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depression, palliative care, terminal illness



  1. Knopf, Kerstin Dr rer nat, Lic Psych, GC-C
  2. Head, Barbara PhD, RN, CHPN, ACSW, FPCN


Depression is an underrecognized condition experienced by a significant number of palliative care patients. It contributes to considerable distress in patients and families and can become yet another terminal illness for the patient to endure. This article outlines evidence-based approaches to the diagnostic assessment and treatment of depression using an actual case (with fictional names) to illustrate the challenges pertinent to palliative care patients. Special attention is given to the nurse's role in screening and providing support for the depressed patient who is also facing life-threatening illness.