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September 3, 2008

Studying the Effectiveness of Palliative Care—Reply

JAMA. 2008;300(9):1022-1024. doi:10.1001/jama.300.9.1023

In Reply: Dr Bruera notes that in our review the palliative care interventions, settings, and populations were diverse and that some of the control groups also received a form of palliative care. Our inclusion criteria were purposefully broad to ensure maximal transparency of our results and conclusions. This strategy of inclusiveness has been used in previous reviews of palliative care services1,2 and is generally preferred in systematic reviews for reasons that have a sound methodologic basis. Broad systematic reviews allow research findings to be assessed across diverse settings and study populations, reducing the risk of bias or chance results and maximizing generalizability.3