BMJ Support Palliat Care doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2012-000360
  • Research

Barriers to research in palliative care in France

  1. Marilène Filbet1
  1. 1Department of Palliative Care, Centre Hospitalier de Lyon-Sud, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
  2. 2Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  3. 3Pole Information Médicale Evaluation Recherche, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
  4. 4Oncological Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Palliative Care Center, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wadih Rhondali, Department of Palliative Care, Centre de soins palliatifs Pavillon 1K, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Hospices civils de Lyon, 165, chemin du Grand-Revoyet, Pierre-Bénite cedex 69495, France; wadihrhondali{at}


Purpose Palliative care (PC) needs expansion of its research capacity to improve the quality of care. This is particularly true for France that contributed less than 2% of all European PC research publications. We conducted a survey to assess the barriers French healthcare professionals (HCPs) involved in PC research had to face.

Methods We surveyed all 420 PC departments registered in the French National Association for Palliative Care (SFAP) database using a previously used questionnaire. We documented the ethical limitations, time constraints, financial resources, patient issues and methodological issues related to PC research.

Results We obtained 382 responses. Ninety-two (24.1%) HCPs were involved in a research project during the last 5 years. In univariate results, predictors of being involved in PC research were men (p=0.004), physician (p=0.022), working at a university hospital (p<0.001). There was a trend towards working in a PC unit (p=0.052). The main barriers to participating in PC research were lack of time (80.1%) and patient issues (47.4%). Lack of methodological support (33.0%) and financial limitations (30.4%) were also reported as major barriers.

Conclusions There is a consensus that PC research and publication in the English language for peer-reviewed journals must be expanded in France but at this stage, clinical teams still lack specific funding and appropriate support. More research is needed to confirm our results and to determine the best ways to develop PC research capacity in France.

  • Received 30 August 2012.
  • Revision received 20 February 2013.
  • Accepted 13 March 2013.
  • Published Online First 18 April 2013

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