Research can help us to find new and better ways to understand and treat illness. In palliative care, research may look at new drugs, different models for providing care, or ways to support patients and their families. The findings from research are often described as evidence.
This evidence is used in making decisions about the best treatment for a patient and the best model of care for a community.
Health research in Australia must meet strict ethical guidelines. This checks that the research will make a contribution to improved outcomes. It also ensures that those participating in the research understand what is involved and any risks associated with the research.
Consumers are involved in many aspects of research. They may be asked to be participants in a study. They may be asked to judge what research is most important. Or, they may make suggestions about how best to conduct a study. The knowledge and experience of patients, carers and other health consumers can help to make research more valuable.
The Consumer Health Forum of Australia has produced a Consumer Guide to Clinical Trials (457kb pdf).