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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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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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

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