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128 Palliative care for homeless people: a systematic review of systematic reviews for an evidence based clinical guideline
  1. Anna Gray
  1. King’s College London and St Francis Hospice (Romford)


Background Homeless people die much younger and have higher rates of ill-health compared to the general population. This systematic review of systematic reviews seeks to understand 1. views and preferences of homeless people regarding palliative care, 2. barriers and facilitators to homeless people accessing palliative care and 3. evidence for advance care planning interventions in palliative care for homeless people. This informed the development of a guideline for use by healthcare professionals providing palliative care for homeless patients.

Methods Searches took place of PubMed, Embase, PscyhINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, Medline and Cochrane Library from inception to December 2019. The quality of the studies was assessed using SIGN Methodology checklist 1. The GRADE system was then used to assess the quality of the evidence and strength of the recommendations. Themes were identified following data analysis.

Results Five systematic reviews met the eligibility criteria. Three were rated as moderate quality, one as poor quality and one as unacceptable quality. Nine types of themes were then identified. First, views and preferences; homeless people recall poor experiences of healthcare in the past and have unique concerns regarding their health. Five barriers to palliative care were also identified, namely; lack of basic needs being met, having competing priorities, being ill-informed about their condition, hospice and hostel staff having insufficient knowledge, and poor co-ordination of care. The emerging facilitator was that homeless patients trust the staff they already know. Finally, many homeless patients benefit from advance care planning interventions, if they feel able to engage in the process. The quality of the recommendations was moderate to low. The strength of the recommendations was mostly strong.

Conclusions In this review, the views, preferences, barriers, facilitators, and interventions in palliative care for homeless people were established, informing a new clinical guideline.

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