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Palliative Oncologic Care Curricula For Providers In Resource-Limited And Underserved Communities: A Systematic Review

M. Xu, David Su, R. Deboer, M. García, P. Tahir, W. Anderson, A. Kinderman, S. Braunstein, T. Sherertz
Published 2017 · Medicine

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Familiarity with principles of palliative care, supportive care, and palliative oncological treatment is essential for providers caring for cancer patients, though this may be challenging in global communities where resources are limited. Herein, we describe the scope of literature on palliative oncological care curricula for providers in resource-limited settings. A systematic literature review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Med Ed Portal databases, and gray literature. All available prospective cohort studies, case reports, and narratives published up to July 2017 were eligible for review. Fourteen articles were identified and referenced palliative care education programs in Argentina, Uganda, Kenya, Australia, Germany, the USA, or multiple countries. The most common teaching strategy was lecture-based, followed by mentorship and experiential learning involving role play and simulation. Education topics included core principles of palliative care, pain and symptom management, and communication skills. Two programs included additional topics specific to the underserved or American Indian/Alaskan Native community. Only one program discussed supportive cancer care, and no program reported educational content on resource-stratified decision-making for palliative oncological treatment. Five programs reported positive participant satisfaction, and three programs described objective metrics of increased educational or research activity. There is scant literature on effective curricula for providers treating cancer patients in resource-limited settings. Emphasizing supportive cancer care and palliative oncologic treatments may help address gaps in education; increased outcome reporting may help define the impact of palliative care curriculum within resource-limited communities.
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