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Concepts and definitions for "supportive care," "best supportive care," "palliative care," and "hospice care" in the published literature, dictionaries, and textbooks

Concepts and definitions for "supportive care," "best supportive care," "palliative care," and "hospice care" in the published literature, dictionaries, and textbooks

Supportive Care in Cancer 21(3): 659-685

Commonly used terms such as "supportive care," "best supportive care," "palliative care," and "hospice care" were rarely and inconsistently defined in the palliative oncology literature. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to further identify concepts and definitions for these terms. We searched MEDLINE, PsycInfo, EMBASE, and CINAHL for published peer-reviewed articles from 1948 to 2011 that conceptualized, defined, or examined these terms. Two researchers independently reviewed each citation for inclusion and then extracted the concepts/definitions when available. Dictionaries/textbooks were also searched. Nine of 32 "SC/BSC," 25 of 182 "PC," and 12 of 42 "HC" articles focused on providing a conceptual framework/definition. Common concepts for all three terms were symptom control and quality-of-life for patients with life-limiting illness. "SC" focused more on patients on active treatment compared to other categories (9/9 vs. 8/37) and less often involved interdisciplinary care (4/9 vs. 31/37). In contrast, "HC" focused more on volunteers (6/12 vs. 6/34), bereavement care (9/12 vs. 7/34), and community care (9/12 vs. 6/34). Both "PC" and "SC/BSC" were applicable earlier in the disease trajectory (16/34 vs. 0/9). We found 13, 24, and 17 different definitions for "SC/BSC," "PC," and "HC," respectively. "SC/BSC" was the most variably defined, ranging from symptom management during cancer therapy to survivorship care. Dictionaries/textbooks showed similar findings. We identified defining concepts for "SC/BSC," "PC," and "HC" and developed a preliminary conceptual framework unifying these terms along the continuum of care to help build consensus toward standardized definitions.

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Accession: 052282018

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PMID: 22936493

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-012-1564-y

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