As the need for palliative care increases, palliative care is emerging as a field of medical care in its own right. At the same time there are many aspects of palliative care that are problematic, particularly in palliative care education. The aspects reviewed here include: (a) the lack of a long tradition and adequate conceptualization of palliative care; (b) the significance of psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects; (c) the importance of but inadequate understanding of symptom control; (d) the fact that palliative care is not curative in the accepted sense; (e) its multiprofessional nature; (f) the range of different settings of palliative care; and (g) the fact that palliative caregivers have to perform their duties in situations where the emotional and psychological demands on them may be immense. A number of general issues relevant to palliative care education are also reviewed.
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