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Background: Even though data suggest that palliative care (PC) improves patient quality of life, caregiver burden, cost, and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, integration of PC in the ICU is far from being universally accepted. Poor understanding of what PC provides is one of the barriers to the widespread implementation of their services in ICU. Evidence suggests that the availability of specialist PC is lacking in most European countries and provided differently depending on geographical location. The aim of this systematic review is to compare the numbers and types of PC interventions and gauge their impact on stakeholder outcomes and ICU resource utilisation. Methods: We will undertake a systematic review of the published peer-reviewed journal articles; our search will be carried out MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. The search strategy will include variations in the term 'palliative care' and 'intensive care'. All studies with patient populations undergoing palliative care interventions will be selected. Only full-text articles will be considered, and conference abstracts excluded. There will be no date restrictions on the year of publications or on language. The primary aim of the present study is to compare the numbers and types of PC interventions in ICU and their impact on stakeholder (patient, family, clinician, other) outcomes. Reporting of findings will follow the Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Discussion: This review will provide insight into the implementation of palliative care in ICU, elucidate differences between countries and health systems, reveal most effective models, and contribute to identifying research priorities to improve outcomes.
Metaxa, V., Anagnostou, D., Vlachos, S., Arulkumaran, N., Van Dusseldorp, I., Bensemmane, S., … Curtis, R. (2019). Palliative care interventions in intensive care unit patients - A systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-019-1064-y