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Patient card games in palliative care: integrative review


Background In the context of palliative care, a new approach has been documented that allows for sensitive end-of-life conversations to be established through a game of cards.

Objective This study aimed to identify the use of card games with patients in palliative care, assess self-reported satisfaction and synthesise findings on the effectiveness of its application.

Design We performed an integrative review study. The studies were collected from five databases, with no time limit until February 2021: Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, SCOPUS and Scientific Electronic Library Online. The inclusion criteria were studies describing the use of card games in adult patients undergoing palliative care, in which the authors performed some type of evaluation. The methodological evaluation of the studies was carried out using the different standardised assessment tools from the Joanna Brigg’s Institute.

Results Of the 685 articles identified, 9 met the inclusion criteria. Regarding methodological aspects, 4 studies were quantitative, 4 mixed-method methodologies, and 1 was qualitative. Card games have been in use for the last decade. The use of card games not only allows for participation in the game without any inhibitions and with a high degree of satisfaction, but also allows for the discussion of sensitive topics related to the end of life, motivating participants to engage in advanced care planning behaviours.

Conclusion Our findings suggest that using a card game to facilitate conversations with patients in palliative care is a useful and effective approach to discussing uncomfortable topics of death, dying and end-of-life care.

  • terminal care
  • clinical assessment
  • communication
  • end of life care

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Not applicable’.

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