Why Would Physicians Specialize In Palliative Medicine?

Why would physicians specialize in palliative medicine?

After all, palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms, not on curing illness. And, doctors want to prevent and/or cure illness, right?

This recent article in the Journal of Palliative Medicine provides an insight into one doctor’s thinking. It turns out that a personal experience with a dying grandparent taught this doctor the value of compassion and expertise in end-of-life care.

And, he’s not alone.

Palliative medicine only became a board certifiable medical specialty in 2008. Since then, young physicians are choosing the new specialty in large numbers. One reason is that hospice and palliative care programs are becoming more broadly recognized as effective settings for treating serious medical conditions. Another is that the young specialty gives younger doctors an opportunity to take on significant responsibilities earlier in their careers. One challenge? As this San Jose Mercury News article tells, older patients often find it more difficult to relate to younger physicians.

A new generation of physicians choosing to enter a specialty that didn’t exist a decade ago is good news for the American health care system. Studies continue to show that hospice patients not only experience improved quality of life but also longer survival than those treated more aggressively.

As palliative medicine is practiced more broadly, more adults will undoubtedly choose this approach to end-of-life care in their advance medical directives. MyDirectives.com offers a free, secure, simple way for adults to create advance directives and decide about their end-of-life options.

The good news is that more and more specially trained physicians are going to be available to treat patients and their families with skill and compassion.

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