Forging a new frontier: Providing palliative care to people with cancer in rural and remote areas

Academic Article


  • Mounting evidence supports oncology organizations’ recommendations of early palliative care as a cancer care best practice for patients with advanced cancer and/or high symptom burden. However, few trials on which these best practices are based have included rural and remote community-based oncology care. Therefore, little is known about whether early palliative care models are applicable in these low-resource areas. This literature synthesis identifies some of the challenges of integrating palliative care in rural and remote cancer care. Prominent themes include being mindful of rural culture; adapting traditional geographically based specialty care delivery models to under-resourced rural practices; and using novel palliative care education delivery methods to increase community-based health professional, layperson, and family palliative expertise to account for limited local specialty palliative care resources. Although there are many limitations, many rural and remote communities also have strengths in their capacity to provide high-quality care by capitalizing on close-knit, committed community practitioners, especially if there are receptive local palliative and hospice care champions. Hence, adapting palliative care models, using culturally appropriate novel delivery methods, and providing remote education and support to existing community providers are promising advances to aid rural people to manage serious illness and to die in place. Reformulating health policy and nurturing academic-community partnerships that support best practices are critical components of providing early palliative care for everyone everywhere.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bakitas M; Watts KA; Malone E; Dionne-Odom JN; McCammon S; Taylor R; Tucker R; Elk R
  • Start Page

  • 963
  • End Page

  • 973
  • Volume

  • 38
  • Issue

  • 9