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Evaluative research on palliative support teams: a literature review.

Francke, A.L. Evaluative research on palliative support teams: a literature review. Patient Education and Counseling: 2000, 41(1), 83-91
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Sixteen studies on the effectiveness of palliative support teams were analyzed. It was established that in most cases uncontrolled designs with repeated measurements were used. The assessment methods varied strongly. However, the Support Team Assessment Schedule was the most frequently used instrument. Effects reported on patients' physical symptoms, such as pain, were for the most part positive. Fewer effects were reported regarding psychosocial and spiritual problems of patients and relatives. For instance, various studies indicated that feelings of anxiety did not diminsh after referral to a palliative support team. Results about the effects on use and costs of health care services did not point in a clear direction. Accordingly it is unclear whether palliative support teams reduce or increase care consumption and costs. Given the sometimes contradictory findings and the small number of studies conducted, future high-quality research into the effectiveness of palliative support teams is needed. (aut.ref.)