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PRINTED FROM the Encyclopedia of Social Work, accessed online. (c) National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the applicable license agreement governing use of the Encyclopedia of Social Work accessed online, an authorized individual user may print out a PDF of a single article for personal use, only (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 23 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Palliative care seeks to prevent and relieve suffering associated with serious illness for persons of all ages. The philosophical underpinnings of palliative care and the core elements of palliative care programs are described. The history of the hospice and palliative care movement, distinctions between hospice and palliative care programs and the roles and functions of social work in palliative care are reviewed. Contemporary issues that present challenges to the field that concerns the scope, focus, and intent of palliative care, the educational gaps in training of health-care professionals, the absence of a single social work leadership organization with a focus on palliative care, and the need to improve the quality and quantity of social work research are discussed.

Keywords: hospice, end of life, palliative medicine, oncology, health care, terminal illness

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