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A Scoping Review of Undocumented Immigrants and Palliative Care: Implications for the Canadian Context

Abstract

Approximately 30–40 million undocumented immigrants worldwide suffer restricted health care. A scoping review was conducted to determine what is known about this population’s palliative end-of-life care experiences. The scoping review followed Arksey and O’Malley’s methodological framework. Databases searched included CINAHL, Medline, ProQuest, Scopus, and PHRED. Search terms included uninsured care, palliative care, undocumented immigrants, and terminally ill. The search revealed limited peer-reviewed and grey literature on the topic. A total of six articles met inclusion criteria, of which four were case descriptions. Barriers to palliative care included lack of advanced care planning, lack of health insurance, poverty, fear of deportation, and limited English ability. Undocumented immigrants were more likely to have delayed access to and inadequate palliative end-of-life care. If palliative care is a human right, it is imperative that further research be conducted and policies put in place to better serve this vulnerable population at end-of-life.

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Funding was provided by York University.

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Correspondence to Lisa Seto Nielsen.

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Seto Nielsen, L., Goldstein, Z., Leung, D. et al. A Scoping Review of Undocumented Immigrants and Palliative Care: Implications for the Canadian Context. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 1394–1405 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-019-00882-w

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Keywords

  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Palliative care
  • End-of-life
  • Access to care
  • Scoping review