Palliative care interventions and end-of-life care as reported by patients' post-stroke and their families: a systematic review
European journal of cardiovascular nursing
AIMS: Internationally, there is an urgent need to implement guidelines supporting integration of palliative care into stroke clinical practice. Despite considerable advances in acute stroke management, ∼20% of all acute stroke patients die within the first 30 days. Palliative care is well established in diseases such as cancer or advanced heart failure, but evidence-based interventions of high quality are limited in stroke populations. This systematic review aims to identify and evaluate quantitative studies that describe palliative care interventions and end-of-life care as reported by patient's post-stroke and their families. METHODS AND RESULTS: A systematic review following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines was conducted in Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PubMed, Cochrane, Embase, Ovid, Proquest, and Scopus from 1990 to April 2021. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute standardized quality rating tools for quality assessment were used. Seven studies were identified, and all used descriptive quantitative designs. There were no interventional studies. The results were synthesized narratively according to the elements of palliative care interventions and end-of-life care: symptom burden and satisfaction, loss of autonomy at the end of life, and acknowledging uncertainty. CONCLUSION: This review highlights the limited empirical evidence that describes palliative care interventions and end-of-life care as reported by patient's post-stroke and their families. Most of the current evidence focuses on the provision of care during the final days and hours of life, or end-of-life care, with little evidence to guide the integration of palliative care into post-stroke clinical care, especially for patients with an uncertain prognosis. Acute stroke is sudden, unexpected, and life-changing, and patients and families would benefit from well-designed targeted interventions to determine strategies that address the diverse palliative needs of this patient population. REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42021254536.
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National Health and Medical Research Council