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Palliative Care for Motor Neurone Disease
  1. David Oliver
  1. Wisdom Hospice, St Williams Way, Rochester, Kent ME1 2NU, UK; E-mail: drdavidoliver{at}


The palliative care of a patient with motor neurone disease (MND) starts even at the time of diagnosis, and this care throughout the disease process is crucial to management in the later stages.

Palliative care is defined as:

‘The active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.’ (World Health Organization 1990).

As there is, at present, no cure for MND, and Riluzole, at best, only slows the progression of the disease. Therefore, the care of patients with MND is palliative and this approach will enable them, together with their families, to retain as good a quality of life as possible.

During the disease progression, there are times when there are particular

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