BMC Medical Ethics (Mar 2022)

Participatory development of CURA, a clinical ethics support instrument for palliative care

  • Malene Vera van Schaik,
  • H.Roeline Pasman,
  • Guy Widdershoven,
  • Suzanne Metselaar

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 23, no. 1
pp. 1 – 12


Read online

Abstract Background Existing clinical ethics support (CES) instruments are considered useful. However, users report obstacles in using them in daily practice. Including end users and other stakeholders in developing CES instruments might help to overcome these limitations. This study describes the development process of a new ethics support instrument called CURA, a low-threshold four-step instrument focused on nurses and nurse assistants working in palliative care. Method We used a participatory development design. We worked together with stakeholders in a Community of Practice throughout the study. Potential end users (nurses and nurse assistants in palliative care) used CURA in several pilots and provided us with feedback which we used to improve CURA. Results We distinguished three phases in the development process. Phase one, Identifying Needs, focused on identifying stakeholder and end user needs and preferences, learning from existing CES instruments, their development and evaluation, and identify gaps. Phase two, Development, focused on designing, developing, refining and tailoring the instrument on the basis of iterative co-creation. Phase three, Dissemination, focused on implementation and dissemination. The instrument, CURA, is a four-step low-threshold instrument that fosters ethical reflection. Conclusions Participatory development is a valuable approach for developing clinical ethics support instruments. Collaborating with end users and other stakeholders in our development study has helped to meet the needs and preferences of end users, to come up with strategies to refine the instrument in order to enhance its feasibility, and to overcome reported limitations of existing clinical ethics instruments.