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J Palliat Med. 2006 Jun;9(3):751-72.

Psychological issues in end-of-life care.

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Division of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


This paper provides a systematic, evidence-based review of the psychological issues confronted by patients at the end of life, drawing on recent literature. The epidemiology, approach to clinical assessment, clinical presentation, and therapeutic options related to common psychological issues that arise in end-stage illness are described. The spectrum of normal and dysfunctional reactions are identified, and approaches to enhancing coping and quality of life are emphasized. The learner will be able to describe: (1) normal coping responses of patients at the end of life; (2) epidemiology of common psychiatric disorders at the end of life; (3) the approach to clinical assessment of psychological distress at the end of life; and (4) therapeutic approaches to common psychological problems at the end of life.

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