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CareSearch: finding and evaluating Australia's missing palliative care literature

Jennifer J Tieman1, Amy P Abernethy123, Belinda S Fazekas2 and David C Currow12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University, Adelaide South Australia, Australia

2 Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia, Australia

3 Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Centre, Durham, North Carolina, USA

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BMC Palliative Care 2005, 4:4  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-4-4

Published: 8 August 2005

Abstract

Background

Palliative care is an evolving specialty with a growing evidence base. However, evidence is less accessible than it could be with a lower than average conversion of conference abstracts to articles in peer-reviewed journals and the need for more accessible tools to support evidence-based practice (EBP) in palliative care. The CareSearch project involved identifying, collecting and evaluating Australia's "grey" palliative care literature and identifying international published literature missing from the electronic indexing systems. The literature was then catalogued and made publicly available through the CareSearch website.

Results

To date over 2,500 items have been included in the CareSearch database and can be accessed and searched through a publicly available website. Nearly 2,000 items are conference abstracts and 178 are theses or government, organisational and planning documents. A further 410 items relate to articles from palliative journals that are not indexed on a major bibliographic database. The website also provides tools and facilities to support palliative care practice and research.

Conclusion

CareSearch is a new evidence resource for palliative practitioners, educators and researchers. The palliative community now has access to a more comprehensive literature base as well as a resource that supports the integration of knowledge into practice. This specialised data repository enables users to access information on the body of work that has shaped palliative care development and prevents the potential loss or duplication of research work. It also provides a template for other emerging disciplines to use in capturing their literature and evidence.