Psychosocial issues in palliative care: the patient, the family, and the process and outcome of care

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1995 Feb;10(2):142-50. doi: 10.1016/0885-3924(94)00076-w.


This article presents a synopsis of the psychosocial needs of patients and families in the terminal phase of malignant disease, as well as approaches to auditing the care of these clients. Recommendations for future research from the National Cancer Institute of Canada Workshop on Symptom Control and Supportive Care in Patients with Advanced Cancer are presented. These include recommendations on the need for more effective tools to measure the symptoms and burden of illness; an improved taxonomy to describe terminal illness; and studies to (1) measure the impact of interventions for improved symptom relief on the psychosocial distress of patients and families, (2) determine the impact of psychosocial interventions on the symptomatology associated with terminal illness, (3) operationalize "good palliative care" and the optimal delivery of palliative care, (4) assess the auditing of palliative care, (5) develop family typologies of adaptation to terminal illness, (6) describe high risk families, and (7) measure the impact of staff support programs on improving patient/family care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Family
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care* / methods
  • Patients
  • Social Support*
  • Treatment Outcome