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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 55(12); 2012 > Article
Hong: Withdrawal of life prolonging treatment, and palliative care


Hospice palliative care does not aim at the artificial prolongation or artificial hastening of human lives. It helps terminal patients to face the natural end of their lives comfortably, by controlling the suffering of the patients and family members. Hospice in Korea was started in 1965 by Roman Catholic sisters from Australia without successive development, but it has been actively developed since the 1990s. Nevertheless, many tasks remain to be addressed before reasonable and sufficient palliative care can be provided to provide a high quality of life for terminal patients. Laws and regulations for hospice and palliative care should be established and reimbursement from the National Medical Insurance for palliative care also needs to be initiated. In addition, efforts should be made for the education of specialists and lay people to increase the acceptance of hospice and palliative care in Korean society. Ethical issues involved in terminal care, such as the withdrawal of futile treatment and use of advance medical treatment, should be widely discussed within Korean society until a broad consensus is reached.


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