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Systematic review with meta-analysis
Palliative care improves quality of life and reduces symptom burden in adults with life-limiting illness
  1. Despina Anagnostou
  1. Marie Curie Research Centre, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Despina Anagnostou, Marie Curie, Palliative Care Research Centre, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, 1st Floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4YS, UK; anagnostoud{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Palliative care (PC) improves patients' quality of life and symptom burden. There is also some evidence that it increases care satisfaction and reduces healthcare usage.

  • The impact of PC on caregiver outcomes needs more attention in future research.

  • PC needs a standardised outcome measurement framework to be able to fully demonstrate its impact.

  • Further development of integrated PC models is needed.


Palliative care (PC) focuses on improving quality of life (QoL) and reducing suffering for seriously ill patients and their families, and has become an international health priority.1 The previous decade saw increasing evidence of an association between PC and better outcomes.2 As a result, PC has been included in international guidelines, which recommend PC integration early in the disease trajectory.1


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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.