Lancaster experts lead 5m Euro research to improve palliative care in Europe

Two experts in palliative care from Lancaster University are involved in leading a 5m euro project to smooth the transition between hospital and home for patients with cancer to improve their quality of life.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 1:07 pm

Many incurably ill cancer patients in the last phase of life leave hospital with too little information or with uncertainty about access to palliative care.

This can lead to a reduction in quality of life and hospitalisations that could have been prevented.

Prof Nancy Preston is a co-director in the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University and Emeritus Prof Sheila Payne is a former president of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC).

Profs Sheila Payne and Nancy Preston.

Together they will lead the Lancaster University element of a large European Collaborative project called ‘Pal_Cycles’ with Dr Maddy French and Anthony Greenwood, also of Lancaster University, beginning in September 2022.

The project will receive more than 5.3m Euros over the next five years, with almost 1m Euros for Lancaster University.

Prof Preston said: “We are investigating whether an optimal transition of care can be facilitated from the hospital to community care, so that patients can remain at home for longer, with better quality of life.”

The basis of the programme was developed during a study previously conducted in the Netherlands and will now be further developed and tailored towards other European countries, with the intervention part led by Lancaster University.

Prof Payne said: “We need to take into account the differences in healthcare in the different countries such as how healthcare is organized, how do local customs for example related to referral differ, what training is required to implement changes.”

The researchers will determine what the effects of the study are and also evaluate the costs. They will also look at whether the number of readmissions to the hospital decreases or not.

This international research project includes partners from nine European countries, including Germany, England, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Portugal and Spain.

The overall lead in Europe is Jeroen Hasselaar, who said: “We are going to carry out a clinical study in seven countries, in which we will further develop and apply a palliative care transition programme that will improve care in the home situation. In this way, we want to further integrate palliative care services to improve well-being for those with cancer.”