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Nurs Outlook. 2012 Nov-Dec;60(6):384-90. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2012.08.006.

Palliative and end-of-life care research: embracing new opportunities.

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National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Programs, Division of Extramural Activities, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The past two decades have witnessed dramatic advances in palliative and end-of-life care research with increased understanding of the burden of life-limiting diseases on patients, families, clinicians, and our healthcare system; and researchers have documented palliative care interventions that improve patient and family outcomes and reduce the costs of care (Detering, Hancock, Reade, & Silvester, 2010). These advances have led to a new era of palliative and end-of-life care research and practice with widespread recognition of its accomplishments and successes. Consequently, we now have an important opportunity to reassess our recent successes and challenges and to identify the goals and benchmarks that will ensure ongoing robust advances in this now-recognized and critical scientific area. High-quality palliative and end-of-life care will be best informed by methodologically strong research efforts that generate a body of evidence with the capacity to support and direct care and effect changes in practice. It is in this context that the National Institute of Nursing Research conceptualized and led a Summit titled The Science of Compassion: Future Directions in End-of-Life and Palliative Care Research in August, 2011. In this summary article, we present brief overviews of the six articles chosen for this Special Issue of Nursing Outlook, examine their key conclusions, articulate gaps and needs, and discuss next steps in palliative and end-of-life care research through the lens of these six topics.

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