Bolstering General Practitioner Palliative Care: A Critical Review of Support Provided by Australian Guidelines for Life-Limiting Chronic Conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

General practitioners (GPs) are increasingly expected to provide palliative care as ageing populations put pressure on specialist services. Some GPs, however, cite barriers to providing this care including prognostication challenges and lack of confidence. Palliative care content within clinical practice guidelines might serve as an opportunistic source of informational support to GPs. This review analysed palliative care content within Australian guidelines for life-limiting conditions to determine the extent to which it might satisfy GPs' stated information needs and support them to provide quality end-of-life care. Six databases and guideline repositories were searched (2011-2018). Eligible guidelines were those for a GP audience and explicitly based on an appraisal of all available evidence. Content was mapped against an established palliative care domain framework (PEPSI-COLA) and quality was assessed using AGREE-II. The nine guidelines meeting inclusion criteria were heterogenous in scope and depth of palliative care domain coverage. The 'communication' needs domain was best addressed while patient physical and emotional needs were variably covered. Spiritual, out-of-hours, terminal care and aftercare content was scant. Few guidelines addressed areas GPs are known to find challenging or acknowledged useful decision-support tools. A template covering important domains might reduce content variability across guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number553
Number of pages15
JournalHealthcare
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • palliative care
  • general practitioners
  • practice guidelines as topic;
  • uncertainty
  • systematic review
  • Australia
  • professional competence
  • Uncertainty
  • General practitioners
  • Systematic review
  • Practice guidelines as topic
  • Professional competence
  • Palliative care

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