Research boost to improve care of terminally ill

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Clinicians in Liverpool are looking at how to improve care for terminally ill patients as part of a new North West research partnership.

Staff from Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Aintree University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool University Dental Hospital and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital – will work with colleagues from across the region to develop improved approaches to palliative care, which is the management of pain and other symptoms that patients receive when they have an illness that cannot be cured.

The Palliative Care Research Partnership North West Coast (PalCaRe NWC) is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

The launch of the new partnership comes during Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 2-6) which encourages communities to come together to talk about death, dying and bereavement.

Through PalCaRe NWC, clinicians will work in collaboration to improve palliative care in order to meet the needs of patients and families who need this specialist care and support.

Professor John Ellershaw, Consultant in Palliative Care at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “It is essential that we enable patients who are receiving palliative care to live and die with dignity, as well as supporting their families throughout this time. We are delighted to be part of this partnership, as it not only means we can undertake more research into palliative and end of life care, but it’s also a real opportunity to improve what our patients and their loved ones experience whilst in our care.”

PalCaRe NWC comprises of Lancaster University, University of Liverpool, University of Chester, UCLan, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust and the Clinical Research Network North West Coast.

The partnership has three aims:

  • to work with people providing all types of palliative care in this area to understand more about what helps and hinders research locally and to address any of these barriers
  • to help develop research capacity and expertise across the local area
  • to support people applying for large-scale NIHR grants.

As part of this work the partnership has launched a survey to understand more about local barriers. The survey is aimed at anyone working in palliative care across the North West Coast, including people in hospitals, community settings, nursing homes, hospices etc, as well as those involved in palliative care research.

PalCaRe NWC is led by Professor of Palliative Care, Catherine Walshe, from the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University.

Prof Walshe said: “We know how important palliative care is, and that research is vital to help us to provide the best possible care. I hope this partnership will help boost research so that local people have the opportunity to take part in research that takes account of our local needs here in the North West.”

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