Date: 06 November 2018
Palliative care is specialised medical support for people with a serious illness. Research within this area allows for improvements in end of life care, ensuring patients can live in comfort and die with dignity.
In the UK, palliative and end of life care provision is a high priority for the NHS but there are serious concerns about the lack of research within this area. The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) is helping to address this problem by offering resources and support.
Since 2015, CRN Wessex has supported the recruitment of over 1,800 people into palliative care and hospice research studies on the NIHR portfolio. From April 2017 to date, Wessex has seen more than a fourfold (478%) increase in recruitment in this area, due to a stronger focus to grow research and a high recruiting observational study exploring access to medicines during end of life care.
Last month saw World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, an international campaign aimed at raising the visibility of palliative care within the global community. This year’s theme, Because I Matter, focused on understanding the needs of people living with a life limiting illness.
As part of the campaign, Associate Professor Dr Tracy Long-Sutehall and Senior Research Fellow Dr Richard Wagland, of the University of Southampton, highlighted their current research projects and the importance of growing research within this field:
“Improving palliative and supportive care requires more research that includes the needs and experiences of patients in hospice and community settings,” explains Dr Long-Sutehall. In view of this need the Wessex Research Active Hospice Development Group (WRAhdG) was established in 2017 with the aim of establishing ‘respectful partnership’ 1 between ten hospices across Wessex and academics within the University of Southampton. Partner hospices are Salisbury Hospice, St Wilfred’s Hospice, Earl and Countess Mountbatten, Hospices, The Rowans Hospice, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospice, Naomi House, Oakhaven Hospice Trust, St Michael’s Hospice and Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.
“This collaboration recognised the need to develop research readiness amongst local hospices for increased research activity, and to identify important clinical questions yet to be addressed. So far, achievements of the collaboration include development of four joint research bids, topics for several PhD and Masters studies, and three hospices have developed research strategies.”
To find out more about current research projects and the NIHR’s campaign, please visit www.nihr.ac.uk/news-and-events/support-our-campaigns/hospice-and-palliative-care-research.htm
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