- Psychiatric Annals
- April 2012 - Volume 42 · Issue 4: 142-146
CME Educational Objectives
Understand the role of psychiatrists in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and suffering in palliative care patients.
Describe the common symptoms palliative care cancer patients face at the end-stage of life.
Describe the use, side effects, interactions, and efficacy of various pharmacologic agents available for treatment of symptoms of palliative care cancer patients.
With America’s expanding aging population; the recent greater emphasis on patient autonomy; and ongoing advancements in chemotherapy, oncologists, internists, and palliative care specialists are turning to psychiatrists more often for the management of psychological and behavioral problems. Half of all patients with terminal illness meet DSM-IV criteria for a psychiatric disorder such as adjustment disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, or delirium.
Additionally, psychiatrists assist palliative care patients in dealing with somatic complaints such as pain, insomnia, shortness of breath, and nausea, all of which may be exacerbated by psychiatric conditions.3–5
In this article, we review the efficacy and safety of the treatments most commonly used by psychiatrists in palliative care settings.
Lynsey P. Tamborello, MD, and Lori H. Kels, MD, are Resident Physicians at The George Washington University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dana L. Footer, MA, PsyDc, is a PsyD candidate at Roosevelt University, Department of Psychology. Lisa A. Catapano, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The George Washington University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Drs. Tamborello, Kels, and Catapano, and Ms. Footer, have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Address correspondence to: Lisa A. Catapano, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 2150 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20037; fax: 202-741-2891; email: .email@example.com