Journal of Public Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 87–91 | Cite as

Palliative care in public health: a formal and content-related analysis of European journals

  • Nils SchneiderEmail author
  • Anke Bramesfeld
  • Larissa Burruano
Original Article


Public health and health care science take on an important role in the further development of palliative care. This study examines to what degree palliative care is represented in the pertinent academic journals of public health and health care science and what the major subjects are. We analysed the European journals that were listed in the Journal Citation Reports in the categories health care science and services, public, environmental and occupational health, as well as health policy and services. The literature search was conducted in the journals identified for the years 1996 through 2005, using the terms palliative care*, palliative medicine*, terminal care* and hospice care*. The analyses were based on the quantity of publications in the journals, the publication years, the impact factors and the subjects focused on. There were 82 journals included. Altogether, 57,737 publications appeared during the analysis period; 166 papers were on palliative care (0.3% of all papers). The majority of palliative care articles (55%, n = 91) were concentrated in a very small circle of journals (4%, n = 3). The absolute quantity of palliative publications and their percentage among all publications have continuously increased from 0.1% in 1996/1997 to 0.4% in 2004/2005. The largest group of papers on the subject (42%, n = 70) appeared in journals with impact factors less than 1, whereas the largest group of all papers was found in journals with impact factors of 1–1.999 (51%, n = 15,732). Most papers focus on patient orientation and health professionals’ perspective and education; subjects such as health care utilization and barriers are less frequently covered. There is need for more research on palliative care relevant for public health and health care science in terms of reach and top-level impact. For example, the research questions should deal with health care utilization and potential social and cultural barriers. The interdisciplinary community of public health sets the stage for the required collaborative research activities.


Palliative care Hospice care Public health Health services research Health care science 


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


  1. Borasio G, Weltermann B, Voltz R, Reichmann H, Zierz S (2004) Attitudes towards patient care at the end of life. A survey of directors of neurological departments. Nervenarzt 12(75):1187–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crawford M, Rutter D, Manley C, Weaver T, Bhui K, Fulop N et al (2002) Systematic review of involving patients in the planning and development of health care. BMJ 325:1263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Council of Europe (2003) Recommendation Rec(2003)24 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the organisation of palliative care, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 November 2003 at the 860th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies. Council of Europe, StraßburgGoogle Scholar
  4. Doyle D, Hanks G, Cherny N, Calman K (2005) Introduction. In: Doyle D, Hanks G, Cherny N, Calman K (eds) Oxford textbook of palliative medicine, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  5. Evans S, Barley V, Daykin N, McNeill J, Palmer N, Rimmer J et al (2003) User involvement in UK cancer services: bridging the policy gap. Eur J Cancer 12:331–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Field D, Addington-Hall J (1999) Extending specialist palliative care to all? Soc Sci Med 48:1271–1280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Franks J, Salisbury C, Bosanquet N, Wilinson E, Kite S, Naysmith A et al (2000) The level of need for palliative care: a systematic review of the literature. Palliat Med 14:93–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fust E (1999) Interdisciplinary discussion about the care of the dying-viewpoint of nurses and pastors. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 29–30(88):1224–1228Google Scholar
  9. Grande G, Addington-Hall J, Todd C (1998) Place of death and access to home care services: are certain patient groups at a disadvantage? Soc Sci Med 47(5):565–579PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jaspers B, Schindler T (2005) Stand der Palliativmedizin und Hospizarbeit in Deutschland und im Vergleich zu ausgewählten Staaten. Gutachten im Auftrag der Bundestags-Enquete-Kommission “Ethik und Recht der modernen Medizin”.
  11. Luddington L, Cox S, Higginson I, Livesley B (2001) The need for palliative care for patients with non-cancer disease: a review of the evidence. Int J Palliat Nurs 7:221–226PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. MacDonald N (2005) Modern palliative care: an exercise in prevention and partnership. Semin Oncol Nurs 21:69–73PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Murphy-Ende K (2006) Barriers to palliative and supportive care. Nurs Clin North Am 36:843–853Google Scholar
  14. National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2004) Guidance on cancer services: improving supportive and palliative care for adults with cancer. Research Evidence. National Institute for Clinical Excellence, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Owens A, Randhawa G (2004) It’s different from my culture; they’re very different: providing community-based cultural competent palliative care for South Asian people in the UK. Health Soc Care Community 12(5):414–421PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Radbruch L, Nauck F, Ostgathe C, Elsner F, Bausewein C, Fuchs M (2003) What are the problems in palliative care? Results from a representative survey. Support Care Cancer 11:442–451PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Schneider N, Buser K, Amelung V (2006) Improving palliative care in Germany. Summative evaluation from experts’ reports in Lower Saxony and Brandenburg. J Public Health 14:148–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schneider N, Buser K, Amelung V (2007) Discrepancies in the viewpoints of different German health care providers on palliative care. Eval Health Prof (in press)Google Scholar
  19. Schoen C, Osborn R, Huynh PT, Doty M, Zapert K, Peugh J, Davis K (2005) Taking the pulse of health care systems: experiences of patients with health problems in six countries. Health Affairs Web Exclusives November 3:
  20. Schwartz F, Badura B, Busse R, Leidl R, Raspe R, Siegrist J, Walter U (2003) Das Public Health Buch. Gesundheit und Gesundheitswesen. Urban & Fischer, MunichGoogle Scholar
  21. Vejlgaard T, Addington-Hall J (2005) Attitudes of Danish doctors and nurses to palliative and terminal care. Palliat Med 2(19):119–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. World Health Organization (2004) Strategies to improve and strengthen cancer control programmes in Europe.
  23. World Health Organization (2006) Palliative care.
  24. Zentrum für Versorgungsforschung (2003) Objectives and tasks in health services research.
  25. Zwerdling T, Hamann K, Meyers F (2005) Extending palliative care is there a role for preventive medicine? J Palliat Med 8(3):486–489PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nils Schneider
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anke Bramesfeld
    • 1
  • Larissa Burruano
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health System ResearchHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany

Personalised recommendations