Palliative Medicine

Learn about the interdisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with serious illness.

In this elective, you will learn to propose and defend comfort care for patients when cure is no longer a rational goal in settings including hospital consultation services and hospice home care.

You will evaluate and treat symptoms common in terminally ill patients, focusing on how physical, psychological, social and spiritual factors affect suffering.

In addition, you will gain an understanding of the neuroanatomy and physiology of different pain mechanisms and how to honor medical decisions that are guided by patients’ philosophies and values.

Medical Knowledge Objectives

  • administer aggressive symptom control in the inpatient setting including using opioid patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps for pain and dyspnea
  • use non-opioid analgesics, adjuvant analgesics, and other pharmacologic approaches for the management of both pain and non-pain symptoms
  • describe use of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches of common pain and non-pain symptoms to management
  • describe etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of common neuropsychiatric disorders encountered in palliative care practice, such as depression, delirium, seizures and brain injury

Patient Care Objectives

  • accurately communicate prognosis to patients and families
  • appropriately manage physical symptoms, psychological issues, social stressors, and spiritual aspects of the patients and families
  • appropriately respond to suffering by addressing sources of medical and psychosocial/spiritual distress
  • demonstrate respectful attention to age/developmental stage, gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion/spirituality, as well as family interactions and disabilities
  • maximize level of function and quality of life for patients and families

Years Taken

  • PGY-2, PGY-3 or PGY-4

Length of Rotation

4 weeks

Clinical Sites