alexa The level of need for palliative care: a systematic review of the literature.


International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology

Author(s): Franks PJ, Salisbury C, Bosanquet N, Wilkinson EK, Lorentzon M,

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Abstract Palliative care services have developed rapidly over the past 30 years, with little evaluation as to how needs have been met by these new services. As part of a systematic review of palliative care, evidence of the needs of patients and carers has been evaluated from the current literature. Of the total of 673 articles related to the 10 areas within the main review, 64 provided evidence on the need for palliative care services over the period from 1978 to 1997. A further nine articles were added in November 1998 after the end of the study of update the review with more recent research. Need can be assessed in one of two ways: either by adopting an epidemiological approach or by examining health service usage. In the former, evidence is provided on disease-specific mortality, and related to the duration of symptoms prior to the patient's death. As an example of this, it is suggested that services may need to provide pain control for 2800 patients per million (p/M) population dying from cancer each year and 3400 p/M with noncancer terminal illness. Using health service usage as an indicator of need, 700-1800 p/M with cancer and 350-1400 p/M with noncancer terminal illness would require a support team or specialist palliative home care nurse, with 400-700 cancer p/M and 200-700 noncancer p/M requiring inpatient terminal care. Studies indicate that at present usage, palliative care is being provided by 40-50 hospice beds/M. Despite this provision, there remains evidence that in certain areas of care such as pain control, there still remains a high degree of unmet need.
This article was published in Palliat Med and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology

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