Does the Distinctiveness of Palliative Care Research Require Distinct Ethical Guidelines?
Palliative and end of life care is changing, becoming more widespread and improving for patients. Yet, the current literature in the field suggests that the evidence for palliative and end of life care is somewhat limited. Research on treatment decisions, family care, and advance directions are just a few of the areas that need rigorous research efforts. Palliative care research is essential in order to continue providing effective treatments to those suffering in the last stages of life. Indeed, the goal of good palliative care research is to relieve suffering and to improve quality of life. Similar to any other field, palliative care programs must develop on a research base, and patient care will suffer if it is not backed by sound research. However, weighted against this need are some who maintain that the ethical and practical challenges of palliative care research are unique and insurmountable. This analysis considers if distinct ethical guidelines are needed for palliative care research.
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