Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: While research is needed to advocate for implementation of global agendas to strengthen palliative care, healthcare professionals’ research literacy must improve to bridge the gap between evidence and practice. A resurgent focus on North-South power disparities, means attention should also focus on understanding low- and middle-income countries’ local agency to implement palliative care research agendas.

Methods: An observational, cross-sectional online survey among Kenyan palliative healthcare professionals currently working at any of the palliative and hospice care organizations operational during January – December 2019, using descriptive statistics.

Results: Among the 93 survey respondents, participants were mainly nurses (50.54%; n=47). Regarding research attitudes: all agreed/strongly agreed research was important for their professional work. Over nine-tenths (91.21%; n=83) reported having the skills to conduct research, and 91.30% (n=84) wanted to conduct research in their clinical work. 90% (90.21%; n=83) reported supervisory support to conduct research. A comparable proportion (90.22%; n=83) would undertake research if they could find funding. Regarding research practice: over two-thirds (70.65%; n=65) reported ever having had a mentor who encouraged them to do research, while approximately half (50.59%; n=43) reported reading evidence-based journal articles about once per month and attending monthly in-house meetings on palliative care (56.79%; n=46). Regarding research literacy: while over two-fifths of respondents described their current research literacy level as ‘none’ or ‘beginner’ (44.56%; n=41), a comparable proportion described it as ‘intermediate’ (45.65%; n=42), with 9 (9.78%) stating it was ‘advanced’.

Conclusion: The majority of palliative healthcare professionals report having interest, skills and support at work to conduct palliative care research, with a low-to-medium level of research literacy. The current study explored palliative care staff attitudes to, experience in, and literacy with the research process, which is necessary to creating a dialogue on implementing research findings. This study also adds to the global empowerment agenda, addressing inequities in research opportunities and local capacity to own and undertake palliative care research.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

BMC Palliative Care

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.