The role of research in improving responsiveness of palliative care to migrants and other underserved populations in the Netherlands: a qualitative interview study

M Torensma*, B. D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, X. de Voogd, D. L. Willems, J. L. Suurmond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: The aging of migrant populations across Europe challenges researchers in palliative care to produce knowledge that can be used to respond to the needs of the growing group of patients with a migration background and address ethnic disparities in palliative care. The aim of this study was to identify what factors influence researchers’ efforts to address responsiveness of palliative care to patients with a migration background and other underserved populations in their projects. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 researchers involved in seven projects under the Dutch national program for palliative care innovation. Results: Researchers’ efforts to address responsiveness of palliative care in their projects were influenced by individual factors, i.e. awareness of the need for responsiveness to patients with a migration background; experience with responsiveness; and, differences in perceptions on responsiveness in palliative care. Researchers’ efforts were furthermore influenced by institutional factors, i.e. the interaction with healthcare institutions and healthcare professionals as they rely on their ability to identify the palliative patient with a migration background, address the topic of palliative care, and enrol these patients in research; scientific standards that limit the flexibility needed for responsive research; and, the responsiveness requirements set by funding agencies. Conclusion: Researchers play a key role in ensuring research addresses responsiveness to patients with a migration background. Such responsiveness may also benefit other underserved populations. However, at times researchers lack the knowledge and experience needed for responsive research. To address this we recommend training in responsiveness for researchers in the field of palliative care. We also recommend training for healthcare professionals involved in research projects to increase enrolment of patients with a migration background and other underrepresented populations. Lastly, we encourage researchers as well as research institutions and funding agencies to allow flexibility in research practices and set a standard for responsive research practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021

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