1. Wu, Joanne MD
  2. Quill, Timothy MD


Palliative care is a field that is focused on maximizing quality of life for patients and families at all stages of serious illness. Hospice is a form of palliative care that focuses exclusively on the end of life. Over the past decade, there has been much collaboration among clinicians in the area of palliative care and several medical specialties including Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R.) Physical medicine and rehabilitation's primary focus is on restoring function, coping with disability, and decreasing the illness burden of chronic disease. Thus, there is a natural compatibility between these 2 fields, which provide increasing opportunities for clinical interface in the comprehensive treatment of seriously ill patients. This is particularly true with the geriatric population. Although improvements in medical technology have allowed many patients to live longer, a paradox of this success is that many will struggle in managing a wide range of diseases, symptoms, and disabilities. This article will focus on 5 sample cases, which illustrate the potential benefit of palliative care and physical medicine and rehabilitation's collaboration. Also included is a discussion of how these disciplines can collaborate to develop treatment goals that promote a balance between improving mobility and minimizing pain, while also considering quality of life, and the possibility of end-of-life preparation.