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HHS Releases Clinical Guide on Palliative Care of HIV/AIDS Patients
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday released a guide for clinicians offering "experience-based" advice and guidelines regarding the provision of palliative services for people with HIV/AIDS, according to an HHS release. Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that seeks to optimize the quality of life of those living with diseases by actively trying to prevent and ease suffering and pain. "Palliative care, as complementary care, should be provided throughout the course of HIV/AIDS progression, not just when a patient nears the end of life," Elizabeth Duke, administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration, said, adding that the incorporation of the guide's recommendations for HIV/AIDS care will help "improve[e] the overall quality of care and life for those living with HIV/AIDS." The guide is organized into five parts, each focusing on different aspects of palliative care, including how to deal with the management of advanced HIV; psychosocial, cultural and ethical issues surrounding the disease; and end-of-life care. Contributing editors include HIV/AIDS and palliative care experts Peter Selwyn, director of the Palliative Care Program at Montefiore Medical Center and professor and chairman of Family Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Joseph O'Neill, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; and Helen Schietinger, a HIV policy analyst who has worked in HIV/AIDS since 1981. Thompson said that the guide urges clinicians "to treat not just the symptoms of this terrible disease, but to provide care that meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the individual" (HRSA release, 2/25). The complete guide is available online.
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