International palliative care research priorities: A systematic review

F. Hasson, Emma Nicholson, Deborah Muldrew, Olufikayo Bamidele, Sheila Payne, Sonja J McIlfatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract: Background: There has been increasing evidence and debate on palliative care research priorities and the international research agenda. To date, however, there is a lack of synthesis of this evidence, examining commonalities, differences, and gaps. To identify and synthesize literature on international palliative care research priorities originating from Western countries mapped to a quality assessment framework. Methods: A systematic review of several academic and grey databases were searched from January 2008–June 2019 for studies eliciting research priorities in palliative care in English. Two researchers independently reviewed, critically appraised, and conducted data extraction and synthesis. Results: The search yielded 10,235 articles (academic databases, n = 4108; grey literature, n = 6127), of which ten were included for appraisal and review. Priority areas were identified: service models; continuity of care; training and education; inequality; communication; living well and independently; and recognising family/carer needs and the importance of families. Methodological approaches and process of reporting varied. There was little representation of patient and caregiver driven agendas. The priorities were mapped to the Donabedian framework for assessing quality reflecting structure, process and outcomes and key priority areas. Conclusions: Limited evidence exists pertaining to research priorities across palliative care. Whilst a broad range of topics were elicited, approaches and samples varied questioning the credibility of findings. The voice of the care provider dominated, calling for more inclusive means to capture the patient and family voice. The findings of this study may serve as a template to understand the commonalities of research, identify gaps, and extend the palliative care research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Consensus
  • International
  • Palliative care
  • research priorities
  • Systematic review


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