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Development of research priorities in paediatric pain and palliative care

Journal title
British journal of pain
Publication year
Liossi, C.; Anderson, A. K.; Howard, R. F.

Priority setting for healthcare research is as important as conducting the research itself because rigorous and systematic processes of priority setting can make an important contribution to the quality of research. This project aimed to prioritise clinical therapeutic uncertainties in paediatric pain and palliative care in order to encourage and inform the future research agenda and raise the profile of paediatric pain and palliative care in the United Kingdom. Clinical therapeutic uncertainties were identified and transformed into patient, intervention, comparison and outcome (PICO) format and prioritised using a modified Nominal Group Technique. Members of the Clinical Studies Group in Pain and Palliative Care within National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN)-Children took part in the prioritisation exercise. There were 11 clinically active professionals spanning across a wide range of paediatric disciplines and one parent representative. The top three research priorities related to establishing the safety and efficacy of (1) gabapentin in the management of chronic pain with neuropathic characteristics, (2) intravenous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the management of post-operative pain in pre-schoolers and (3) different opioid formulations in the management of acute pain in children while at home. Questions about the long-term effect of psychological interventions in the management of chronic pain and various pharmacological interventions to improve pain and symptom management in palliative care were among the ‘top 10’ priorities. The results of prioritisation were included in the UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETS) database. Increased awareness of priorities and priority-setting processes should encourage clinicians and other stakeholders to engage in such exercises in the future.

Research abstracts