Palliative care in the home: a scoping review of study quality, primary outcomes, and thematic component analysis

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Tom Noseworthy – National Research Affiliate, Article

Hofmeister, Mark, Memedovich, Ally, Dowsett, Laura E., Sevick, Laura, McCarron, Tamara, Spackman, Eldon, Stafinski, Tania, Menon, Devidas, Noseworthy, Tom & Clement, Fiona. 2018. “Palliative care in the home: a scoping review of study quality, primary outcomes, and thematic component analysis.”  BMC Palliative Care 17(1): 1-7.  DOI: 10.1186/s12904-018-0299-z.


Background: The aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients and families through the prevention and relief of suffering. Frequently, patients may choose to receive palliative care in the home. The objective of this paper is to summarize the quality and primary outcomes measured within the palliative care in the home literature. This will synthesize the current state of the literature and inform future work. Methods: A scoping review was completed using PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, EconLit, PsycINFO, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database were searched from inception to August 2016. Inclusion criteria included: 1) care was provided in the "home of the patient" as defined by the study, 2) outcomes were reported, and 3) reported original data. Thematic component analysis was completed to categorize interventions. Results: Fifty-three studies formed the final data set. The literature varied extensively. Five themes were identified: accessibility of healthcare, caregiver support, individualized patient centered care, multidisciplinary care provision, and quality improvement. Primary outcomes were resource use, symptom burden, quality of life, satisfaction, caregiver distress, place of death, cost analysis, or described experiences. The majority of studies were of moderate or unclear quality. Conclusions: There is robust literature of varying quality, assessing different components of palliative care in the home interventions, and measuring different outcomes. To be meaningful to patients, these interventions need to be consistently evaluated with outcomes that matter to patients. Future research could focus on reaching a consensus for outcomes to evaluate palliative care in the home interventions.

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