REASON FOR THE STUDY: This study aims to understand patients' views on failing to gain expected beneficial outcomes from palliative medicine clinical trials. This is a qualitative study involving semistructured interviews.
Main findings: Seven patients were interviewed. Despite loss of initial hope in benefiting themselves in terms of better disease or symptom control, patients interviewed still found joining clinical trials meaningful experience in terms of benefiting future patients and being valuable life experience. Experience in interacting with research staff partly formulated final impressions on clinical trial participation experience.
Principal conclusions: Joining well-designed clinical trials unlikely causes harm to patients. Caring attitudes of researchers and maintaining good researcher-patient relationships can help patients in meaning-finding process, especially if they have failed to gain anticipated clinical benefits.