Shared decision-making in palliative care: a systematic mixed studies review using narrative synthesis

Palliat Med. 2011 Apr;25(3):242-61. doi: 10.1177/0269216310389348. Epub 2011 Jan 27.


The aim of this study is to synthesize knowledge about the process of shared decision-making (SDM) in palliative care. Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Web of Science were searched with core concepts: shared decisions, patient participation in decision-making, and palliative care. Titles and abstracts were screened according to inclusion criteria (original research, adult patients, Western contexts, decision-making, palliative treatment or setting), yielding 37 articles for analysis. A narrative synthesis was created using the methods of thematic analysis, conceptual mapping, and critical reflection on the synthesis process. Results demonstrate that while a majority of patients want to participate in treatment decisions to some extent, most do not achieve their preferred levels of involvement because decisions are delayed and alternative treatment options are seldom discussed. The literature regarding the process of SDM itself remains scarce in palliative care. Further research is needed in order to better understand the longitudinal, interactive, and interdisciplinary process of decision-making in palliative care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Negotiating
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Preference
  • Physician's Role
  • Physician-Patient Relations*