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

Lisa Seto Nielsen, Zoë Goldstein, Doris Leung, Charlotte Lee, Catriona Buick

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1394-1405
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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