International palliative care research priorities: A systematic review

Globally 40 million people are estimated to need palliative care each year, however only 14% receive such care. Worldwide reports forecast that demand for palliative care is set to escalate over the next several decades, yet a lack of evidence synthesis has resulted in  undefined research priorities despite the increasing evidence on palliative care research priorities.  Thus, a systematic review was conducted to identify the research priority areas within palliative care. Seven priority areas were identified: (1) service models; (2) continuity of care; (3) training and education; (4) inequality; (5) communication; (6) living well and independently; and (7) recognizing family/carer needs and the importance of families. Notably, primary care was emphasized within the priority areas. The systematic review identified a need for innovative models to deliver palliative care to patients in primary care, as well as training and development in palliative care for primary care providers. Furthermore, improved communication between primary care practitioners and hospitals to support greater continuity of care was cited as a critical area for research. This systematic review generated a list of common denominators within the palliative care landscape which may provide a template to understand the commonalities of research, identify gaps, and extend the palliative care research agenda.

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