The state of palliative care research is closely linked to the development of palliative care services in a country or region.
To systematically review the current state of palliative care research in the Asia Pacific region and analyze its relationship with the performance of each country in the region on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2015 Quality of Death Index.
Systematic review and bibliographic analysis in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocol 2015 (PRISMA-P).
The PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and PsychiNFO databases were searched on February 4, 2018.
One thousand six hundred sixty-seven articles were reviewed. Eighteen out of 32 countries in the region published research. Around 74.15% (1236) of the articles were produced by high-income countries. Research output (articles per 1 m population) was closely linked to country performance on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2015 Quality of Death Index (adjusted R2= 0.85). Palliative care research in the region is overwhelmingly focused on cancer (80.13% of articles reviewed). The most common themes of research were "palliative care service (24.45%)" and "clinical" (15.38%).
Palliative care research in the region is growing but remains largely centered on the high-income countries, with many low- and middle-income countries having little published research output. Much work is required to drive research in these countries to generate the evidence required for the development of palliative care services. The emphasis on cancer in research also indicates that the needs of patients suffering from noncancer-related diseases may be neglected.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.