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Needs and experiences of homecare workers when supporting people to live at home at the end of life: A rapid review

Forward, Catherine; Bayley, Zana; Walker, Liz; Krygier, Justine; White, Caroline; Mwaba, Kasonde; Elliott-Button, Helene; Taylor, Paul; Johnson, Miriam J.


Catherine Forward

Justine Krygier

Kasonde Mwaba

Helene Elliott-Button

Paul Taylor


Background Social homecare workers provide essential care to those living at home at the end of life. In the context of a service experiencing difficulties in attracting and retaining staff, we have limited knowledge about the training, support needs and experiences of this group. Aim To gain a timely understanding from the international literature of the experience, training and support needs of homecare workers providing end-of-life care. Methods We conducted a rapid review and narrative synthesis using the recommendations of the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. Building on a previous review, social homecare worker and end-of-life search terms were used to identify studies. Quality appraisal was conducted using a multimethods tool. Data sources CINAHL and Medline databases (2011 2023; English language). Results 19 papers were included representing 2510 participants (91% women) providing new and deeper insights. Four themes were generated: (1) emotional support; homecare workers need to manage complex and distressing situations, navigating their own, their clients and clients family, emotions; (2) interaction with other social and healthcare workers; homecare workers are isolated from, and undervalued and poorly understood by the wider healthcare team; (3) training and support; recognising the deteriorating client, symptom management, practicalities around death, communications skills and supervision; (4) recognising good practice; examples of good practice exist but data regarding effectiveness or implementation of interventions are scant. Conclusions Social homecare workers are essential for end-of-life care at home but are inadequately trained, often isolated and underappreciated. Our findings are important for policy-makers addressing this crucial challenge, and service providers in social and healthcare.


Forward, C., Bayley, Z., Walker, L., Krygier, J., White, C., Mwaba, K., …Johnson, M. J. (in press). Needs and experiences of homecare workers when supporting people to live at home at the end of life: A rapid review. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 29, 2024
Online Publication Date Mar 15, 2024
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 27, 2024
Journal BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Print ISSN 2045-435X
Electronic ISSN 2045-4368
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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