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Keywords:

  • geriatrics;
  • hospice and palliative medicine;
  • education;
  • fellowship

Although the fields of hospice and palliative medicine and geriatrics have developed from separate origins, they share much in common. They share concerns for optimizing care of older adults with advanced illness. They both seek to address the common problem of care fragmentation for those with chronic illness. Both subspecialties see the patient and their loved ones as a unit requiring thoughtful, integrated care, rather than seeing the patient as a cluster of organ systems and conditions. The fields also share many core principles, including an emphasis on interdisciplinary care and care coordination. As increasing emphasis is placed on the medical home, chronic and advanced illness care, and systems changes to decrease care fragmentation, geriatrics and hospice and palliative medicine stand to benefit by blending efforts and common interests to improve care for patients and their loved ones. In 2009, a collaborative effort was begun involving the leadership of the American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the John A. Hartford Foundation. The goal of the collaboration was to convene leaders in geriatrics and hospice and palliative medicine to identify areas of potential synergy between the two subspecialties and to design a plan for exploring and developing these areas of common interest. This article describes the progress of the collaborative effort to date.