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Can J Psychiatry. 2000 Mar;45(2):143-50.

Psychiatry and terminal illness.

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  • 1Division of Palliative Care, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.



To provide an overview of the palliative care literature salient to the psychiatric aspect of end-of-life care.


A literature review was conducted, targeting primarily empirical studies that addressed the following topics: 1) psychological issues pertaining to life-threatening conditions; 2) family issues in the context of palliative care; 3) psychological issues and challenges faced by end-of-life health care providers; and 4) psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and organic mental disorders, in people with terminal illness.


There is a small but emerging literature that can guide psychiatrists in their role of providing care to dying patients.


While psychiatry has made tremendous inroads toward providing care to patients throughout the life cycle, its presence is only just beginning to be felt in end-of-life care. Within the domain of palliative care, psychiatry has an expanded and important role to play.

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