are determined to make a difference in the lives they touch.
In addition to its work on behalf of end-of-life care in the U.
Wonders & Worries -- $25,000 for its family psychosocial support program for end-of-life care.
He was one of three co-editors of 20 Common Problems in End-of-Life Care, the definitive text on hospice and palliative medicine on which 19 VITAS experts collaborated.
The 2006 program focuses on supporting philanthropic initiatives that target depression, childhood health (oral health and obesity, including diabetes) and end-of-life care.
Using a $125,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, 10 local nursing facilities, physicians, and the Rand Center to Improve Care of the Dying, helped area facilities developed programs to help improve end-of-life care.
The Women's Development Institute International received a $35,000 grant to support its end-of-life care awareness program for the Asian-American community around Abington, Pa.
MINNEAPOLIS -- MINNEAPOLIS, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Medical Alley, the Minnesota health care trade association, announced that Patricia Drury has joined its Alley Institute as Director of the Minnesota Partnership to Improve End-of-Life Care.
offering a new option of care with previously unavailable services including high-quality respite care to allow families a break from home care; end-of-life care in a supportive, home-like setting where a child may spend their last days; and transitional support between the hospital and home.
WASHINGTON -- The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) agreed with some of the findings in a national study on the end-of-life care released by Last Acts today.