Needs, experiences, and preferences of sexual minorities for end-of-life care and palliative care: a systematic review

J Palliat Med. 2012 May;15(5):602-11. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0279. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


Objectives: To identify and appraise the existing evidence for the needs, experiences, and preferences for palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations.

Method: The databases searched were Medline (1950-present), PsycInfo (1806-2010), Cinahl (1982-2010), and ASSIA (1987-2010).

Results: Among 4483 articles, 133 papers were chosen for further exploration. Overall, 12 papers were retained in the study. The majority of papers focused on the cancer experience of gay men and lesbian women. Only a few papers had evidence for the bisexual population, while no studies related to transgender people.

Conclusions: Existing evidence is explicit and indeed repetitive in highlighting the educational needs of health care professionals to explore sexual preferences, avoid heterosexist assumptions, and recognize the importance of partners in decision making. There is also a significant need to research LGBT experiences and refine services for patients and their caregivers.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Preference / psychology*
  • Terminal Care*