What do we know about different models of providing palliative care? Findings from a systematic review of reviews

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Abstract

Background:

A wide range of organisational models of palliative care exist. However, decision makers need more information about which models are likely to be most effective in different settings and for different patient groups.

Aim:

To identify the existing range of models of palliative care that have been evaluated, what is already known and what further information is essential if the most effective and cost-effective models are to be identified and replicated more widely.

Design:

A review of systematic and narrative reviews according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Study quality was assessed using the AMSTAR (A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Reviews) tool.

Data sources:

MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Web of Science and ASSIA were searched for reviews about models of service provision from 2000 to 2014 and supplemented with Google searches of the grey literature.

Results:

Much of the evidence relates to home-based palliative care, although some models are delivered across care settings. Reviews report several potential advantages and few disadvantages of models of palliative care delivery. However, under-reporting of the components of intervention and comparator models are major barriers to the evaluation and implementation of models of palliative care.

Conclusion:

Irrespective of setting or patient characteristics, models of palliative care appear to show benefits and some models of palliative care may reduce total healthcare costs. However, much more detailed and systematic reporting of components and agreement about outcome measures is essential in order to understand the key components and successfully replicate effective organisational models.

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