Despite the successful growth of the hospice movement during the past 30 years in the United States, almost 85% of Americans continue to die in hospitals or nursing homes. While the benefits of palliative care principles are well established, palliative care interventions remain underused in clinical practice in the settings in which most Americans die. Our premise is that physicians as a group perpetuate end-of-life suffering rather than ease the transition from life to death. We also believe that maintaining quality of life (QOL) at the end of life requires a multidimensional approach orchestrated by physicians drawing on the full range of available physical, psychological, so cial, and spiritual interventions. This article defines the meaning of QOL at the end of life and then examines the ramifications of failing to attend to QOL concerns in dying patients. It reviews strategies that physicians can use to advance palliative care approaches, thereby reducing terminally ill patients' suffering in the institutions in which most die.
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