Research Priorities in Spiritual Care: An International Survey of Palliative Care Researchers and Clinicians

Selman et al. (2014) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

spiritual care

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?


Why was it conducted at all?

Spiritual distress, including meaninglessness and hopelessness, is common in advanced disease. Spiritual care is a core component of palliative care, yet often neglected by health care professionals owing to the dearth of robust evidence to guide practice.

What was the objective?

to determine research priorities of clinicians/researchers and thus inform future research in spiritual care in palliative care

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 5 research areas

How long did the research prioritization take?

April 2012 - August 2012

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: survey: participants were asked: Do you believe there is a need for more research to inform the provision of spiritual care in the context of palliative care?, participants replying with yes were then asked to select the five most important research priorities from a list of 15 topics, additional open text field to add any missing priorities. Step 2: data processing: thematic analysis to identify and rank additional research priorities, final ranking of most important research questions

Which stakeholders took part?

Palliative care physicians, nurses, chaplains. 971 participants: 293 palliative care physicians, 112 nurses, 111 chaplains.

How were stakeholders recruited?

Clinicians, researchers, and others working in palliative and end-of-life care were invited to participate through several avenues: delegates (N=6000) of the EAPC Lisbon congress registered on the EAPC database were invited via an e-mail from the EAPC; the link to the survey appeared in bulletins from Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Online (2000 readers), U.K. Hospice Online (2500 readers), and the National Council for Palliative Care (4900 readers). Links to the survey were also posted on the EAPC homepage, the EAPC Spiritual Care Taskforce web page, the EAPC blog, the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance home page, and the homepage of the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London. In addition, invitations to distribute the survey were sent to EAPC Taskforce members and board members in Belgium, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, and Switzerland and to the head offices of national palliative care associations in The Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine. The survey also was advertised by the authors to delegates at the EAPC congress in Trondheim in June 2012 and through the authors' network of personal contacts.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.