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Acute palliative care models: scoping review

Abstract

Objective The goal of this scoping review is to identify the most commonly used models of palliative care delivery in acute care settings, their advantages and disadvantages, and to review existent research evidence in support of each model.

Methods We conducted an extensive search using EMBASE, Medline, CINAHL and Pubmed, using various combinations of terms relating to models in palliative care and acute care settings. Data were analysed using tabular summaries and content analysis.

Results 41 articles were analysed. Four models were identified: primary, consultative, integrative and hybrid models of palliative care. All four models have varying characteristics in terms of access to specialist palliative care; fragmentation of healthcare services; therapeutic relationships between patients and providers; optimal usage of scarce palliative care resources; timing of provision of palliative care; communication and collaboration between providers and clarity of provider roles. Moreover, all four models have different patient outcomes and healthcare utilisation. Gaps in research limit the ability to determine what model of care is more applicable in an acute care setting.

Conclusion No ideal model of care was identified. Each model had its advantages and disadvantages. Future work is needed to investigate which setting one model may be better than the other.

  • Hospital care
  • Quality of life
  • Symptoms and symptom management
  • Terminal care

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