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      Access Barrier in Rural Older Adults’ Use of Pain Management and Palliative Care Services: A Systematic Review

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          Pain and symptom management is critical in ensuring quality of life for chronically ill older adults. However, while pain management and palliative care have steadily expanded in recent years, many underserved populations, such as rural older adults, experience barriers in accessing such specialty services, in part due to transportation issues. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the specific types of transportation-related barriers experienced by rural older adults in accessing pain and palliative care.


          Studies were searched through the following 10 databases: Abstracts in Social Gerontology, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SocINDEX with Full Text, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Nursing & Allied Health Database, Sociological Abstracts, and PubMED. Studies were chosen for initial review if they were written in English, full text, included older adults in the sample, and examined pain/palliative care/hospice, rural areas, and transportation. A total of 174 abstracts were initially screened, 15 articles received full-text reviews and 8 met the inclusion criteria.


          Findings of the 8 studies identified transportation-related issues as major access barrier to pain and palliative care among rural older adults: specifically, lack of public transportation; lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles; lack of reliable drivers; high cost of transportation services; poor road conditions; and remoteness to the closest pain and palliative care service providers.


          Results suggest that rural older adults have unique transportation needs due to the urban-centric location of pain and palliative care services. Implications for practice, policy and research with older adults are discussed.

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          The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies.

          Much of biomedical research is observational. The reporting of such research is often inadequate, which hampers the assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and of a study's generalizability. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Initiative developed recommendations on what should be included in an accurate and complete report of an observational study. We defined the scope of the recommendations to cover three main study designs: cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies. We convened a 2-day workshop in September 2004, with methodologists, researchers, and journal editors to draft a checklist of items. This list was subsequently revised during several meetings of the coordinating group and in e-mail discussions with the larger group of STROBE contributors, taking into account empirical evidence and methodological considerations. The workshop and the subsequent iterative process of consultation and revision resulted in a checklist of 22 items (the STROBE Statement) that relate to the title, abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections of articles. Eighteen items are common to all three study designs and four are specific for cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies. A detailed Explanation and Elaboration document is published separately and is freely available on the web sites of PLoS Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Epidemiology. We hope that the STROBE Statement will contribute to improving the quality of reporting of observational studies.
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            Reprint--preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement.

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              Is Open Access

              Are differences in travel time or distance to healthcare for adults in global north countries associated with an impact on health outcomes? A systematic review

              Objectives To investigate whether there is an association between differences in travel time/travel distance to healthcare services and patients' health outcomes and assimilate the methodologies used to measure this. Design Systematic Review. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, Transport database, HMIC and EBM Reviews for studies up to 7 September 2016. Studies were excluded that included children (including maternity), emergency medical travel or countries classed as being in the global south. Settings A wide range of settings within primary and secondary care (these were not restricted in the search). Results 108 studies met the inclusion criteria. The results were mixed. 77% of the included studies identified evidence of a distance decay association, whereby patients living further away from healthcare facilities they needed to attend had worse health outcomes (eg, survival rates, length of stay in hospital and non-attendance at follow-up) than those who lived closer. 6 of the studies identified the reverse (a distance bias effect) whereby patients living at a greater distance had better health outcomes. The remaining 19 studies found no relationship. There was a large variation in the data available to the studies on the patients' geographical locations and the healthcare facilities attended, and the methods used to calculate travel times and distances were not consistent across studies. Conclusions The review observed that a relationship between travelling further and having worse health outcomes cannot be ruled out and should be considered within the healthcare services location debate.

                Author and article information

                American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine®
                Am J Hosp Palliat Care
                SAGE Publications
                May 2021
                September 22 2020
                May 2021
                : 38
                : 5
                : 494-502
                [1 ]University of Alabama, School of Social Work, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
                © 2021




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