Teaching end-of-life issues in US medical schools: 1975 to 2005

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. Jun-Jul 2006;23(3):197-204. doi: 10.1177/1049909106289066.

Abstract

This study examined medical school offerings on end-of-life issues between 1975 and 2005. Seven national surveys of US medical schools were conducted in 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005 (response rates in percentages of 95, 96, 90, 90, 93, 92, and 81, respectively). Results revealed that between 1975 and 2005, the overall offerings in death and dying increased so that 100% of US medical schools, beginning in 2000, offered something on death and dying. A multidisciplinary-team approach continued over the 30-year period. Palliative care is offered in 94% of US medical schools, to some extent, and about a fourth of the schools offer students an opportunity to have a continuing relationship for several weeks with a terminally ill patient. Numerous end-of-life topics are currently covered in the curriculum. This increased attention to end-of-life issues in medical schools should enhance each medical student's relationship with terminally ill patients and their families.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Curriculum / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Medical / organization & administration
  • Education, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration
  • Schools, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Terminal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Thanatology*
  • United States