Palliative care for older South Asian Migrants: A systematic review

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South Asian migrants have a higher burden of life-threatening diseases and chronic diseases compared to other ethnic groups. Yet, knowledge gaps remain around their palliative care needs in the host countries. The aim of the review was to present results from a systematic literature review of available international evidence on experiences with and perspectives on palliative care among older South Asian migrants, relatives, and healthcare providers.

A systematic review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines was conducted in February 2018, searching PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, and EMBASE databases. PROSPERO #CRD42018093464. Studies included empirical research, providing international evidence on experiences and perspectives on palliative care of South Asian migrants and were published between 2000 and 2018. Thematic synthesis was used to analyze data.

A total of 30 articles were included: qualitative (24), quantitative (5), and mixed methods (1). Three main themes were discovered: 1) palliative care practice within the family, 2) trust as a precondition of palliative care, and 3) the importance of knowledge and cultural competency. All the themes, to a greater or lesser extent, are related to access to and use of palliative care services by South Asian migrant families.

Significance of results
Involvement of family members in palliative care decision making could improve the satisfaction of South Asian migrant families toward the service. For example, Advanced Care Planning involving family members could be a possible way to engage family members in palliative care decision making. Supportive interventions, e.g. providing knowledge, aimed at patients and their family members might improve knowledge and increase awareness among South Asian migrant families of palliative care. Knowledge gained from this review could be implemented with other ethnic minority groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative & Supportive Care
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)346-358
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Palliative care
  • South Asian
  • end-of-life care
  • ethnic groups
  • transients and migrants


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