Young adulthood is a time of immense growth and possibilities. As a result, it is also a time when serious illness can have profound effects. This review examines the current data pertinent to young adult palliative care and discusses the challenges and opportunities where palliative medicine can enhance the care provided to this growing and vulnerable population. From the data, 2 primary themes emerged (1) ongoing young adult development not only generates unique biologic disease burdens and clinical treatment options but also requires frequent assessment and promotion and (2) binary health care systems often leave young adults without access to developmentally appropriate health care. Given its interdisciplinary approach, palliative care is uniquely poised to address the challenges known to caring for the seriously ill young adult.
Keywords: adolescents and young adults; emerging adult; end-of-life care; hospice; palliative care; young adult.
© The Author(s) 2013.