Palliative Care for the Geriatric Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiol Clin. 2015 Sep;33(3):591-605. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2015.05.013.


Many seriously ill geriatric patients are at higher risk for perioperative morbidity and mortality, and incorporating proactive palliative care principles may be appropriate. Advanced care planning is a hallmark of palliative care in that it facilitates alignment of the goals of care between the patient and the health care team. When these goals conflict, perioperative dilemmas can occur. Anesthesiologists must overcome many cultural and religious barriers when managing the care of these patients. Palliative care is gaining ground in several perioperative populations where integration with certain patient groups has occurred. Geriatric anesthesiologists must be aware of how palliative care and hospice influence and enhance the care of elderly patients.

Keywords: Do not resuscitate; Ethical dilemma; Geriatrics; Hospice; Palliative care; Palliative sedation; Perioperative palliative care; Physician-assisted suicide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Anesthesiology / methods*
  • Geriatrics / methods*
  • Hospice Care
  • Hospices
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Resuscitation Orders