end of life, methodology, palliative care, recruitment, research ethics



  1. Williams, Anna-leila PA-C, MPH


Methodological challenges in conducting research with the end-of-life population are distinct, and solutions cannot be readily derived from research with individuals at other stages of life. Prominent among the methodological challenges is the issue of recruitment. The purpose of this article is to describe the interest of adult patients at end of life in research participation, consider the ethics of recruiting an end-of-life population, and define five major challenges to recruitment (the end-of-life label, selection of appropriate inclusion/exclusion criteria, individual feels too ill, individual feels overwhelmed, and family and healthcare professionals acting as "gatekeepers") with possible solutions offered. The consequences of failing to recruit an adequate sample size increases risk of type II errors, wastes research dollars, and squanders the time of those involved. With careful planning, recruitment challenges are surmountable.