Palliative care aims to improve quality of life and relieve suffering for patients with advanced illness and those close to them by specifically addressing communication, symptom management, coordination of care, psychosocial and spiritual realms, grief and bereavement support, and legal and ethical concerns. It has an interdisciplinary focus and may co-exist with curative and life-prolonging treatment. Palliative care is a key component of appropriate, routine medical care, especially for clinicians caring for older adults. In revisiting Mrs. B, the many needs of a typical elderly patient are apparent, as are the gaps in the current level of care. A discussion of prognosis and goals of care is a potential starting point. This includes obtaining input from an oncologist with regard to treatment options for Mrs. B's metastatic breast cancer and her pathologic hip fracture. Soliciting her treatment goals in the context of her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and significant recent decline is the next challenge.
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