This article focuses on families' needs for support and care when the patient is receiving palliative care. Health care professionals providing care to patients with hematologic or oncologic illnesses are coming to understand that care for the family must begin at the time of patient's diagnosis and treatment. Families who do not receive adequate information and support in the early phases of the patient's treatment have greater needs, less trust and confidence in the health care system, and cope more poorly in the later stages than families who have been informed and supported throughout the course of the illness. This article documents the needs of families in the palliative phase of a patient's hematologic or oncologic illness and provides empirically based recommendations for assessment and care of the family unit
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