open access

Vol 14, No 4 (2020)
Brief communication
Published online: 2020-11-23
Get Citation

The art of the possible – palliative care is the ultimate personalised medicine

David Christopher Currow, Paul Kleinig
DOI: 10.5603/PMPI.2020.0029
·
Palliat Med Pract 2020;14(4):231-232.

open access

Vol 14, No 4 (2020)
Short communication
Published online: 2020-11-23

Abstract

How can we help people achieve their own goals with limited life expectancies? This is the “art of the possible”
in palliative care. Patients with a range of diagnoses are incredibly consistent in their expectations:
“please manage my physical symptoms (not as an end in itself and without affecting the clarity of my
thinking or communication) so that I can do the other things that are important in my life” – meaningful
time with family and friends, and physical independence for as long as possible. Each aspect of personhood
(physical, emotional, social, sexual and existential) is important at differing levels for every person as he/
she faces a life-limiting illness. Palliative care is the ultimate personalised medicine when we seriously seek
to address patients’ priorities.

Abstract

How can we help people achieve their own goals with limited life expectancies? This is the “art of the possible”
in palliative care. Patients with a range of diagnoses are incredibly consistent in their expectations:
“please manage my physical symptoms (not as an end in itself and without affecting the clarity of my
thinking or communication) so that I can do the other things that are important in my life” – meaningful
time with family and friends, and physical independence for as long as possible. Each aspect of personhood
(physical, emotional, social, sexual and existential) is important at differing levels for every person as he/
she faces a life-limiting illness. Palliative care is the ultimate personalised medicine when we seriously seek
to address patients’ priorities.

Get Citation

Keywords

palliative care, patient-centred care, priorities in care, symptom control, physical independence

About this article
Title

The art of the possible – palliative care is the ultimate personalised medicine

Journal

Palliative Medicine in Practice

Issue

Vol 14, No 4 (2020)

Article type

Brief communication

Pages

231-232

Published online

2020-11-23

DOI

10.5603/PMPI.2020.0029

Bibliographic record

Palliat Med Pract 2020;14(4):231-232.

Keywords

palliative care
patient-centred care
priorities in care
symptom control
physical independence

Authors

David Christopher Currow
Paul Kleinig

References (6)
  1. Steinhauser KE, Christakis NA, Clipp EC, et al. Factors considered important at the end of life by patients, family, physicians, and other care providers. JAMA. 2000; 284(19): 2476–2482.
  2. Singer PA, Martin DK, Kelner M. Quality end-of-life care: patients' perspectives. JAMA. 1999; 281(2): 163–168.
  3. Delgado-Guay MO, Rodriguez-Nunez A, De la Cruz V, et al. Advanced cancer patients' reported wishes at the end of life: a randomized controlled trial. Support Care Cancer. 2016; 24(10): 4273–4281.
  4. Morgan DD, Currow DC, Denehy L, et al. Living actively in the face of impending death: constantly adjusting to bodily decline at the end-of-life. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2017; 7(2): 179–188.
  5. Currow DC, Rowett D, Doogue M, et al. An international initiative to create a collaborative for pharmacovigilance in hospice and palliative care clinical practice. J Palliat Med. 2012; 15(3): 282–286.
  6. Agar M, To T, Plummer J, et al. Anti-cholinergic load, health care utilization, and survival in people with advanced cancer: a pilot study. J Palliat Med. 2010; 13(6): 745–752.

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