family history, genetics and genomics, palliative care, pharmacogenomics



  1. Raudonis, Barbara M. PhD, RN, FNGNA, FPCN
  2. Cauble, Denise M. BSN, RN, CWOCN


The sequencing of the human genome was completed in 2003. This scientific accomplishment has implications for improving healthcare including palliative care. Have you wondered why certain diseases are more prevalent in some family members and not others? Why does morphine provide therapeutic relief of pain for some patients and not others with the same disease? Why should an individual diagnosed with Huntington disease receive palliative care at the time of diagnosis? How is a complete family health history and three-generation pedigree useful to hospice and palliative care nurses? All of these questions have the common thread of genetic and genomic factors that influence health. The purpose of this article was to update hospice and palliative care nurses on selected aspects in genetics and genomics that impact palliative care and provide resources such as the US Surgeon General's Family History Initiative including the online assessment program that results in an organized family pedigree. The selected topics are pharmacogenomics of morphine, family history, and palliative care for persons with genetic disorders.