Primary palliative care in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of the evidence for models and outcomes

Anna Peeler, Oladayo Afolabi, Michael Adcock, Catherine Evans, Kennedy Nkhoma, Dorothee van Breevoort, Lindsay Farrant, Richard Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Serious health-related suffering is predicted to double in low- and middle-income countries by 2060. Primary care offers the best opportunity to meet Universal Health Coverage in an equitable way. Primary palliative care growth should be evidence-based to ensure provision is feasible, acceptable and culturally congruent.

AIM: To identify the current evidence related to primary palliative care and to describe how primary palliative is defined in this setting, dominant typologies of care and meaningful outcome measures in LMICs.

DESIGN: A systematic review and thematic synthesis was conducted. We described the nature, extent and distribution of published literature on primary palliative care in low- and middle-income countries, use thematic synthesis to characterize typologies of primary palliative care and design a process model for care delivery in low- and middle-income countries.

DATA SOURCES: Medline, Psychinfo, Global Health, Embase and CINAHL.

RESULTS: Thirty-five publications were included. Nearly half took place in Asia ( n  = 16, 45.7%). We identified five dominant typologies of primary palliative care, including delivery in primary care clinics by multidisciplinary healthcare teams and palliative care specialists, in people's homes by healthcare professionals and volunteers and in tertiary healthcare facilities by generalists. We designed a process model for how these models operate within larger health systems and identified barriers and facilitators to implementing primary palliative care in this context.

CONCLUSION: Evidence supporting primary palliative care in low- and middle-income countries is limited, and much of the published literature comes from Asia and southern Africa. Health systems in low- and middle-income countries have unique strengths and needs that affect primary palliative care services that should guide how services evolve to meet future need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2692163241248324
JournalPalliative Medicine
Early online date1 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2024

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