Legal issues in palliative and end-of-life care for selected allied health professionals: A scoping review

Dr Rachel Feeney1

1Queensland University Of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

This presentation will report on findings from a scoping review of the legal issues relevant to end-of-life practice for Australian paramedics, social workers, and speech pathologists. While there is existing evidence on doctors (and to a lesser extent nurses), less is known about the specific legal issues relevant to the practice of allied health professions. The aim of this work is to examine the extent, range, and nature of available literature that explores relevant legal issues, to characterise common legal issues, and to identify gaps in the existing literature.

Six electronic databases and Google Scholar were searched from inception to May 2021. Websites of professional organisations and Australian State/Territory Health Departments were also searched. Further documents were identified by scanning reference lists and drawing on existing knowledge.

The review identified a small but diverse body of literature on legal issues relevant to end-of-life care for the three professions. Most focused primarily on clinical practice with adults. Documents demonstrated that the professions encounter both common and unique legal issues. There were key gaps in the literature. A need exists for more guidance specifically relating to paediatric practice, and the development of clinical practice guidelines on end-of-life care for social workers and speech pathologists. These documents should address relevant legal issues.

Findings will inform paramedics, social workers, and speech pathologists of the legal issues relevant to their clinical practice. Insights into gaps in the literature are relevant to researchers and policymakers, highlighting important areas for further research and policy development.


Bio to come.

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