Palliative Care Literature Evaluation

Palliative Care Literature Evaluation


The healthcare sector is slowly incorporating palliative care units into the healthcare system of many facilities, and many people wonder why the specialty is coming up so quickly. The World Health Organization (WHO) annual reports indicate that many people are suffering and dying from life-threatening conditions such as heart diseases, cancer, and renal failure among many others. Palliative and hospice care is a recognized field of medicine that aims at relieving suffering, providing comprehensive care and improving the quality of life in people suffering from such conditions. The current project identified a gap present palliative care services provided to the patients by nurses. It is observed that many patients are not aware of the importance of palliative care, and many others have myths and misconceptions regarding palliative care services. Evidence-based practice indicates that educating nurses and equipping them with relevant skills in palliative care can help improve the patient turnover for palliative care seeking. This paper provides a critique and comparison of recent literature that supports nursing education as a measure of improving palliative care services to the patients.

A comparison of Research Questions

Research questions in a study enable the researchers to determine what exactly is needed for the project. A study conducted in India aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of certificate course in essentials of palliative care (CCEPC) among participants. The major question dealt with was; how effective is a CCEPC program in increasing knowledge of palliative care among the participants? (Bhatnagar and Patel, 2018) From the research question, the study was able to determine that the certificate program increases knowledge on palliative care. A similar study was conducted in Kuwait, and the researchers wanted to identify the perception and knowledge of pediatric physicians on palliative care. The major research question was; what are the barriers to the end of life palliative care services? (Al-Hajery et al., 2018) The researchers identified that lack of knowledge and skills on palliative care hinders service provision to the patients.

Palliative care is a broad field that has numerous research areas covered and many others remain dormant. A systematic review of studies was conducted to determine the nurse’s role palliative care services. What is the role of a nurse in palliative care? This research question enabled researchers to identify nurses as educators and coordinators of care for the patients (Sekse et al., 2018). A comparison of palliative care service provision with other developed countries aids in determining the existing gap on palliative care and a study conducted in the US determined that nursing education is needed to improve the services as compared to the UK. The research question used was; what are the deficiencies in palliative in the US as compared to other developed countries? (Ramsey and Matt, 2016).

A comparison of sample populations

Population samples in research are used to determine the validity and applicability of research findings to other areas apart from the research settings. Therefore, the high the population sample, the higher the applicability of the research. In palliative care, the recent literature uses varied population samples. Research conducted in Malaysia aimed at determining the challenges faced by nurses in palliative care service provision. The research incorporated 22 nurses from home care and inpatient palliative care units (Namasivayam et al., 2014). Another study conducted in Switzerland aimed at determining the challenges of inter-professional collaboration in community-based palliative care. The study used 91 doctors and 72 nurses. It is also observed that 24 group discussions were held within one year (Alvarado and Liebig, 2016).  Ethical issues in palliative care is a topic that is rarely researched on, but a study conducted in the US used 201 nurses to determine what ethical principles apply to palliative care nursing (Namasivayam, O’connor and Barnett, 2014). As observed by the researchers, various populations are used in data collection to come up with more accurate results.

A comparison of Limitations

No single research is conducted without shortcomings. A study conducted in Australia to determine the role of nurses in facilitating effective palliative care portrays the following limitations. The study only used participants from two home-based care settings proving the limited applicability of the results to other care settings. Secondly, the sample used was self-selected leading to some degree of biases (Kirby, Broom and Good, 2014). A similar limitation is observed in the study conducted by Al-Hajery, Al-Mutairi, and Ayed (2018) to determine perception and barriers to end of life palliative in Kuwait. The authors acknowledge that the sample size used was small because it was a regional study.

The use of control groups or studies is another limitation that affects the studies used in the project. For instance, the effectiveness of CCEPC program in improving knowledge on palliative care conducted in India did not use a control group (Bhatnagar and Patel, 2018). It is also observed that the study period used leading to their conclusions was of short duration. This study also used only the members who were interested thus the results obtained are questionable.


A literature review is a process in research that gives the researcher more insight on the topic of discussion and the previous findings that can boost the current studies. From the above analysis, it is observed that various research questions, sample populations, and methodologies are used in research. It is also evident that no research is done without limitations and from the literature analysis in this project, the major limitation facing researchers is the sample population used in research. Further research is needed on palliative care especially on the effectiveness of nursing education and improvement of palliative care services. More studies focusing on large population samples should be conducted to come up with more valid results on palliative care nursing and its challenges.


Al-Hajery, M., Al-Mutairi H., & Ayed A. (2018). Perception, Knowledge and Barriers to End of Life Palliative Care among Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Physicians. Journal of Palliative Care and Medicine 8: 326.

Alvarado V., & Liebig B. (2016). Inter-Professional Collaboration between Family Doctors and Nurses at the End of Life; Challenges of Community-Based Palliative Care in Switzerland. Journal of  Community & Public Health Nursing 2:124.

Bhatnagar, S., & Patel, A. (2018). Effectiveness of the certificate course in essentials of palliative care program on the knowledge in palliative care among the participants: A cross-sectional interventional study. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 24(1), 86.

Kirby, E., Broom, A., & Good, P. (2014). The role and significance of nurses in managing transitions to palliative care: a qualitative study. British Medical Journal open, 4(9), e006026.

Namasivayam, P., Lee, S., O’connor, M., & Barnett, T. (2014). Caring for families of the terminally ill in Malaysia from palliative care nurses’ perspectives. Journal of clinical nursing, 23(1-2), 173-180.

Namasivayam, P., Lee, S., O’connor, M., & Barnett, T. (2014). Caring for families of the terminally ill in Malaysia from palliative care nurses’ perspectives. Journal of clinical nursing, 23(1-2), 173-180.

Ramsey, R. J. M., & Matt, S. B. (2016). Policy Review and Recommendations: Palliative Care for Pediatric Patients in the United States of America. Journal of Community & Public Health Nursing.

Sekse, R. J. T., Hunskår, I., & Ellingsen, S. (2018). The nurse’s role in palliative care: A qualitative meta‐synthesis. Journal of clinical nursing, 27(1-2), e21-e38.