The following is a summary of “A Systematic Review of Interprofessional Palliative Care Education Programs,” published in the MAY 2023 issue of Pain Management by Kirkpatrick et al.

Interprofessional education (IPE) focusing on end-of-life and palliative care (PC) is essential for learners to develop competency in both areas. However, more research must be done on effective teaching methods in this field. For a study, researchers sought to synthesize current approaches to interprofessional PC education in academic and clinical settings and to evaluate teaching and research methods based on established characteristics of excellence in interprofessional PC education.

A total of 39 articles met the inclusion criteria for this systematic review. Studies were evaluated based on the framework established by Donesky et al. for interprofessional PC education. 

Most studies included learners from medicine and nursing and were conducted in university programs. Evaluation methods focused on self-reported outcomes such as learner attitude and self-efficacy. While the effect of interprofessional collaboration on patient outcomes is well-documented, the effect of IPE on PC delivery is not. Few studies addressed cultural aspects, and even fewer addressed the well-being of the care provider.

There was an urgent need to address cultural aspects and provider well-being more directly in interprofessional PC education. Education and research should also expand beyond university programs to health systems to support the professional development of clinicians for systems integration, sustainability, and impact on patient outcomes. Future evaluation of interprofessional PC education should consider multisite studies, randomized controlled trials, and repeated measures to examine outcomes over time.