Recruiting for research in hospice: feasibility of a research screening protocol

J Palliat Med. 2004 Dec;7(6):854-60. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2004.7.854.


Background: The growth of palliative care research has been limited by challenges of slow recruitment and underenrollment. One potential solution to this problem is the use of screening questions embedded in clinical data collection, which identify patients who are interested in participating in research and who can then be approached directly. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of this strategy for identifying hospice patients who are interested in research participation.

Design: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING/ SUBJECTS: Patients and their families who had enrolled in one of two community-based hospice programs.

Measurements: Three screening questions (for survey-based research, clinical trials and family- focused research) were integrated into the intake process of two community-based hospice organizations.

Results: Of the 214 patients who were able to respond, 54% indicated willingness to be approached about survey-based research, 40% were willing to be approached for clinical trials and 65% were willing to be approached for family-focused research.

Conclusions: These results suggest that screening questions may be useful in identifying hospice patients who are willing to be recruited for research. Further study is needed to define the likelihood that these patients will consent and whether these screening questions introduce selection bias in the recruitment process.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eligibility Determination
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Hospice Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Selection*
  • Research Subjects / psychology*