Future Directions

One important avenue to improve of end of life care is through health professional education. Much progress has been made since the early 1990s in defining curriculum content and establishing standards for education for medical students and primary care residencies. The most recent development in end of life education is the focus on training existing academic faculty and fellows in palliative care. Faculty development is needed if the established goals and standards in undergraduate and graduate palliative care education are to be met. Several courses have been developed in the United States, with the explicit goal of training academic faculty to become role models for end-of-life education. Fellowship training in palliative care is needed to prepare medical trainees for community or academic careers focused on care of the seriously ill and dying. In 2003 there are approximately twenty-five fellowship programs in the United States.

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