Scoping review summary

The Knowledge and Implementation Hub (the Hub) team conducted a scoping review of published research literature to identify evidence on the priority topic of palliative care and end of life in aged care settings. We have summarised this evidence in the form of ‘evidence themes.’ Each theme describes a specific issue within the broader topic of palliative care and end of life.

This page provides a brief overview of the scoping review process. For more detailed information, please see the PDF version of the scoping review report.

What we did

We searched five major databases using a wide range of terms covering multiple aspects of palliative and end-of-life care. Searches were limited to English-language systematic reviews published since 2012. All database searches were run on 8 September 2022. Citations retrieved were uploaded into Covidence for screening against the inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers. Included studies had to describe palliative or end-of-life care provided to older people in receipt of aged care services. They also needed to provide evidence of a systematic search process and some form of critical appraisal of their included studies. 

We also convened an Evidence Advisory Group comprising experts in the field of palliative care. This group provided us with feedback on the scoping review methodology and preliminary results. Individual members also reviewed the final evidence themes before they were made public on the Hub website.

Keeping evidence themes current

The evidence themes on this topic will be kept current via regular, scheduled updates. For this, newly published systematic reviews with relevance to the topic within aged care will be identified using Google Scholar, Medline (Ovid), and CINAHL. Systematic reviews on an issue covered by an existing evidence theme were used to update that theme’s content. This might mean including new information or making changes to conclusions based on the strength or direction of the more recent evidence. If the update process reveals an important new issue, a new evidence theme will be produced.   

What we found

The searches retrieved 2331 citations for screening. From these, 78 systematic reviews were judged relevant to the topic and the aged care context. Within these reviews, we identified four distinct themes including:

We have summarised the evidence relating to each theme topic to help the aged care sector make informed decisions around care approaches or issues. Where possible, we include brief statements on the quality of the underlying evidence, what is known to be effective, and where further research is needed. Based on ongoing analysis of the review findings, more evidence themes may be added to the set over time.