Federal guide on palliative care for AIDS patients released
The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday released a guide for clinicians providing advice and guidelines regarding palliative services for people with HIV/AIDS. Palliative care seeks to optimize the quality of life for those suffering from disease by preventing pain and easing suffering. HHS secretary Tommy Thompson said 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." This includes guiding providers on 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 Peter Selwyn, director of the Palliative Care Program at Montefiore Medical Center; Joseph O'Neill, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; and Helen Schietinger, a HIV policy analyst who has worked on AIDS-care issues since 1981. The full guide can be seen online at hab.hrsa.gov/tools/palliative/.