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Gerontologist. 2018 May 8;58(3):409-419. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw146.

Trauma-Informed Hospice and Palliative Care.

Author information

Gerontology Institute, Ithaca College, New York.
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.


This review highlights the need to integrate trauma-informed practices into hospice and palliative care. The pervasiveness of psychological trauma exposure has been established in the general population and among the elderly adults. Moreover, there is emerging evidence for multiple additional opportunities for exposure to psychological trauma at or near the end of life. For example, many people experience intensive medical interventions prior to their admission to hospice and/or palliative care, and there is increasing recognition that these interventions may be traumatic. These and related opportunities for trauma exposure may combine synergistically at the end of life, particularly in the presence of pain, anxiety, delirium, dementia, or ordinary old age. This, in turn, can negatively affect patient mental health, well-being, behavior, and reported experience of pain. This review closes with suggestions for future research and a call for universal assessment of psychological trauma history and symptoms in hospice and palliative care patients, along with the development of palliative trauma intervention strategies appropriate to these populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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