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Patient awareness of palliative care: systematic review


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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