How current UK research addresses out of hours palliative care

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In 2015 the Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership (PeolcPSP), facilitated by the James Lind Alliance, published a top-ten list of unanswered questions relating to palliative and end-of-life care research. These were ranked in accordance with responses from people in the last years of life, current/bereaved carers and professionals working with people at the end-of-life.


The highest ranked question was: “What are the best ways of providing palliative care outside of working hours to avoid crises and help patients stay in their place of choice? This includes symptom management, counselling and advice, GP visits and 24-hour support, for patients, carers and families.”


This project presents how current research in the UK is addressing this question.


Through a grant mapping process, links have been identified between the PSP questions and current research, using the UK Clinical Research Collaboration’s (UKCRC) Health Research Classification System dataset, providing a snapshot of 2014 data. These links have been coded from weak to interventional.


This grant mapping process highlights that although out of hours care is ranked most important by carers and health care professionals, it receives very little research attention. In 2014, no current research proposed an intervention to address the question, and only four grants representing 0.03% of health research spend directly addressed out of hours palliative care. They were funded by the Department of Health and Marie Curie.


This work highlights the need for future research funding to focus on out of hours palliative care.

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