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palliative care, severe and persistent mental illness, systematic review



  1. Riley, Kiernan PhD, BSN, RN
  2. Hupcey, Judith E. EdD, CRNP, FAAN
  3. Kowalchik, Kalei BSN, RN


Severe and persistent mental illnesses refer to a group of psychiatric disorders causing severe dysfunction in patients and include diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. Patients with severe and persistent mental illnesses have a complex symptomatology and face complicated medical disparities creating a difficult care process and reduced quality of life. Palliative care, a holistic approach to care that aims to reduce symptoms and stress of illness in persons living with chronic diagnoses, is appropriate within this population to address the complexity of care needs but is currently underutilized. The purpose of this review was to systematically review the literature to determine what is currently known about palliative care utilization in the severe and persistently mentally ill population. The databases systematically searched include PubMed, Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, and MEDLINE, to find all articles relevant to the research question. Keywords include "palliative care," "end-of-life care," and "severe and persistent mental illness," including all subsets. Literature was reviewed per the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The results of this systematic review helped synthesize current information about this developing topic to inform clinicians on how to best integrate palliative care to this population.