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Care of the older person
Healthcare professionals must communicate with patients and relatives. They must enable informed, realistic and appropriate decisions in end-of-life pharmacotherapy
  1. Amanda J Lee
  1. Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull Faculty of Health and Social Care, Hull, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amanda J Lee, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull Faculty of Health and Social Care, Hull HU6 7RX, UK; A.J.Lee{at}

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Commentary on: Morin L, Wastesson JW, Laroche ML, et al. How many older adults receive drugs of questionable clinical benefit near the end of life? A cohort study. Palliat Med 2019;33:1080–90. doi: 10.1177/0269216319854013.

Implications for practice and research

  • Healthcare professionals must review medications for appropriateness, efficacy and benefits to their patients and must communicate effectively with patients and relatives.

  • We need to re-examine and review drug use and prescribing practices to assert clinically and contextually appropriate care. However, qualitative research is needed to evaluate clinician prescribing with patients.


Use of a variety of drugs (polypharmacy) is required to manage complex disease processes. At the end of life, the focus of ‘treatment’ changes from extending survival to symptom management—therefore, aims of treatments change, requiring different pharmaceutical …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.