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A Shift In How Physicians Think About Pa…lliative care [science |2016-01-05]

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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 nation’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 – and it’s not that long ago – we had no palliative care. Today, it’s one of the most popular electives in the medical school, we have a fellowship. And so the landscape has completely changed and you can’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 that’s changing, too.

"People live for years, decades sometimes, with their serious illness. We’re going to miss this huge opportunity to make people’s lives better because we’re waiting for something that we don’t have to wait for."

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