The importance of palliative care provision has been highlighted in previous humanitarian emergencies. This review aimed to examine the breadth and depth of palliative care inclusion within global guidelines for responding to infectious disease outbreaks.
The review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Electronic searches of MEDLINE, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, PsychInfo and grey literature were performed. Inclusion criteria were guidelines (recommendations for clinical practice or public health policy) for responding to infectious disease outbreaks in the general adult population. Results were limited to the English language, between 1 January 2010 and 17 August 2020. Analysis of the included articles involved assessing the breadth (number of palliative care domains covered) and depth (detail with which the domains were addressed) of palliative care inclusion.
A total of 584 articles were retrieved and 43 met the inclusion criteria. Two additional articles were identified through handsearching. There was limited inclusion of palliative care in the guidelines examined.
There is an opportunity for the development of guidelines that include information on palliative care implementation in the context of infectious disease outbreaks in order to reduce the suffering of key vulnerable populations worldwide.