I attended rounds in the palliative care until and met three patients. I appreciate the discussion the clinicians had with the patients and their families (all patients had 1 to 3 family members present) and the private, expressive concern for finding the best way to stabilize the patients and reduce their pain.
When I see a patient on continuous morphine infusion noticeably and continuously feeling severe pain, it makes me wonder how most people can complain about the minor problems of life.
A majority of patients with advanced cancer will eventually reach palliative care. Currently, there is a very interesting initiative to increase the role of home care (including training for more staff to become home care certified). Data suggests home care is as good as clinical care for patients with chronic issues (while being more cost-effective), and an increased role of home care in the palliative care context is particularly important.
I am very interested in this issue myself and, in a discussion with the staff of the research office, I suggested some future students be selected who have a specific interest in palliative care/end of life issues.