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Patient awareness of palliative care: systematic review
  1. Bahrami Masoud1,
  2. Bagheri Imane2 and
  3. Salmani Naiire3
  1. 1 Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  2. 2 College of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
  3. 3 Research Center for Nursing and Midwifery Care, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
  1. Correspondence to Dr Salmani Naiire, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, Yazd 14115, Iran; n.salmani{at}


Background One of the barriers to the integration of palliative care within the process of patient care and treatment is the lack of awareness of patients about palliative care. In order to develop efficient resources to improve patient awareness, comprehensive information is required to determine the specific aspects of palliative care where a paucity of evidence on patient awareness exists. This review aims to synthesise evidence from previous studies in order to provide a comprehensive information set about the current state of patient awareness of palliative care.

Methods In this systematic literature review, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, ProQuest, Magiran, Scientific Information Database(SID) and Islamic Science Citation (ISC) were searched to identify articles published between 2000 and 2021 that considered patients’ awareness of palliative care.

Results Of the 5347 articles found, 22 studies were retained after quality evaluation; three full-text articles were excluded. Nineteen articles are included in this review. More than half of the patients did not have any information about palliative care or hospice care. Some patients accurately defined hospice care and palliative care; other patients had misunderstandings about palliative care. Patients had limited information about pastoral care, social care and bereavement care. Patients’ awareness about individuals or centres providing palliative care or hospice care was limited. Video presentation and distribution of information at the community level indicated that this method would be beneficial in increasing the awareness.

Conclusion The review points to the need for patient education programmes and interventional studies to increase patients’ awareness.

  • supportive care
  • hospice care

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Meybod Nursing School, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Meybod Nursing School, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

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  • Contributors SN and BI conceived the presented idea. They also planned and conducted the literature search and the data collection. BI and BM contributed to the design and the analytical methods. SN and BI contributed to data interpretation. SN is responsible for the overall content of the article.

  • Funding This project was funded by the Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Centre of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.