The following is a summary of “Priority Research Topics and Patient and Family Needs in a National Sample of Hospice Agencies”, published in the FEBRUARY 2023 issue of Pain Management by Becker, et al.

The necessity for academics to explore research issues that were applicable in practice had been emphasized by several contextual variables surrounding hospice care. Although creating priorities was a key strategy for streamlining such efforts, research on priority-setting with hospice practitioners did not yet appear to have been done. For a study, researchers sought to outline the clinical and research priorities mentioned by US hospice agency representatives from a nationwide probability sample.

A nationwide probability sample of 600 hospice organizations was polled, proportionately stratified by state and level of profitability. Participants were asked to choose whether or not they would be open to responding to two more open-ended questions at the end of the survey. With regard to study subjects and the unmet needs of patients and families, these two questions sought participants’ opinions. The responses’ content was examined.

There were 317 surveys altogether, with a response rate of 61.8%. About 129 individuals who responded to at least one item reported viable replies. Early access to hospice, education (for outside physicians, patients and families, and the general public), policy barriers to hospice enrollment (hospice eligibility and reimbursement, gaps in insurance coverage), effects of policy restrictions on hospice care (reimbursement for care, pain management, clinician issues), and improving the delivery of in-home hospice care are the five categories (and various subcategories) that emerged from content analysis (community resources, supports for caregivers, supports for when caregiver assistance is inadequate, needs already are being met).

The results that the representatives of the hospice agencies provided suggested future lines of inquiry and therapeutic advancement. The cohesion of professional and patient reports of areas that require attention was required.