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How to offer the Best Care Possible

Palliative care expert, Dr. Ira Byock, discusses the interdisciplinary team-based approach to caring for people living with serious illness along with their families, caregivers, and loved ones.

Dear friends and neighbors,

After having the honor and privilege of spending time with Ira Byock, I became an ambassador for palliative care, which he has pioneered. The vast majority of us will require palliative care at some point in our lives, making it essential that we become familiar with what it is and what it offers. I consider his books essential reading.

You can listen to the audio here, or subscribe to read the transcript below.

Mind Body Health & Politics
Transform Your Perception of Healthcare: Why Treating the Whole Person Matters – Dr. Ira Byock
Listen now (73 min) | Are you curious about palliative care? Do you know what it is or when to ask for it? Palliative care is a field that seeks to improve the quality of life for individuals facing serious illnesses or nearing the end of their lives. In this episode, we explore the world of palliative care with a leading expert in the field, Dr. Ira Byock, M.D. From the evo…
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NOTE: I am currently embarking on a new series featuring healing stories from those who have benefitted from psychedelics at the end of life, or in the face of a terminal diagnosis. I hope to interview those with direct personal experience, as well as relatives, friends, and clinicians with stories to share. Please email my producer if you would like to be interviewed on my program, and featured in a future book on this topic.

Wishing you Golden Light,

Dr. Richard Louis Miller

This podcast will always remain available at no cost. However, I’d like to offer my most loyal listeners additional options for enjoying my interviews – both as videos and transcripts.

Further Reading:


*Lightly edited for clarity and length

Dr. Richard L. Miller: Welcome to Mind Body Health and Politics. Wonderful to have you with us here today, Ira.

Dr. Ira Byock: It's great to be with you. Thanks for asking.

Dr. Richard L. Miller: You're a pioneer and have contributed to this entire field of palliative care. You wrote the wonderful book Best Care Possible 12 years ago in 2012. Though it's been over 11 years now, many people still don't know about palliative care. So please tell us: what exactly is palliative care?

What is Palliative Care?

Dr. Ira Byock: Palliative care is a team-based approach to caring for people living with serious illness and their families, caregivers, and loved ones. Palliative care brings an interdisciplinary team approach to people's physical, emotional, social, interpersonal, and spiritual well-being during the course of an illness. It grew out of hospice care in the United States.

Although palliative care developed from hospice care and is often conflated with end-of-life care, palliative care takes a similar approach to caring for people with serious illness and their families—not just those who are dying. In fact, people receiving palliative care are often also receiving disease-based treatments for conditions like heart failure, cancer, or neurological disorders. Palliative care provides a "team of teams" approach to giving people the best possible care through difficult times of illness and sometimes approaching the end of life.

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Mind Body Health & Politics
Psychedelic Wisdom
Psychology, Medicine, and Spirituality
Richard L. Miller