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Palliative Care Pathfinder

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History & Scope ~

  • The goal of palliative care is to relieve, or palliate, suffering, rather than cure disease.  With the growth of the hospice care movement in the 1960’s, patients and their family members began to request more support during severe chronic illnesses and especially  end of life care. The palliative care team may include but is not limited to, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, psychologists, and chaplains.

Definitions ~

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI) Dictionary of Cancer Terms defines palliative care as Care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management.
  • The Oxford Companion to Medicine, accessed remotely via UNCG Jackson Library:  palliative care   Attitudes to death and dying have changed over the centuries. An abrupt change occurred in the 20th century (perhaps after the bloodbath of the First World War) when death became a forbidden subject, a new taboo. The tendency not to tell a dying person the truth, the likelihood of an impersonal death in hospital or nursing home, and the inability of society to allow any display of emotion in public (other than in the media) have made dying and bereavement intensely lonely experiences. The old acceptance of destiny has gone, and a new sense of outrage that modern advances cannot finally halt the inevitable creates a negative climate among dying people and their families. The challenges of their care are thus more demanding as well as more rewarding if they are truly faced and people are to find any meaning in the situation.

Cicely Saunders “palliative care”

  • The Oxford Companion to Medicine. Stephen Lock, John M. Last, and George Dunea. Oxford University Press 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  University of North Carolina – Greensboro.

Societies and Organizations ~

National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

  • This organization provides education and resources for palliative care provider, sponsoring research, annual conferences, webinars, and other professional development opportunities.  Limited information is also available in Spanish

National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCR)

  • The mission of the NCPR is to provide collaborative support and funding for palliative care.  The organization’s slogan is Without Research, Palliative Care is an Art, Not a Science.

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM)

  • This is the accrediting organization for palliative care physicians.  AAHPM sponsors webinars, conferences, and publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.


Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

  • Monthly, international, peer-reviewed journal, published by the AAHPM.  Free online access to all abstracts from 1995-present.  Users may register at the site for free access to most articles.

American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine

  • Peer-reviewed journal, published quarterly.  Subscription required for articles and abstracts or individual articles may be purchased.  Table of contents and citation information available online.  Limited number of articles are open source.

Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing

  • Peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.  Abstracts are available online but a subscription is required to access articles.

Books ~

WorldCat List allows reader to search for and request items via ILL.  Titles below are available either in the Charlotte area or in electronic format.

Addington-Hall, Julia M. Research Methods in Palliative Care. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

  • This textbook is available as a small book (288 pages) or electronically.  It would be particularly useful to have on a smart phone or an e-reader.

Connor, Stephen R., and Stephen R. Connor. Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide. New York: Routledge, 2009.

  • This book addresses some of the challenges and changes that the American Hospice movement has faced in the past ten years.  It is published in partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).

Johns, Christopher. Being Mindful, Easing Suffering Reflections on Palliative Care. London: J. Kingsley Publishers, 2004. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10082299

  • Written by a palliative care nurse, this book offers a view of reflective practice and how diverse spiritual traditions may be integrated into palliative care.

Meier, D. E., Isaacs, S. L., & Hughes, R. G. Palliative care: Transforming the care of serious illness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010

  • This is an interdisciplinary collection of 25 essays written by leaders in the field of palliative care, both past and present.  The book may be obtained via ILL and is also available in Kindle format from Amazon

Databases  ~

Palliative care draws on the experience, practice, and research of many disciplines including nursing, medicine, psychology, sociology, ethics, and religion.

Nursing & Allied Health



Web Sites

Palliative Doctors

This web site is sponsored by the AAHPM and supported by a grant from Wyeth and contains many resources for patients and caregivers.  The site has a strong bias in favor of physician directed rather than collaborative care but provides valuable information.  It also includes legal forms and documents.

Hospice & Palliative Care, Charlotte Region

The exceptional site provides information and outreach for local patients, caregivers, health care providers, and community members.


Written by Booknurse

June 24, 2011 at 12:40 am

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