Background: Older adults at the end of life are commonly prescribed multiple medications which can lead to polypharmacy. Research has shown that optimizing medications through targeted deprescribing reduces inappropriate medications, reduces adverse effects and improves select outcomes. However, the impact of deprescribing remains uncertain--specifically whether this intervention improves quality of life (QOL). Objective: Explore polypharmacy in older adults at the end of life examining outcomes of deprescribing on the QOL. Methods: A systematic literature search using Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Medline, JSTOR and Nursing and Allied Health Database was conducted between October 2020 to November 2020. Select articles published between 2010-2020 were included in the review. Articles using any design or setting were included in the analysis as long as they addressed interventions to reduce polypharmacy among older adults at the end of life and the outcome of the study addressed QOL. One reviewer independently reviewed articles for eligibility, evaluated article quality and extracted key data within the subset of articles retained for analysis. Results: The findings were inconsistent with regard to the effect of deprescribing on QOL in older adults at end of life. Conclusion: Further randomized controlled studies investigating the effects of reducing polypharmacy on QOL in older adults at the end of life are needed to determine the impact of reducing polypharmacy.


Gwen Verchota

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing


Allied Health and Nursing



Rights Statement

In Copyright