New online tool is helping hospices to get involved in research

by Dr Anthony Byrne Director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, Cardiff

Hospice research toolkit
Click on the image to access the toolkit

The Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, Cardiff has developed an online Hospice Research Toolkit to help hospices overcome the challenges they face when doing research and make it easier for them to get involved in research. The toolkit is a guide for researchers working in hospices that supports them when hosting research and in engaging outside organisations.  It can help hospices navigate their responsibilities when they are taking part in research and help minimise the extra workload so that research adds to, rather than detracts from, clinical care.

Why hospice research is so important

Marie Curie is committed to encouraging research across its hospices and nursing service. We fund three Research Leads   based at Marie Curie Hospices in the West Midlands, Belfast and Edinburgh. Using Marie Curie Hospices as hubs, the Research Lead Programme aims to embed research skills, research activity and the application of evidence more fully into everyday practice within Marie Curie. It has been so successful that we are now rolling it out further to our other hospices. Hospices are an ideal place to conduct research into palliative care, and can benefit from pragmatic research which identifies better or more efficient ways of caring for patients and families. There are many patients and staff who would like to be involved and hospices often have close links with local universities and hospitals. But, there are some hurdles to overcome before they can get involved in research; for example, checking that the study has ethical approval and making sure staff have the right skills. This is where the toolkit can be of real help to researchers. Research is crucial in helping us to improve the care and support that can be provided to terminally ill people and their families. Embedding research in our hospices helps Marie Curie to stay at the forefront of good practice, and gives staff, patients and families a chance to take part and contribute to furthering our knowledge of palliative and end of life care.