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Dermatology in palliative medicine
  1. Catherine Pisano1,2,
  2. Hana Paladichuk2 and
  3. Brett Keeling2
  1. 1 Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Dermatology, Dell Seton Medical Center at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine Pisano, Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; pisanocatherine{at}

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Palliative care is a rapidly growing field that has become an important element of holistic and interdisciplinary care for patients with serious illnesses with a goal of improving the quality of life for patients and decreasing caregiver burnout.1 2 As the field of palliative care continues to expand, there is a notable absence of dermatological care of these patients in the literature and in practice.2

Most literature detailing the cutaneous findings in palliative care patients focuses on decubitus ulcers and the role of wound care which is undoubtedly important.3 However, patients receiving palliative care are at a very high risk of developing additional cutaneous pathology due to the prevalence of malnutrition, anorexia, cachexia, immobility, incontinence, anaemia, metabolic alterations, immunosuppression, anti-cancer therapies and primary malignancies.3 4

To date, there have only been three publications examining the cutaneous findings in palliative care patients.2–4 Hansra et al found that 80% of their studied population of palliative care patients had an uncomfortable but treatable skin condition, and of those, 62% were either undocumented or incorrectly documented in the medical record.4 Additionally, Neloska et al found that of their 271 palliative care patients, every patient had at least one dermatological condition, and more than 50 different dermatological conditions were diagnosed. Of these cutaneous …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.