Palliative care is a field of medicine that delivers patient-centered care for individuals and their families suffering from serious illness at all stages of the disease trajectory. It addresses the major priorities of relieving suffering, establishing goals of care, and managing physical symptoms while integrating the psychosocial, cultural, spiritual, and existential complexities of coping with chronic illness. This article discusses the role of palliative care in the health care system. It reviews the importance of prognostication, disease trajectory, and communication. The role of the primary care physician as part of a multidisciplinary team member delivering primary palliative care is emphasized.
Keywords: Advance care planning; Communication; Disease trajectory; Hospice; Multidisciplinary team-based; Palliative care; Primary versus specialty palliative care; Prognostication.
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