Author(s): Maharaj S, Harding R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Palliative care provision is expanding in low and middle income countries. Services are developing in the Caribbean in response to the region's ageing population, the significant burden of cancer, non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS. Appraisal of the existing evidence on palliative care needs, models of care, interventions and outcomes in the Caribbean is essential to inform emerging practice and future research. METHODS: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. Following implementation of a search strategy, titles, abstracts and full texts were screened. Data from nine studies were synthesized. The Qualsyst tools were used to assess the quality of quantitative and qualitative studies. Data were extracted into a common table, and themes were generated from the available peer review evidence using narrative synthesis. RESULTS: Nine papers were retained for appraisal. Eight papers described palliative care needs in the Caribbean. The needs for analgesia, support for patients, education and training of staff in palliative care and palliative care services were identified in the literature. Models of care for palliative care in the Caribbean were not described in great depth (n = 2 papers) and no intervention studies were found. Outcomes of palliative care such as quality of life, quality of care, and patient's preferred place of care and death were identified from six papers. Quantitative methodology was used in seven of the nine papers in this review. One paper used a mixed methodology design, and one a qualitative approach. CONCLUSIONS: Research from the Caribbean highlights the need for health care policy, training of staff, education, and access to analgesia and palliative care support services in this region. This sparse evidence must be taken into consideration with cultural beliefs and preferences of the Caribbean population in order to achieve improved outcomes for patients, their caregivers and health care professionals. This underscores the importance for more research in the field of palliative care in the Caribbean.
This article was published in BMC Palliat Care
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology