How We Should Assess the Delivery of End-of-Life Care in General Practice: A Systematic Review

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Background: The majority of end-of-life (EOL) care occurs in general practice. However, we still have little knowledge about how this care is delivered or how it can be assessed and supported. Aim: (i) To review the existing evaluation tools used for assessment of the delivery of EOL care from the perspective of general practice; (ii) To describe how EOL care is provided in general practice; (iii) To identify major areas of concern in providing EOL care in this context. Design: A systematic review. Data Sources: Systematic searches of major electronic databases (Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL) from inception to 2017 were used to identify evaluation tools focusing on organizational structures/systems and process of end-of-life care from a general practice perspective. Results: A total of 43 studies representing nine evaluation tools were included. A relatively restricted focus and lack of validation were common limitations. Key general practitioner (GP) activities assessed by the evaluation tools were summarized and the main issues in current GP EOL care practice were identified. Conclusions: The review of evaluation tools revealed that GPs are highly involved in management of patients at the EOL, but there are a range of issues relating to the delivery of care. An EOL care registration system integrated with electronic health records could provide an optimal approach to address the concerns about recall bias and time demands in retrospective analyses. Such a system should ideally capture the core GP activities and any major issues in care provision on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1790-1805
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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