Enhancing awareness of hospice through physician assisted living: public health perspectives.
The provision, management, and financing of care for patients with irreversible diseases has become increasingly complex in this era of advanced medical technology. With enhanced capabilities of medicine to prolong life, clinical practice has taken on legal and ethical dimensions that reach beyond the traditional scope of medicine. This paper demonstrates that hospice represents a major area of public health practice and research. It argues for enhanced involvement of public health practitioners and academics in the design and evaluation of efforts to encourage appropriate use of hospice for patients with irreversible diseases. The physician assisted living intervention in Connecticut represents one such effort. However, ongoing educational efforts targeted at both the public and health care providers are needed to ensure that all those with irreversible diseases fully understand and have access to hospice care at the end of life.
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