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Health services research in palliative care and end-of-life care 

Health services research in palliative care and end-of-life care
Health services research in palliative care and end-of-life care

Tinne Smets

and Luc Deliens

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date: 24 January 2022

Health services research in palliative care and end-of-life care involves the study of palliative care needs, access and quality of palliative care, and the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost of palliative and end-of-life care services and interventions. The evaluation of services and interventions involving patients with advanced illness presents unique challenges, both ethical and methodological. In this chapter, several research designs that are useful for the service evaluation of complex interventions in palliative care and end-of-life care are discussed and examples of studies using these designs are described. The designs that are described include both experimental and non-experimental designs. The problems and challenges that doing research with dying patients presents are subsequently described and possible solutions proposed. The challenges dealt with in this chapter include defining the intervention, determining relevant outcome measures, randomization of patients to intervention and control group, achieving recruitment and minimizing attrition, heterogeneity of the patient group, and obtaining informed consent.

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