Palliative Care or Hospice? It's Not About Giving Up

September 30, 2014 8:04 PM

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Mrs. G., a woman in her 50s, had been receiving disease-directed care for her breast cancer, but her condition reached a point where the treatment was not only failing to have the desired effect, but was also greatly limiting her quality of life. The cancer had metastasized into her liver, brain and other vital organs, and the chemotherapy was taking a heavy toll. She wasn't eating, had severe pain issues as well as constipation, and couldn't easily get out of bed.

Mrs. G. lived alone, but her parents were staying with her and acting as caregivers. As her disease progressed, they struggled to understand the variety of treatment options available and were also unclear about the difference between palliative care and hospice care. Both patient and family were fe...

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