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Rehabilitation medicine in palliative care of chronic neurological conditions


Background People living with long-term neurological conditions (LTNC) often require palliative care. Rehabilitation medicine specialists often coordinate the long-term care of these patients.

Objective The aim of the present review was to undertake systematic literature searches to identify the evidence on palliative care for people with LTNC to guide rehabilitation medicine specialists caring for these patients in the UK.

Methods We searched for evidence for (1) discussion of end of life, (2) planning for end-of-life care, (3) brief specialist palliative care interventions, (4) support for family and carers, (5) training of rehabilitation medicine specialists in palliative care, and (6) commissioning of services. The databases searched were MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, NHS Economic Evaluation Database and Health Technology Assessment Database. Evidence was assimilated using a simplified version of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation method.

Results We identified 2961 records through database searching for neurological conditions and 1261 additional records through database searches for specific symptoms. We removed duplicate records and conference presentations. We screened 3234 titles and identified 330 potentially relevant abstracts. After reading the abstracts we selected 34 studies for inclusion in the evidence synthesis.

Conclusions From the evidence reviewed we would like to recommend that we move forward by establishing a closer working relationship with specialists in palliative care and rehabilitation medicine and explore the implications for cross-specialty training.

  • chronic conditions
  • neurological conditions
  • rehabilitation
  • supportive care

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