WHO PRACTICES HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE MEDICINE AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
A physician specializing in hospice and palliative medicine provides care and support as patients and their families face the many challenges of living with a serious illness. While other physicians focus on patients’ general health or treating their disease or condition, palliative medicine
physicians concentrate on preventing and alleviating suffering and improving quality of life. Research shows that people often live longer when they receive palliative care along with other treatments that are targeted at their illness. Palliative medicine physicians work in hospitals, hospices, outpatient palliative care clinics, nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities
seeing adult and/or pediatric patients. While many work in academic settings, others spend their time in the community seeing patients at home. Compassionate palliative care succeeds when there is a team approach, usually including physicians, nurses, social workers, and
Hospice and palliative medicine was recognized in 2006 as a subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Osteopathic Association Board of Specialties, and the need for specialists to care for seriously ill patients is rapidly increasing. Adults are living longer, and many have serious or multiple chronic conditions that are best managed by a physician who specializes in hospice and palliative medicine. Today there are nearly 7,000 physicians who are certified in this subspecialty.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 20 million people worldwide require palliative care each year, with the vast majority being adults over 60 years old. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are the most common conditions of patients receiving palliative care.