Randomized controlled trials of non-medical and non-surgical therapies for palliative care: a literature review.
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A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of non-medical and non-surgical therapies for palliative care was undertaken to provide guidance for best practice palliative care. Nine databases were searched (ERIC, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AHMED, Psychinfo, HealthStar, Sociological Abstracts, and the Cochrane Library, including Central and Systematic Reviews) for RCTs and systematic reviews. Fifteen RCTs, varied in intervention and outcome measures, were identified. Several studies found positive results but the sample sizes were small, the methodological quality of the RCTs did not meet Cochrane Collaboration criteria, and the conclusions were at high risk of bias. Improved planning of the protocols and execution, with the addition of experienced trialists and statisticians, is required to improve the quality of the evidence collected in future studies.
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