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Ethical issues in palliative care research 

Ethical issues in palliative care research
Ethical issues in palliative care research

David Casarett

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date: 16 May 2022

Recent growth in palliative care research has created a heterogeneous field that encompasses both qualitative and quantitative techniques, and descriptive as well as interventional study designs. Despite the valuable knowledge that has been produced by this research, and the promise of future important advances, its progress has been impeded by a persistent uncertainty about the ethics of these studies. For instance, there have been concerns raised about whether patients near the end of life should ever be asked to participate in research, although others have objected to this extreme position. Nevertheless, the combination of ethical and practical issues can create substantial barriers to palliative care research. This chapter discusses five ethical aspects of palliative care research that investigators and clinicians should consider in designing and conducting palliative care research. These include (1) the study’s potential benefits to future patients, (2) the study’s potential benefits to subjects, (3) the study’s risks to subjects, (4) subjects’ decision-making capacity, and (5) the voluntariness of subjects’ choices about research participation.

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