Symptom Management

Research into symptom management is one of the key themes of work within the IOELC. Multiple symptoms can be experienced with life-limiting illnesses however, the subjective and multidimensional nature of symptoms mean that they can be difficult to identify and manage. Moreover, the pathways of symptoms within life limiting illnesses can be unpredictable and may vary considerably across individuals and diseases. Our focus is both broad (encompassing the development of outcome measures) and symptom specific. It has been informed the collaborative working approach and the identified areas for future research highlighted by the Complex Symptoms theme of the Cancer Experiences Collaborative (CECo). Researchers working within the IOELC are collaborating with clinicians and researchers at other institutions to develop clinically relevant research into symptom management in palliative care.

Further details about current and recently completed work are available using the links on this page.

Current projects

Nurses anticipatory prescriptions to manage symptoms and distress in the last days of life
For more information contact: Dr Hazel Morbey

This study explores the roles and experiences of community nurses in end of life medication decisions and how they work with other members of the health care team. IOELC is working with the University of Nottingham to provide ethnographic data from a Northern case study site. The whole project is led by Professor Jane Seymour at the University of Nottingham. The project forms part of a portfolio of research concerned with palliative sedation that links with the international collaboration: UNBIASED.

Applicants: Professor Sheila Payne, Dr Hazel Morbey
Funded by: Marie Curie Cancer Care
Project start date: November 2011
Project end date: June 2012
Validating the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS) in an acute stroke population
For more information contact: Dr Sarah Brearley

Early assessment of palliative care needs provides the basis for good symptom management, ensures that supportive and spiritual needs are met, and provides an opportunity for advanced care planning to address choice and preferences. There is little information on the palliative care needs of stroke patients and our earlier research has demonstrated that without tools to facilitate early assessment of palliative care needs, staff may be reluctant to broach end of life issues with patients and families until very late in the dying trajectory. This study will enable the testing of the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS) within the acute stroke population. It represents the first stage of a larger piece of research, following the MRC guidance for research into complex interventions.

Applicants: Sarah G Brearley, Peter Diggle, Sheila Payne
Funded by: Lancaster University Early Career Grants
Project start date: 2011
Project end date: Ongoing
PROMS in Gynaecological oncology
For more information contact: Dr Sarah Brearley

Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS) are becoming established as necessary tools for measuring the quality of delivery of modern healthcare. Within the National Health Service PROM are already established in four elective surgical procedures and the DoH publication 'National Cancer Survivorship Initiative - Vision' highlighted PROM as a key component in the future delivery of cancer care. There is potential for suitable PROMs in gynaecological oncology to be used not only in benchmarking services, but also as clinical tools to optimise consultations and to guide personalised care and patient initiated follow up. The first stage of investigating and developing PROMs requires a structured systematic review of the medical literature relating to patient reported outcome measures in the chosen disease and treatment area. This project, funded by Rosemere Cancer Foundation, is currently being undertaken in collaboration with a Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.

Applicants: Nick Wood, Sarah G Brearley, Nancy Preston, Nicola Wilson
Funded by: Rosemere Cancer Foundation
Project start date: 2011
Project end date: Ongoing


International Research

The Observatory continues to engage with a wide range of international projects, which can be viewed by clicking here.

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