Bridging the international gap through modern technology – Taiwan Research Network

To acknowledge World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 11 October, the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) is delighted to present current developments in hospice and palliative care in Taiwan during the coming week. In June this year, Professor Sheila Payne, President of the EAPC, was invited to Taiwan; we are very pleased that three of the many palliative care practitioners and academics she met during her visit have agreed to share their experiences of research, spiritual care and clinical practice. 

Dr Sharlene Shao-Yi Cheng, Assistant Professor and Attending Physician in the Department of Family Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital; and Founder of the Taiwan Research Network Council, Taiwan Academy of Hospice Palliative Medicine, begins our special series on Taiwan.

Dr Sharlene Shao-Yi Cheng

Dr Sharlene Shao-Yi Cheng

Inspired by Dr Stein Kaasa of the European Palliative Care Research Centre, the Taiwan Academy of Hospice Palliative Medicine established its own research network in Taiwan in 2011. By collecting data simultaneously in different medical centres and through hi-tech industry, we believe it is the most efficient, influential and up-do-date way to carry out research in palliative medicine in the 21st century.

The academy functions as the soul of the network. The secretariat is responsible for funding and supervising the progress of the project. The academic division conducts the research in every detail including setting the direction of the research, recruiting the participating hospitals, monitoring data collection in each hospital, and assigning people for data analysis, writing and final authorisation.

Since achieving a good death is one of the ultimate goals in palliative care, the first multicentre study we conducted was to find out what affects the quality of dying of terminally ill cancer patients in Taiwan. As a previous study has shown that patient autonomy is one of the factors, we therefore wanted to further examine what affects patient autonomy. By using the validated ‘Good Death Scale’ we had developed, we measured the associated correlates that affect quality of dying and patient autonomy. Four medical centres participated in the study and the team held monthly teleconference discussions.

The second study was to investigate the quality of life of terminally ill cancer patients in Taiwan. By using the Taiwanese version of the McGill Quality of Life questionnaire, we interviewed patients at the time of hospitalisation and again one week after. We would like to compare the difference and evaluate the outcome after the intervention of palliative care.

Recently, we have been collaborating with Dr Tatsuya Morita, an internationally renowned scholar in palliative medicine from Japan, focusing on the subjects of physician-perceived good death and patient autonomy. The survey was designed and distributed by Japan and physicians from Korea, Japan and Taiwan answered the questionnaire via computer. The study is the first example of a cross-cultural research network in Asia.

Dr Sharlene Shao-Yi Cheng with Professor Sheila Payne in Taiwan

Dr Sharlene Shao-Yi Cheng (right) with Professor Sheila Payne in Taiwan

Our thanks to Dr Sheila Payne, President of the EAPC, who visited Taiwan in June and took an interest in our network. We are still a fledging network and very grateful to have this opportunity to introduce our work on the EAPC blog. We would welcome contact from other countries that may be interested in joining us and to sharing scientific knowledge in this field. Please email me or leave a comment below if you’d like to join us.

Links and resources

Follow the EAPC blog on Wednesday
Dr Chien-An Yao, Secretary General of Taiwan Academy of Hospice Palliative Medicine, will talk about the role of the Clinical Buddhist Chaplain.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 11 October 2014 – Achieving Universal Coverage of Palliative Care: Who Cares? We Do!
With just six days to go, people across the world are preparing to celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. Anybody can get involved and raise awareness and funds for their local hospice and palliative care service. These services need your help to ensure that people living with life-limiting illnesses, their families, friends and carers receive the care and support that they need. Let’s get involved and support World Hospice and Palliative Care Day now. Please visit the World Day website for information, ideas and inspiration…

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One Response to Bridging the international gap through modern technology – Taiwan Research Network

  1. Pingback: Bridging the international gap through modern technology – Taiwan Research Network | EAPC Blog | All Things Palliative - Article Feed

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