Palliative Care : A Very New Concept

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Background Palliative care is a relatively new concept. Palliative care programs have become more numerous and better utilized since 2000 and continue to grow. It is now accepted that the palliative care model is appropriate for patients with life-limiting illnesses. Chan et al. (2013) stated that the ultimate goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and to maximize the quality of life for dying patients and their families, regardless of the stage of illness or the need for other medical treatments (p. 133). As life-expectancy increases, there is a growing need for these services. People are living longer with chronic diseases and palliative care services can provide an extra layer of support to patients and their families. Evidence has shown that 13% - 36% of hospital inpatients qualify for palliative care services (Robinson, Gott, & Ingleton, 2014). Palliative care services began in the acute-care hospital setting and are now expanding to the outpatient setting in homes and outpatient clinics. Multiple professional medical organizations, such as the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization, are looking for improved palliative care services in various settings (Rabow et al., 2013). Patients worldwide require these services. In the past, palliative care was mostly recommended for patients with a cancer diagnosis. Today, it is being offered to patients with a wide range of life-limiting diseases such as congestive heart failure and chronic
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