Author ORCID Identifier

M. Courtney Hughes:

Erin Vernon:

Document Type


Publication Title

Age and Ageing


Background: there is evidence that community-based palliative care programs can improve patient outcomes and caregiver experiences cost-effectively. However, little is known about which specific components within these programs contribute to improving the outcomes.

Aim: to systematically review research that evaluates the effectiveness of community-based palliative care components.

Design: a systematic mixed studies review synthesizing quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods study findings using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. PROSPERO: ID # CRD42022302305.

Data sources: four databases were searched in August 2021 (CINAHL, Web of Science, ProQuest Federated, and PubMed including MEDLINE), and a close review of included article references. Inclusion criteria required articles to evaluate a single, specific component of a community-based palliative care program either within an individual program or across several programs.

Results: overall a total of 1674 articles were identified, with 57 meeting the inclusion criteria. Of the included studies, 21 were qualitative, 25 were quantitative and 11 had mixed methods. Outcome measures consistently examined included patient/caregiver satisfaction, hospital utilization, and home deaths. The components of standardized sessions (interdisciplinary meetings about patients), volunteer engagement and early intervention contributed to the success of community-based palliative care programs.

Conclusions: certain components of community-based palliative care programs are effective. Such components should be implemented and tested more in low- and middle-income countries and key and vulnerable populations such as lower-income and marginalized racial or ethnic groups. Additionally, more research is needed on the cost-effectiveness of individual program components.

First Page


Last Page



Publication Date


Original Citation

Hughes, M. C., Vernon, E., & Hainstock, A. (2023). The effectiveness of community-based palliative care programme components: a systematic review. Age and Ageing, 52(9), afad175.


School of Health Studies



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