Aggressive treatment and palliative care at the end of life

Kirsten Wentlandt and Camilla Zimmermann

in A Public Health Perspective on End of Life Care

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599400
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739170 | DOI:
Aggressive treatment and palliative care at the end of life

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The use of palliative care services has been increasing for the last few decades. Despite this, many cancer centres and general hospitals still do not have palliative care services, and there is continuation of aggressive treatment at the end of life (defined broadly as treatments and settings designed for prolonging life, rather than improving quality of life). An aggressive approach is often sustained even in patients who are close to death, and in countries such as the United States, Belgium, and Canada, more than 40% of all deaths still occur in hospital acute care units. This chapter reviews the literature pertaining to aggressiveness of care and use of palliative care and hospice services near the end of life. It examines characteristics associated with aggressiveness of care or hospice/palliative care use on the level of the physician, patient, and health care system, and discusses implications for quality of care and quality of life for patient and family.

Keywords: palliative care services; aggressive treatment; end-of-life care; hospice services; quality of care; quality of life

Chapter.  6699 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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