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End-of-life care pathways
Luhrs CA, Penrod JD. End-of-life care pathways. Current opinion in supportive and palliative care. 2007 Oct 1; 1(3):198-201.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To summarize recent research findings about the use and effects of integrated care pathways for end-of-life care. RECENT FINDINGS: Integrated care pathways designed for patients at the end of life include the Liverpool Care Pathway, used widely in the UK, and Palliative Care for Advanced Disease, developed in the USA. There is general consensus in the current literature that integrated care pathways improve standardization, continuity and collaboration among the interdisciplinary team. Although recent studies on integrated care pathways for dying patients have been predominantly descriptive, previous studies demonstrate improved symptom assessment, documentation of care goals, compliance with standardized guidelines and pain control. SUMMARY: The use of integrated care pathways for dying patients has the potential to improve care by promoting best practice and standardizing care. In addition, these pathways may improve documentation and provide a mechanism for measuring patient outcomes. Although recent studies on the use of these integrated care pathways are descriptive, some publications have demonstrated improved patient outcomes and processes of care. As their use expands, more studies on the effects and outcomes of these care pathways are anticipated.