Background: Palliative care and the prison setting are diametrically opposed in their objectives. However, a high portion of those who are incarcerated in today’s prisons are aging, becoming infirm, and/or suffering life threatening diseases. Thus, increasingly, palliative care is a required service in the prison setting. This scoping review of relevant literature seeks to explore and synthesize global evidence and knowledge bases that are available.
Methodology: A scoping review was performed using search terms that described the prison setting, end of life and the type of care received in the system . Inclusion criteria were set as: all genders; 18 years and older; provision of end of life care; English; 1990-present; qualitative; quantitative; mixed methods; policy and anecdotal documents. Resulting from these searches, a data set was created using DistillerSR to aid in the inclusion and exclusion of all materials retrieved.
Results: a full set of data will be extracted using the functionalities of DistillerSR and critically analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach. Preliminary results indicate many gaps in the literature, particularly within the Canadian context as few publications exist. Studies in the United States indicate that care for palliative prisoners was provided, however, the adaption of end -of-life guidelines would improve palliative care for prisoners. British studies concluded that the provision of palliative care in prisons is under-researched at the global level.
Implications: This study contributes to the consolidation of knowledge about prisoners and their relationship to and experience of palliative care in English speaking prison systems. The results also aim to guide policy, practice and future research on this increasingly important topic.
Lorraine Holtslander, (Principal Investigator) Cindy Peternelj-Taylor(Co-Investigator), Meridith Burles (Co-Investigator), Vicky Duncan (Co-Investigator), Shiela Enns (Specialist), Robin Baxter (Research Assistant/MN Student)