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Magyar Hospice-Palliatív Egyesület

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Patient and Family Preferences About Place of End-of-Life Care and Death: An Umbrella Review

2024. január 16.

Sara Pinto, PhD; Sílvia Lopes, PhD; Andrea Bruno de Sousa, PhD; Mayra Delalibera, PhD; Barbara Gomes, PhD

The place where people are cared towards the end of their life and die is a complex phenomenon, requiring a deeper understanding. Honoring preferences is critical for the delivery of high-quality care.

In this umbrella review we examine and synthesize the evidence regarding preferences about place of end-of-life care and death of patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Following the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology, we conducted a comprehensive search for systematic reviews in PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Epistemonikos, and PROSPERO without language restrictions.

The search identified 15 reviews (10 high-quality, three with meta-analysis), covering 229 nonoverlapping primary studies. Home is the most preferred place of end-of-life care for both patients (11%–89%) and family members (23%–84%). It is also the most preferred place of death (patient estimates from two meta-analyses: 51%–55%). Hospitals and hospice/palliative care facilities are preferred by substantial minorities. Reasons and factors affecting preferences include illness-related, individual, and environmental. Differences between preferred places of care and death are underexplored and the evidence remains inconclusive about changes over time. Congruence between preferred and actual place of death ranges 21%-100%, is higher in studies since 2004 and a meta-analysis shows noncancer patients are at higher risk of incongruence than cancer patients (OR 1.23, 95% CI: 1.01–1.49, I2 = 62%).

These findings are a crucial starting point to address gaps and enhance strategies to align care with patient and family preferences. To accurately identify patient and family preferences is an important opportunity to change their lives positively.

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