ABSTRACT • Background: The global population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to more than double. The prevalence of multiple chronic diseases among individuals is substantial among older adults. Therefore, palliative care remains a central part of healthcare services provision whether in the community or institutions. Assessing older adults’ palliative care needs is the first step to delivering quality comprehensive care.

Objectives : This review aims to describe existing assessment tools used to measure palliative care needs of older adults, their scope of use, contents, and psychometrics. Methods : A systematic review search in electronic databases CINAHL, MedLine OVID, PsychInfo, and Academic Search Complete, was conducted for the years 2000 to 2016. Older patients with palliative care needs regardless of their setting were included.

Results : The initial search yielded 942 articles. Seventeen articles met the inclusion criteria, describing nine palliative care assessment tools used for older patients in various settings. Conclusion: This review increases understanding of existing tools to assess older patients with palliative care needs. It can be concluded that no ideal tools are available to allow care providers to detect palliative care needs at an earlier stage in older adults. The POS and RAI tools demonstrated better comprehensiveness and sensitivity to change in comparison to others.

Keywords: palliative care; assessment tool; older adult; systematic review 

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