A Systematic Review of Family Meeting Tools in Palliative and Intensive Care Settings

Published in: American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on February 22, 2016

by Adam E. Singer, Tayla Ash, Claudia Ochotorena, Karl Lorenz, Kelly Chong, Scott T. Shreve, Sangeeta C. Ahluwalia

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PURPOSE: Family meetings can be challenging, requiring a range of skills and participation. We sought to identify tools available to aid the conduct of family meetings in palliative, hospice, and intensive care unit settings. METHODS: We systematically reviewed PubMed for articles describing family meeting tools and abstracted information on tool type, usage, and content. RESULTS: We identified 16 articles containing 23 tools in 7 categories: meeting guide (n = 8), meeting planner (n = 5), documentation template (n = 4), meeting strategies (n = 2), decision aid/screener (n = 2), family checklist (n = 1), and training module (n = 1). We found considerable variation across tools in usage and content and a lack of tools supporting family engagement. CONCLUSION: There is need to standardize family meeting tools and develop tools to help family members effectively engage in the process.

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