Dr. Holland Discusses Defining Palliative Care

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses defining palliative care.

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses defining palliative care.

The idea that palliative care had a hard time being accepted initially is very real, Holland says, as oncologists used to associate it with end of life or hospice care. To construct a better image of palliative care, oncologists have begun to talk about it earlier on in the context of symptom control. This is a new definition of palliative care, Holland says, though she is unsure if it will have a great impact.

It is now known that patients survive longer when symptoms, including psychosocial issues, are well controlled. Holland says she prefers to reference psychosocial issues as managing distress, as this gets away from the stigma of psychiatric issues.