Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • Kerry A. ShermanEmail author
  • Christopher J. Kilby
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_101994-1



End-of-life is a life stage characterized by deteriorating bodily and/or cognitive functioning associated with an approaching death of an individual of any age. End-of-life can last weeks to years and is associated with unique needs of the individual often requiring specialized or palliative care and advanced care planning to attempt to minimize physical suffering via medication and maximize well-being, autonomy, and meaning in life (Carr and Luth 2019).


The transition into end-of-life and palliative care can be equally as distressing as when receiving the initial diagnosis for the condition that has led to this life stage. It can be difficult for an individual to understand or accept the transition into this life stage if there is not a high level of effective communication between the individual, their family, and the team providing the palliative care (Costantini et al. 2018...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Cagle, J. G., Bunting, M., Kelemen, A., Lee, J., Terry, D., & Harris, R. (2017a). Psychosocial needs and interventions for heart failure patients and families receiving palliative care support: A systematic review. Heart Failure Reviews, 22(5), 565–580.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10741-017-9596-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cagle, J. G., Unroe, K. T., Bunting, M., Bernard, B. L., & Miller, S. C. (2017b). Caring for dying patients in the nursing home: Voices from frontline nursing home staff. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 53(2), 198–207.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2016.08.022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Carr, D., & Luth, E. A. (2019). Well-being at the end of life. Annual Review of Sociology, 45(1), 515–534.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-073018-022524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Costantini, M., Apolone, G., Tanzi, S., Falco, F., Rondini, E., Guberti, M., … Di Leo, S. (2018). Is early integration of palliative care feasible and acceptable for advanced respiratory and gastrointestinal cancer patients? A phase 2 mixed-methods study. Palliative Medicine, 32(1), 46–58.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216317731571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Grossman, C. H., Brooker, J., Michael, N., & Kissane, D. (2018). Death anxiety interventions in patients with advanced cancer: A systematic review. Palliative Medicine, 32(1), 172–184.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216317722123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Küttner, S., Wüller, J., & Pastrana, T. (2017). How much psychological distress is experienced at home by patients with palliative care needs in Germany? A cross-sectional study using the distress thermometer. Palliative and Supportive Care, 15(02), 205–213.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1478951516000560.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Mitchell, A. J., Chan, M., Bhatti, H., Halton, M., Grassi, L., Johansen, C., & Meader, N. (2011). Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorder in oncological, haematological, and palliative-care settings: A meta-analysis of 94 interview-based studies. The Lancet Oncology, 12(2), 160–174.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70002-X.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Monforte-Royo, C., Villavicencio-Chávez, C., Tomás-Sábado, J., Mahtani-Chugani, V., & Balaguer, A. (2012). What lies behind the wish to hasten death? A systematic review and meta-ethnography from the perspective of patients. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e37117.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037117.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Van der Haeghen, B., Bossuyt, I., Menten, J., & Rober, P. (2018). Helping hospital professionals to implement advance care planning in daily practice: A European Delphi study from field experts. Journal of Research in Nursing.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1744987118772604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wang, C. W., Chow, A. Y., & Chan, C. L. (2017). The effects of life review interventions on spiritual Well-being, psychological distress, and quality of life in patients with terminal or advanced cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Palliative Medicine, 31(10), 883–894.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216317705101.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Emotional Health, Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kerry A. Sherman
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Emotional Health, Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia