Multicomponent Palliative Care Interventions in Advanced Chronic Diseases: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background:

Many patients live with serious chronic or terminal illnesses. Multicomponent palliative care interventions have been increasingly utilized in patient care; however, it is unclear what is being implemented and who is delivering these interventions.

Objectives:

To (1) describe the delivery of multicomponent palliative care interventions, (2) characterize the disciplines delivering care, (3) identify the components being implemented, and (4) analyze whether the number of disciplines or components being implemented are associated with positive outcomes.

Design:

Systematic review.

Study Selection:

English-language articles analyzing multicomponent palliative care interventions.

Outcomes Measured:

Delivery of palliative interventions by discipline, components of palliative care implemented, and number of positive outcomes (eg, pain, quality of life).

Results:

Our search strategy yielded 71 articles, which detailed 64 unique multicomponent palliative care interventions. Nurses (n = 64, 88%) were most often involved in delivering care, followed by physicians (n = 43, 67%), social workers (n = 33, 52%), and chaplains (n = 19, 30%). The most common palliative care components patients received were symptom management (n = 56, 88%), psychological support/counseling (n = 52, 81%), and disease education (n = 48, 75%). Statistical analysis did not uncover an association between number of disciplines or components and positive outcomes.

Conclusions:

While there has been growth in multicomponent palliative care interventions over the past 3 decades, important aspects require additional study such as better inclusion of key groups (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, end-stage renal disease, minorities, older adults); incorporating core components of palliative care (eg, interdisciplinary team, integrating caregivers, providing spiritual support); and developing ways to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions that can be readily replicated and disseminated.

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