The outcomes of palliative care day services: a systematic review

Palliat Med. 2011 Mar;25(2):153-69. doi: 10.1177/0269216310381796. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


This systematic review evaluates the evidence underpinning the provision of palliative day care services (PDS) to determine whether such services have a measurable effect on attendees' wellbeing. The majority of studies reviewed were qualitative and elicited individual perceptions of the benefits PDS. Although it was difficult to determine the quality of many studies, it would appear that attendance at PDS had a positive impact on attendees' quality of life. Fewer studies utilized validated outcome measures to determine the effect of PDS on attendees' wellbeing and small sample sizes combined with high attrition rates influenced the significance of some the results. However little quantitative evidence was offered to prove that PDS had an impact on attendees' quality of life or wellbeing. The review concludes that dying people find attending PDS a valuable experience that allows them to engage with others and to be supported in a restorative environment. However, further well-powered empirical studies are required to provide quality evidence to determine whether or not attendance at PDS does indeed have a positive impact on the wellbeing of attendees.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Day Care, Medical / psychology*
  • Day Care, Medical / standards
  • Holistic Nursing*
  • Hospice Care / psychology*
  • Hospice Care / standards
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Palliative Care / psychology*
  • Palliative Care / standards
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome