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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2001 Oct;101(10):586-93.

Approach to optimal care at end of life.

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  • 1Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, 19555 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA. knicholsdo@aol.com


At no other time in any patient's life is the team approach to care more important than at the end of life. The demands and challenges of end-of-life care (ELC) tax all physicians at some point. There is no other profession that is charged with this ultimate responsibility. No discipline in medicine is immune to the issues of end-of-life care except perhaps, ironically, pathology. This presentation addresses the issues, options, and challenges of providing optimal care at the end of life. It looks at the principles of ELC, barriers to good ELC, and what patients and families expect from ELC. Barriers to ELC include financial restrictions, inadequate care-givers, community support, legal issues, legislative issues, training needs, coordination of care, hospice care, and transitions for the patients and families. The legal aspects of physician-assisted suicide is presented as well as the approach of the American Osteopathic Association to ensure better education for physicians in the principles of ELC.

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