The emerging role of the medical sociologist in palliative care settings

Academic Article


  • The demographics of a rapidly aging society and the chronic nature of contemporary illness intersect in the twenty-first century to confront medicine with the challenge of reenvisioning health care at life's end. Using analytic, interpretive, and reflexive tools, the medical sociologist can assist health care teams in improving quality of life terminally ill patients and their caregivers. In this article, we explore the role of the medical sociologist in palliative care settings, discuss ways to integrate that role into the day-to-day processes of palliative medicine, and identify three areas of intervention where medical sociologists can bring a unique perspective to end-of-life settings. We conclude by examining impediments to the inclusion of the medical sociologist on the clinical team and discussing how these barriers can be addressed.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williams BR; Padgett CG
  • Start Page

  • 265
  • End Page

  • 277
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 3