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October 20, 2015

The Next Era of Palliative Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2015;314(15):1565-1566. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.11217

In 1995, the pivotal SUPPORT (Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatment), involving more than 4000 patients, documented “substantial shortcomings in care for seriously ill hospitalized patients” while demonstrating no improvement in outcomes with a nurse-led communication intervention.1 These negative results—published in JAMA and referenced in more than 1000 peer-reviewed publications—galvanized efforts to improve advanced illness care. Champions of these efforts became leaders in palliative care—an emerging field focused on improving quality of life and alleviating physical and psychological symptoms for patients with complex serious illness and their families.

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