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Psychosocial issues in palliative care: physicians’ self-perceived role and collaboration with hospital staff

Publication year
Schulman-Green, D. J.

Psychosocial issues are a major part of palliative treatment, yet, due to inadequate training, physicians are often ill-prepared to address them. Twenty physicians were interviewed about the importance they placed on psychosocial issues and the perceptions they had of their role in addressing them. Several respondents felt psychosocial issues were important because they affect physical issues, enable holistic care, enhance relationships, impact care decisions, and can reduce patient and family stress. Other respondents did not feel psychosocial issues were their responsibility due to time constraints, their focus on physical care, their lack of expertise in this area, the patients’ preferences for attending physicians, and a sense on the part of house staff physicians of not yet being "real" doctors. Collaboration with other hospital staff helped overcome some of these obstacles. Since physicians must often provide psychosocial care, improved training in addressing psychosocial issues is indicated

Research abstracts