The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-017-0266-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The Scottish Government set out its 5-year vision to improve palliative care in its Strategic Framework for Action 2016–2021. This includes a commitment to strengthening research and evidence based knowledge exchange across Scotland. A comprehensive scoping review of Scottish palliative care research was considered an important first step. The aim of the review was to quantify and map palliative care research in Scotland over the ten-year period preceding the new strategy (2006–15).
A systematic scoping review was undertaken. Palliative care research involving at least one co-author from a Scottish institution was eligible for inclusion. Five databases were searched with relevant MeSH terms and keywords; additional papers authored by members of the Scottish Palliative and End of Life Care Research Forum were added.
In total, 1919 papers were screened, 496 underwent full text review and 308 were retained in the final set. 73% were descriptive studies and 10% were interventions or feasibility studies. The top three areas of research focus were services and settings; experiences and/or needs; and physical symptoms. 58 papers were concerned with palliative care for people with conditions other than cancer – nearly one fifth of all papers published. Few studies focused on ehealth, health economics, out-of-hours and public health. Nearly half of all papers described unfunded research or did not acknowledge a funder (46%).
There was a steady increase in Scottish palliative care research during the decade under review. Research output was strong compared with that reported in an earlier Scottish review (1990–2005) and a similar review of Irish palliative care research (2002–2012). A large amount of descriptive evidence exists on living and dying with chronic progressive illness in Scotland; intervention studies now need to be prioritised. Areas highlighted for future research include palliative interventions for people with non-malignant illness and multi-morbidity; physical and psychological symptom assessment and management; interventions to support carers; and bereavement support. Knowledge exchange activities are required to disseminate research findings to research users and a follow-up review to examine future research progress is recommended.
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- Palliative and end-of-life care research in Scotland 2006–2015: a systematic scoping review
Anne M. Finucane
Juliet A. Spiller
Scott A. Murray
- BioMed Central
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