Research Update April 2012
AIIHPC offers a major opportunity to develop a strategic, coherent approach to research on the island of Ireland. Within the Research work pillar, two key work package areas have been identified: Development of a Coherent Research Community and Building Research Capacity. Within these two broad work package areas, we are undertaking multiple projects and initiatives to deliver on the objectives of the Institute.
Progress to date includes the development of a Structured Research Network, as well as offering several research opportunities.
Structured Research Network
The development of a single Structured Research Network is underway. The Network will offer the all-Island palliative care research community opportunities to create and engage with a collaborative environment that supports the development of excellent and innovative research projects that will advance understanding of AIIHPC’s research strategy.
It is envisaged that the proposed Structured Research Network will consist of two complementary Research Strands:
RESEARCH STRAND 1:
‘PATHWAYS TOWARD SOCIAL JUSTICE: UNDERSTANDING EQUALITY AND INCLUSION IN PALLIATIVE CARE’ led by Prof. Phil Larkin, Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing (Palliative Care), University College Dublin.
RESEARCH STRAND 2:
‘MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION OF OUTCOMES FOR PALLIATIVE CARE’ led by Prof. Charles Normand, Edward Kennedy Professor of Health Policy and Management, Trinity College, Dublin.
The proposed Social Justice Strand (SJS) is based on the premise that inequality exists in relation to palliative and hospice care access and service delivery across the island of Ireland for certain groups of people.
The overall aims and objectives of SJS are to:
- Examine the experience of inequality towards and through hospice and palliative care service delivery across the island of Ireland as reported by individuals, their families and the health and social care workers who support them;
- Explore personal characteristics, process and context that impact on experiences of hospice and palliative care where evidence suggests disadvantage in terms of access, service provision and outcome;
- Describe factors and processes that are either beneficial or detrimental to achieving good hospice and palliative care outcomes;
- Understand how social systems (economic, cultural, political and affective) impact on decision-making of people who experience inequality in relation to hospice and palliative care services across the island of Ireland;
- Utilise such evidence to develop best practice approaches which strengthen relationships and facilitate greater awareness of the hospice and palliative care needs of people currently excluded by virtue of misunderstanding, diminished recognition and/or prejudice.
Running in tandem with SJS will be the proposed Measurement and Evaluation Strand (MES), focusing specifically on measurement and evaluation.
The overall aims and objectives of MES are to:
- Explore methodological development for palliative care research with a focus on measurement of needs; measurement of impact and evaluation of service priority and delivery;
- Develop better understanding on how best to elicit preferences and views for service users and families;
- Enhance the design of studies of complex interventions using measures that embrace this complexity;
- Support the development of measurement tools for palliative care research;
- Utilise evidence to examine how best to disseminate complex findings in palliative care research.
A particular focus will be on ways of learning from service users and ensuring that measurement tools take account of the ways in which they perceive needs and benefits. While the needs and views of all service users will be valued, in common with the proposed SJS, there will be a particular focus on understanding needs and preferences of people with disabilities and other disadvantage. The MES team shares the social justice perspective of SJS, that access to care should depend on needs and not circumstance.
The work projects across both Research Strands will have both qualitative and quantitative elements, and all will draw on a range of skills and disciplines. A further set of Network activities will include capacity building, dissemination, policy engagement, development of new areas of research and other areas of work aligned to AIIHPC’s strategic objectives.
A bid for funding for AIIHPC’s Structured Research Network has been submitted to the Health Research Board and we are awaiting their initial feedback. It is envisaged that further refinements and amendments may need to be made to the Structure before we receive final feedback from the HRB in June.
AIIHPC Research Opportunities
Late last year, we launched a call for four Guideline Adaptation Scholars to adapt international guidelines in Depression and Constipation. I am pleased to report that our successful scholars, Dr Camilla Murtagh, Dr Fiona Kiely, Dr Brenda O’Connor and Ms Louise Duddy, are currently conducting systematic literature reviews. Mentors and Scholars will continue to meet throughout the year, submitting interim and final reports to AIIHPC.
Since the beginning of the year we have launched two key Research Opportunities.
Ms Loreena Hill, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Ms Martina O’Reilly, Milford Care Centre, Limerick, are the successful recipients of a bursary each to attend the International Research Summer Academy on Palliative and End of Life Care at the University of Lancaster this coming June.
Our second Doctoral Fellowship in Palliative Care is also open for applications. The closing date is June 29th 2012. For further information, please visit the Research page on our website: http://aiihpc.org/research/
We look forward to keeping you updated on the Research activities of the Institute in later newsletters.
Dr Sonja McIlfatrick, Head of Research, AIIHPC