Palliative care awareness is increasing, but many people still equate it with cancer, when the biggest users of end-of-life care actually are patients with functional limitations, dementia and other serious illnesses, palliative care expert Dr. Diane Meier of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City told a policy conference. Patients in pain still seek care at hospital emergency departments when their doctor is not available, and palliative care has not been fully integrated into all levels of the medical system, she said.

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