This initiative will work with a thematic framework to capture and structure the envisioned research projects, both in the short term (including already running projects) and in the long term. The overarching framework itself can be revised, with a repositioning of themes or addition of new emergent themes or subthemes over time. All three themes stand to benefit greatly from the interdisciplinary collaboration guaranteed in this initiative. The interlocking of sociological perspectives and bioethical analysis in these highly important public health issues will make the research insights much richer.
The three themes are:
1) End-of-Life Practices
End-of-life practices that will come into focus most, given their contentious nature and their societal centrality, are euthanasia and palliative sedation.
2) Palliative Care in and by the Community
This concerns palliative care provision in the community and the primary care setting on the one hand, and palliative care provided by the community on the other. Specific topics within the theme are: benefits of palliative home care teams, and of palliative day care centres; volunteering; feasibility and impact of the Compassionate Communities model.
3) Vulnerable Groups
This theme draws attention to the vulnerable, underserved, disadvantaged and under-researched groups in our society (based on age, gender, SES, ethnicity, disease/affliction,...). This theme fits perfectly in the various disciplines of this initiative, and also runs transversally through the other two themes.