The end of life experiences of people living with socio-economic deprivation in the developed world: an integrative review

Sarah P Bowers*, Ming Chin, Maire O'Riordan, Emma Carduff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Those experiencing socioeconomic deprivation have poorer quality of health throughout their life course which can result in poorer quality of death - with decreased access to palliative care services, greater use of acute care, and reduced access to preferred place of care compared with patients from less deprived populations.

Aim: To summarise the current global evidence from developed countries on end-of-life experience for those living with socio-economic deprivation.

Design: Integrative review in accordance with PRISMA. A thorough search of major databases from 2010-2020, using clear definitions of end-of-life care and well-established proxy indicators of socio-economic deprivation. Empirical research describing experience of adult patients in the last year of life care were included.

Results: Forty studies were included from a total of 3508 after screening and selection. These were deemed to be of high quality; from a wide range of countries with varying healthcare systems; and encompassed all palliative care settings for patients with malignant and non-malignant diagnoses. Three global themes were identified: 1) multi-dimensional symptom burden, 2) preferences and planning and 3) health and social care interactions at the end of life.

Conclusions: Current models of healthcare services are not meeting the needs of those experiencing socioeconomic deprivation at the end-of-life. Further work is needed to understand the disparity in care, particularly around ensuring patients voices are heard and can influence service development and delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
Number of pages25
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2022


  • Palliative care
  • Terminal care
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Social class
  • Delivery of health care
  • Integrative review


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