Multidisciplinary research critical in improving palliative care

A caregiver talking to a wheelchair-bound patient


Written by Professor Jennifer Tieman, Director, RePaDD

Palliative care, death, and dying may not seem a natural field for research. However, there are many issues associated with the human experience of living and dying, the role of societies, cultures, and communities in caring and grieving as well as the professional responsibilities of health and aged care systems. This makes our work both meaningful and important.

Research gives us mechanisms to explore and discover meaning as well as methods to determine the effect and impact of interventions and to assess their value, utility, and potential spread. Research also helps us to identify new opportunities and applications.

Increasingly, research requires multidisciplinary perspectives so that we can examine complex concerns and develop innovative responses.

To undertake this work, we need to build collaborations with other academic disciplines, with people who have lived experience of the need for palliative care, and with communities, organisations, businesses, and health and aged care services. And it will take time to build these relationships and time to sustain meaningful engagement.

We also need to engage with clinicians and students and researchers from other discipline to build a multidisciplinary research workforce who can explore the possibilities of technology, of community engagement, of re-engineering services and systems, and of managing the unexpected such as COVID-19.

Professor Jennifer Tieman, Director, RePaDD

We are fortunate to already have depth and diversity within the membership of RePaDD. RePaDD members come with different backgrounds, qualifications, and passions and they also bring different networks and connections.

You can see in the range of our publications and projects, the range of perspectives and skills which highlight our research strength and the contribution that we can make to the diverse evidence and knowledge needs relating to palliative care, death, and dying.

We look forward to connecting with other researchers and research teams across Australia as well as with the communities and organisations that support how we care for people who are coming to the end of their life.

And we also look forward to building research capability in students and academics in many different disciplines so that we can individually and collectively as researchers improve palliative care outcomes for patients and families, for communities and for health systems.


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