Learn When and How to Introduce Palliative Care

Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN


December 27, 2016

Out of Options, Not Hope

Cynthia Y. is a 55-year-old Chinese woman with stage IV ovarian cancer. She has been treated in a large urban cancer center and recently completed participation in a phase 1 clinical trial. Cynthia is a very religious woman with a large, supportive family. She is very grateful for the care she has received and is known to the staff as an optimist, always positive and hopeful.

Dr Chee, her oncologist, is aware that her disease has progressed further and that there are no other treatment options available for her ovarian cancer. She is also having increased pain, nausea, and constipation. Cynthia is very close to Dr Chee and feels that because he is also Chinese, he understands her faith, hopefulness, and dedication to her family.

Dr Chee wants to suggest that palliative care be consulted, but he doesn't know how to introduce this option and avoid making her feel hopeless or abandoned. Cynthia is in the outpatient clinic today for follow-up.


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