The Changing Landscape of Palliative Care Research in Ireland from 2002 to 2017: A Comparison of Two Systematic Reviews within a Global Context

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Background: Whilst there have been significant developments in palliative care in recent years, a lack of global information pertaining to palliative care research capacity has led to individual countries seeking to assess their own state of play.

Aim: To examine how palliative care research in Ireland has changed within an international context.

Methods: The findings from two systematic reviews conducted in Ireland in 2012 and 2017 were compared to see what impact additional investment in palliative care research has made to the state of play. A further comparison was undertaken against systematic reviews from Scotland, Sweden, and south Asia to map palliative care research capacity in Ireland globally.

Results: Whilst research outputs almost doubled in Ireland from 2012 (n=151 over 10 years) to 2017 (n=151 over five years), many were still experiential and needs based, in line with Scotland, Sweden, and south Asia. Only one trial was noted in Ireland per review, compared to 11 in Scotland, ten in Sweden, and four in south Asia. Despite a majority of relatively small-scale studies, systematic reviews increased in popularity from 3% (2012) to 17% (2017). Collaborative working is evident (66% showed national or international collaboration in Ireland) despite a large percentage of unfunded research across all reviews. Research gaps include out of hours’ care and psychological symptom control, with over reliance on healthcare professionals’ perspectives.

Conclusions: Whilst overall palliative care research has increased, these findings, in accordance with the international reviews, indicates that further progress is required. Key areas for more research are continuity of care and non-physical symptom control. Research should include patients and family perspectives, and use trial methodology. Additional funding for large scale, international collaborative projects would substantially advance the palliative care research field.

This work received no funding.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue numberEAPC Abstracts
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 21 May 2019
Event16th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care - Estrel Conference Centre, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 23 May 201925 May 2019


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