Lessons from the Literature

Volume 24, Number 4: April 2023

On My Radar

On My Radar comprises selections from a literature search by communications expert Barry AshpoleThe focus is on key issues in end-of-life care for which the full text is freely available online. However, a few noteworthy articles without full access, as well as news media reports, are sometimes included. 

Navigating the Uncharted Terrain: A review of palliative care services in Africa. Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine 2023; 13(1). DOI: 10.4172/2165-7386.1000498 Full text

[A] high burden of disease, limited health care infrastructure, and a shortage of trained health care professionals hinder the provision of palliative care services in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite these difficulties, several initiatives and programs aimed at improving access to palliative care in the region are identified… However, the literature also highlighted the need for more research to understand the specific barriers to access and to develop effective strategies for addressing them. By providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of palliative care in Africa, this article aims to raise awareness and generate action to improve the provision of palliative care services in the region.

Integrating Palliative Care into Oncology Care Worldwide: The right care in the right place at the right time. Current Treatment Options in Oncology 2023. DOI: 10.1007/s11864-023-01060-9 Full text

[C]are must be provided in an equitable and culturally sensitive manner, recognizing the challenges associated with the delivery of high-quality palliative care to both patients in high-income countries who live in rural areas, as well as to those in low- and middle-income countries. A one-size-fits-all model will not suffice, and there is an urgent need to develop innovative context-specific models of palliative care integration worldwide, in order to provide the right care, in the right place, and at the right time… Here, we review recent evidence regarding palliative care provision throughout the course of a cancer illness. We argue that in order to ensure that patients worldwide have access to palliative care, all available resources will need to be utilized, including primary care clinicians as well as specialists, practicing in home, inpatient and outpatient settings, and providing care in rural areas in addition to urban centres. 

Unmet Palliative Care Service Needs: A patient-centred metric. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2023. DOI: 10.1136/spcare-2023-004190 Full text

Financial pressures and competing demands for limited resources highlight the importance of defining the unmet need for specialty inpatient palliative care (PC), demonstrating the value of the service line and making decisions about staffing. One measure of access to specialty PC is penetration, the percentage of hospitalized adults receiving PC consultations. Although useful, additional means of quantifying program performance are required for evaluating access by patients who would benefit. The study sought to define a simplified method of calculating unmet need for inpatient PC: the number of hospitalized patients with four or more chronic serious comorbidities without a PC consultation divided by a denominator of all patients with one or more chronic serious conditions (CSCs) without a PC during the hospitalization.

COMPASS Ghana project: conference abstract & press release

One Step At A Time: Using compassionate communities’ model (COMPASS Ghana) to impact on the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care in resource-poor setting. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2023. Marie Curie Research Conference abstract.

A New Model of Palliative Care to Empower Communities in Africa. University of Lancaster press release. Published February 23, 2023 in American Association for the Advancement of Science EurekAlert.

Read Barry Ashpole's bio.

Comments? Send them to Barry Ashpole.

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