A Systematic Review on Barriers to Palliative Care in Oncology

Jyotsana Parajuli, Judith E. Hupcey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The number of people with cancer and the need for palliative care among this population is increasing in the United States. Despite this growing need, several barriers exist to the utilization of palliative care in oncology. The purpose of this study was to synthesize the evidence on the barriers to palliative care utilization in an oncology population. A systematic review of literature was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PubMed, CINAHL, and Psych Info databases were used for the literature search. Articles were included if they: 1) focused on cancer, (2) examined and discussed barriers to palliative care, and c) were peer reviewed, published in English, and had an accessible full text. A total of 29 studies (8 quantitative, 18 qualitative, and 3 mixed-methods) were identified and synthesized for this review. The sample size of the included studies ranged from 10 participants to 313 participants. The barriers to palliative care were categorized into barriers related to the patient and family, b) barriers related to providers, and c) barriers related to the healthcare system or policy. The factors identified in this review provide guidance for intervention development to mitigate the existing barriers and facilitate the use palliative care in individuals with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1361-1377
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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