Background Modern palliative care began in the hospice movement led by Dr. Cicely Saunders. In Korea, it was started earlier but built the foundation recently regarding Korean medicine (KM). In 2015, the strategy for development of KM was established. It included the guidelines of cancer-related fatigue and anorexia.
Objectives The aim was to figure out the current state of hospice·palliative care (HPC) and evaluate the effectiveness of KM in terms of HPC.
Methods Systemic reviews published until Feb 2017. Literatures in international journals were searched on PubMed, MEDLINE, ScienceDirect and CINAHL; and articles in Korean journal on OASIS operated by the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine. Keywords were palliative care with acupuncture, moxibustion and herb medicine in English and Korean.
Results The results in acupuncture, moxibustion and herb medicine were 19, 3 and 15 respectively. First, acupuncture was effective to relieve nausea and vomiting, anxiety, cancer-related fatigue and leukopenia. Second, moxibustion was helpful for treating nausea and vomiting, cancer-related fatigue and leukopenia. Third, herb medicine was beneficial to improve quality of life and make the scales of immune system better. But there were some conflictive outcomes about other symptoms. Nevertheless, our view was there was no or slight adverse effect and most patients treated with KM were satisfied. Recently the number of hospitals and medical staff for HPC has been increasing but not enough compared with the number of patients who need HPC. Additionally the number of patients using KM has grown and the classification of them varied but the National Health Insurance didn‘t cover it sufficiently.
Conclusion The result of this review suggested that KM was effective for some symptoms related to terminal cancer patients. Therefore it may be the appropriate treatment for palliative care. This is the reason why we should make effort for KM to be more developed for end-of-life patients.
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