Background In 2013, the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care published ‘Research in palliative care: can hospices afford not to be involved?’ It identified the importance of hospices becoming research active. St Margaret’s Hospice in Somerset includes inpatient and community services and has a history of participation in research. A potential was identified to develop the structure and focus of the research process and to widen participation further to increase research activity going forward.
Identifying staff with a research interest and promoting GCP training.
Developing links to facilitate involvement in collaborative projects.
Forging links and seeking support from the NIHR locally.
Developing a more robust research governance structure.
Results A Research group was created with quarterly meetings, involving core members from different disciplines. The aim being to increase awareness of research projects within the organisation, provide a forum for discussion of future projects and promote evidence based practice.
A Research booklet was created with a plan to update a paper copy yearly with continuous online updates. Participation in several portfolio studies including GAS, Hydration at the end of life, and presently STOIC; 32 patients recruited so far.
Conclusion It is feasible to become a research active hospice, even without the infrastructure of an R and D department and a local academic unit.
Key facilitators were the identification of staff members with the interest and enthusiasm to develop research further, seeking local support and collaboration where possible and choosing collaborative projects which the majority of staff felt looked at an important issue and were engaged with. Also with more staff GCP trained, the more opportunity there is for participation.
Forming a collaborative body with the local acute and community trusts.
Looking at funding options for regular research nurse support.
Development of in house research projects.
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