Background Despite the many perceived benefits of research in palliative care, hospices have historically not engaged with research to any significant degree (Payne et al., 2013). With the exception of small projects initiated by staff undertaking postgraduate studies, this hospice undertook no research until 2016. The Research Framework for Hospices was designed to start addressing this, encouraging Hospices to become Research Active.
Aims To become a Research Active hospice, with the knowledge, skills processes and organisational culture required to take part in research to commence recruitment to a multicentre trial within day hospice.
Methods A research governance framework was established, led by the hospice medical director with support from the Clinical Research Network (CRN) and neighbouring hospices who shared experience and policies. A study was identified from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) portfolio. It was decided to commence recruitment in day hospice. A number of hospice staff, including day hospice staff, undertook Good Clinical Practice training. Research awareness sessions were held, which included an introduction to the study.
Results The hospice opened to recruitment in November 2016. By 25 May 2017, 95 day hospice patients have been screened, 45 were eligible and 26 have enrolled. Informal feedback has been positive, with staff appreciating the importance of research and being able to incorporate it within their clinical duties, and many patients being willing to take part.
Conclusions In under two years, the hospice has moved from a position where research was not ‘something we do’ to being actively involved in recruiting to a NIHR portfolio study. Key factors to success have included senior hospice leadership, the support of the CRN, and the involvement and enthusiasm of clinical staff. The next step is to widen involvement in research to other hospice clinical teams.
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