When All Else Is Done: The Challenge of Improving Antemortem Care

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Recent findings from the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT) reveal that Americans are receiving antemortem care that is highly technical and interventional, but poorly consistent with patients' wishes. A growing body of research in palliative medicine describes a manner of care that restores the possibility of a "good death" to the vast majority of patients. By familiarizing themselves with the medical, psychological, legal, and existential aspects of antemortem care, primary care physicians can offer excellent palliative care, changing the landscape of postmodern medicine for the benefit of all patients--including ourselves.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 1999;1(5):146-153