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Table 1 Three systematic reviews conducted and integrated into the final analysis

From: Evaluating complex interventions in End of Life Care: the MORECare Statement on good practice generated by a synthesis of transparent expert consultations and systematic reviews

Review 1 To discover the experiences and views of participation in EoLC research of patients, caregivers, professionals and researchers and to identify best practices, we searched seven databases, hand searched three journals and the bibliographies of relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were: original research papers on involvement in EoLC research or its impact on participants. Critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) was used to integrate evidence regarding patient, caregiver, professional and researcher views on, and experiences with, participation in EoLC research, and identify best practices in research participation [17].
Review 2 To appraise the state of the evidence of EoLC we conducted a systematic literature review of the evidence of effectiveness of palliative care teams in cancer. We searched six databases augmented by reference lists of earlier reviews. Inclusion criteria were: specialist (that is, with trained and dedicated professionals) palliative care in the home, hospital, or designated inpatient settings for patients with cancer and evaluation of the team. Outcomes were pain, symptoms, quality of life, use of hospital services and anxiety. Studies were excluded if they did not test specialist palliative care services. Meta-synthesis combined the studies according to type of team [16].
Review 3 To appraise the methods used and challenges encountered in developing and evaluating palliative and EoLC services we developed the initial scoping into a systematic review specifically addressing this topic. We searched six databases and bibliographies of relevant papers. Inclusion criteria were: systematic reviews on the effectiveness of generalist and/or specialist palliative care (SPC) services for patients with advanced illness and/or their families. Narrative synthesis appraised the methods used against the MRC guidance steps, the main problems encountered and best practice solutions [18].
  1. EoLC, end of life care; MRC, Medical Research Council.