Dying in the Margins: Understanding Palliative Care and Socioeconomic Deprivation in the Developed World

Joanne M. Lewis, Michelle DiGiacomo, David C. Currow, Patricia M. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Context
Individuals from low socioeconomic (SE) groups have less resources and poorer health outcomes. Understanding the nature of access to appropriate end-of-life care services for this group is important.

Objectives
To evaluate the literature in the developed world for barriers to access for low SE groups.

Methods
Electronic databases searched in the review included MEDLINE (1996–2010), CINAHL (1996–2010), PsychINFO (2000–2010), Cochrane Library (2010), and EMBASE (1996–2010). Publications were searched for key terms “socioeconomic disadvantage,” “socioeconomic,” “poverty,” “poor” paired with “end-of-life care,” “palliative care,” “dying,” and “terminal Illness.” Articles were analyzed using existing descriptions for dimensions of access to health services, which include availability, affordability, acceptability, and geographical access.

Results
A total of 67 articles were identified for the literature review. Literature describing end-of-life care and low SE status was limited. Findings from the review were summarized under the headings for dimensions of access.

Conclusion
Low SE groups experience barriers to access in palliative care services. Identification and evaluation of interventions aimed at reducing this disparity is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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