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Examining palliative and end of life care research in Ireland within a global context: A systematic mapping review of the evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Sonja McIlfatrick
  • Deborah H. L. Muldrew
  • Felicity Hasson
  • Sheila Payne
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Article number109
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>27/09/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Volume17
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background: Globally the state of palliative care research remains uncertain. Questions remain regarding impact, funding, and research priorities. Building upon previous research, this review examines palliative care research in Ireland and contributes to a wider international debate on the state of palliative care research. Methods: A systematic mapping review was undertaken. Eight bibliographic databases and thesis repositories were searched from May 2012 to April 2017. Palliative care related search terms were combined with "Ireland" or "Irish" to increase search sensitivity. Inclusion criteria were applied by two independent reviewers. Descriptive analysis was completed using IBM SPSS v23. Thematic analysis was undertaken using a data-driven approach to develop new themes. Results: In total, 808 studies were screened and 151 papers from 117 studies were included for review. The top two areas of research focus included: (1) specific groups, services, and settings (n = 70); and (2) identification, communication and education (n = 37). A diverse variety of research methods were used including mixed methods (25%), surveys (22%), interviews (20%), and reviews (17%). One randomised control trial was conducted. The predominance of research papers focused solely on health care professionals (n = 35%), and the community setting was the most frequent location for data collection (41%). The majority of data was collected across the two jurisdictions of the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI) (37%), and 23% of studies included data outside of Ireland and the UK. The most frequent sources of funding were: consortiums (n = 40); government (n = 24); and philanthropic bodies (n = 20). Forty percent (n = 60) of papers were either unfunded or did not acknowledge a funder. Conclusions: There is a continued increase in palliative care research in Ireland with increased collaborative working nationally and internationally. The quantity and impact of research has increased from the previous review, which can be attributed to significant investment in research funding and collaborative networks. However, research gaps continue to exist including out of hours' care, physical and psychological symptom control, intervention studies, and the patient and family perspective. Areas for attention include the need to ensure knowledge exchange and demonstrate impact of the research on patient and family carer outcomes. © 2018 The Author(s).