Neurologists as primary palliative care providers: Communication and practice approaches

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Abstract

Purpose of review:

To present current knowledge and recommendations regarding communication tasks and practice approaches for neurologists as they practice primary palliative care, including discussing serious news, managing symptoms, aligning treatment with patient preferences, introducing hospice/terminal care, and using the multiprofessional approach.

Recent findings:

Neurologists receive little formal palliative care training yet often need to discuss prognosis in serious illness, manage intractable symptoms in chronic progressive disease, and alleviate suffering for patients and their families. Because patients with neurologic disorders often have major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or both, with an uncertain prognosis, their palliative care needs are particularly challenging and they remain largely uncharacterized and often unmanaged.

Summary:

We provide an overview of neuropalliative care as a fundamental skill set for all neurologists.

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