The PRISMA symposium 3: Lessons from beyond Europe. Why invest in research and service development in palliative care? An Australian perspective

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Journal Article
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2011, 42 (4), pp. 505 - 510
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Hospice and palliative care services need to be able to compete with finite health care resources. To compete for such funding, the sector needs to continuously improve the evidence base that demonstrates improved outcomes, or else funding will continue to be at the level of a "social good" rather than as services that deliver improved health outcomes. Three questions need to be answered for policy makers and health funders: 1) Why invest health care spending in hospice and palliative care?, 2) Why invest research monies in hospice and palliative care clinical research and health service development?, and 3) How can emerging evidence be more effectively implemented to improve patient outcomes? No single measure captures the net benefit of hospice and palliative care services. By patient-defined parameters, hospice and palliative care services have demonstrated benefits, including physical symptom control. To meet patients' concerns, greater emphasis needs to be placed on maintaining physical independence for a longer period of time. Targeted investment of research funding can deliver further improvements in patient outcomes and models of service delivery. Rigorous studies are feasible and necessary if each patient is going to receive the best possible support. Benchmarking and service development strategies can deliver improved patient outcomes. With routine point-of-care data collection and feedback loops to individual services, patient-valued outcomes and resourcing can be improved in hospice and palliative care. Public-good investments in hospice and palliative care research are vital to building the evidence base for improving the quality of care offered. © 2011 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee Published by Elsevier Inc. All Rights reserved.
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