Finding clinically relevant palliative care information

The CareSearch website has an Evidence Centre with evidence-based information relevant to the care of people with need for palliative care. When looking for clinically relevant information, there are seven steps you can follow to find the most appropriate type and level of evidence where it exists. We will use the example of ‘fatigue.’

Step 1: Is it mentioned in the relevant clinical guidelines?

Guidelines help health professionals to make evidence-based decisions in a timely way. Click on Evidence centre in the main menu to open the submenu. Click on Practice Ready Evidence then click on Palliative care guidelines. Here you will find Australian and International clinical guidelines.

Step 2: Is there pre-appraised evidence?

Pre-appraised evidence helps busy clinicians with a summary of the evidence.

Click on Practice Ready Evidence then click Clinical Evidence Summaries. Search for fatigue in the right hand menu.

These pages are summaries of the evidence i.e., what is known from systematic reviews relating to a specific clinical topic such as Fatigue or Care of the Dying Person. This, and all other Clinical summaries and syntheses, are based on systematic reviews (and where needed empirical studies) harvested from Ovid Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Embase. You will also find on this page a link to cite this page if needed.

Step 3: Search for quality evidence reviews

In step 2 above, in the Clinical summary page for ‘fatigue’, under 'Related evidence' there were links to PubMed Search and Review Collection.

The Systematic Review Collection is curated by CareSearch and covers a range of clinical topics relevant to palliative care. Reviews describing a systematic search strategy and methods for data synthesis are included. Reviews are harvested from multiple databases and the collection is updated each month.

Step 4: Search Palliative Care PubMed Searches

The PubMed Search link is a one-click access point for a pre-written PubMed Search using the palliative care filter to retrieve articles related to the topic. For our example this takes us to the corresponding PubMed search page for the topic of fatigue in the palliative care context. PubMed Topic Search uses the Palliative Care Search Filter and selected MeSH terms and text words to automatically retrieve relevant citations from the PubMed database.

PubMed is a publicly available database. If there is not a pre-written search, you can use CareSearch Quick Search or follow our instructions to create your own.

Step 5: Check the specific clinical hubs and sections.

There is practical guidance and resources for different health professionals and settings of care. This includes sections for GPs, Nurses, Allied Health, and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Step 6: Search the Grey Literature

If there is not information in the published literature you can look for grey literature, including literature that is hard to find because it is not published or not indexed. Click on Searching for Evidence in the menu and Grey Literature Searches in the submenu, then click on Grey Literature Database. To search the database for relevant items, click on Search Literature and enter 'fatigue' or another search term in the search box. The database has five types of Australian grey literature – Conference Abstracts, general Grey literature (e.g., government reports), National Palliative Care projects, Quality Improvement, and in progress Research Studies.

Step 7: Finding out more about evidence and translation

Sometimes when you find evidence suggesting the need for change, translating this into practice can be a challenge. If you need more evidence, go to the Evidence Centre. As well as finding evidence, here you can learn about moving evidence into practice. Using evidence and knowledge to bridge the research-practice gap and bring about broader change to care and service delivery requires a team effort. Click on Translation Training. To help you understand what is required, and to assist with getting started in knowledge translation here we examine the core activities and principles. For more on Quality Improvement return to the main menu and click on Evidence Training.

Page created 03 March 2023