The Milbank Quaterly   |  March 9, 2019

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My father passed away at 102 years old. He lived, aged, and died well. But that is rare in the United States and globally. The World Health Organization defines palliative care “throughout the life course” as improving quality of life for patients and families and relieving pain and suffering, while paying special attention to physical, psychosocial, and spiritual functioning. That’s the global vision, but then there’s the reality. Palliative care, in practice, has been little more than pain relief at life’s end—and in much of the world, not even that.

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