A nationwide survey of physicians found that almost all young doctors under 40 have had exposure to palliative care, an approach to improve the lives of those with serious illness. But the exact opposite was the case for doctors 60 and older. Dr. Steve Pantilat, founder and director of one of the nationâ€™s first hospital-based palliative care programs at the University of California, San Francisco, says this generational difference is in part because such services were not available in the past.
"When I was a student here at UCSF â€“ and itâ€™s not that long ago â€“ we had no palliative care. Today, itâ€™s one of the most popular electives in the medical school, we have a fellowship. And so the landscape has completely changed and you canâ€™t leave medical school today without having exposure to palliative care."
Pantilat adds that palliative care used to be considered end of life care, but thatâ€™s changing, too.
"People live for years, decades sometimes, with their serious illness. Weâ€™re going to miss this huge opportunity to make peopleâ€™s lives better because weâ€™re waiting for something that we donâ€™t have to wait for."
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