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Palliative Care Psychiatry: Building Synergy Across the Spectrum.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Palliative care (PC) psychiatry is a growing subspecialty focusing on improving the mental health of those with serious medical conditions and their caregivers. This review elucidates the current practice and ongoing evolution of PC psychiatry.

RECENT FINDINGS: PC psychiatry leverages training and clinical practices from both PC and psychiatry, addressing a wide range of needs, including enhanced psychiatric care for patients with serious medical illness, PC access for patients with medical needs in psychiatric settings, and PC-informed psychiatric approaches for individuals with treatment-refractory serious mental illness. PC psychiatry is practiced by a diverse workforce comprising hospice and palliative medicine-trained psychiatrists, psycho-oncologists, geriatric psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, and non-psychiatrist PC clinicians. As a result, PC psychiatry faces challenges in defining its operational scope. The manuscript outlines the growth, current state, and prospects of PC psychiatry. It examines its roles across various healthcare settings, including medical, integrated care, and psychiatric environments, highlighting the unique challenges and opportunities in each. PC psychiatry is a vibrant and growing subspecialty of psychiatry that must be operationalized to continue its developmental trajectory. There is a need for a distinct professional identity for PC psychiatry, strategies to navigate administrative and regulatory hurdles, and greater support for novel clinical, educational, and research initiatives.

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