Professor Catherine WalsheProfessor, Head of Department
My research expertise is in palliative and end of life care. I have two main research interests: the way that palliative care is provided especially within primary and community care settings; and the experience of symptoms at the end of life. Current or recent projects include those examining the effectiveness of social action projects on quality of life at the end of life (2014-2016), peer mentors for those with advanced cancer (2015-2018), a trial of NAMASTE care (2016-2019) an evaluation of Cottage Hospice (2016-2019), evaluating an Age UK end-of-life care service (2017-19), evaluations of Macmillan Cancer Support services (2018-21), implementing care planning for people with dementia (2019-21), and the impact of COVID-19 on palliative care (2020-2021) . I am also interested in research methods and dissemination, and edit the journal 'Palliative Medicine'.
Current and recent projects include:
- CovPall: Understanding the response of specialist palliative care services to COVID-19 with Prof Nancy Preston and led by colleagues from King's College, London.
- mySUPPORT: implementing a comfort care booklet for people with dementia in nursing care homes (funded by Alzheimer's Society) with Prof Nancy Preston and led by colleagues from Queens University, Belfast.
- Two evaluations of enhanced community and seven day services across Greater Manchester (funded by Macmillan Cancer Care) led by Dr Sarah Brearley.
- ALTER: evaluating a novel end-of-life care service provided by Age UK (funded by Age UK) with Profs Nancy Preston and Sheila Payne.
- NAMASTE CARE TRIAL: investigating the feasibilty of conducting a trial of Namaste Care with people with advanced dementia in nursing care homes (funded by NIHR HTA) with Prof Katherine Froggatt (PI) and colleagues from Hertfordshire, Liverpool, Bristol.
- CHECC: investigating a new model of cottage hospice care with Hospice in the Weald. with Dr Sean Hughes (PI), Dr Mary Turner and Dr Helen Barnes.
- ELSA: End of Life Social Action Project; investigating the effectiveness of social action projects to influence people's quality of life (funded by the Cabinet Office) with Prof. Sheila Payne, Dr Nancy Preston, Dr Guillermo Perez Algorta, Dr Steve Dodd and Nick Ockenden and Matt Hill (Institute for Volunteering Research).
- PACT: A feasibility trial of a peer mentor intervention for those with advanced cancer with Dr Diane Roberts (University of Manchester) in collaboration with Linda Appleton (Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology), Dr Lynn Calman (Southampton University), Mr Paul Large (User representative), Prof Mari Lloyd-Williams (University of Liverpool), Prof Gunn Grande (University of Manchester), Prof Suzanne Skevington (University of Manchester).
- I also supervise a number of PhD students following a traditional route PhD and on the PhD in Palliative Care programme.
Providing excellent and appropriate care at the end of life is critically important not only to those with life-limiting illness, but also to informal and professional carers. This is a major issue, as it is estimated that around 63% of those who die will require palliative care at some stage during their illness. Research into all aspects of palliative care provision is vitally important, to provide appropriate evidence to support care decisions. Whilst there has been research in this field for a number of years now, there are still many unanswered questions as the evidence base remains small, possibly as a result of the poor funding in this area, and the need to develop research capacity. Within the International Observatory on End of Life Care we focus on a number of different areas of research which contribute to developing this evidence base: researching the needs of older people, symptom management, evaluating service models, and our overarching theme of developing research methods to investigate end of life care.
I am not currently leading any modules, but teach ad hoc sessions to our blended learning PhD programme.
I am a Professor of Palliative Care and Co-Director of the International Observatory on End of Life Care, part of the Division of Health Research. I am also Editor in Chief of the journal ‘Palliative Medicine’. This is one of the premier journals in the field, and is an international multi-disciplinary journal. Palliative Medicine is the research journal of the European Association of Palliative Care and an official journal of the Association of Palliative Medicine. I am a fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute. I am on the board of the European Association of Palliative Care.
PhD Supervision Interests
I am interested in supervising students in the areas of palliative and supportive care, with a particular interest in primary care, models of palliative care provision, care homes and volunteers. I am happy to support applications for externally funded fellowships.
NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast
01/10/2019 → 30/09/2024
Manchester Macmillan Supportive and Palliative Care Programme
29/05/2019 → 30/06/2021
Scaling up the Family Carer Decision Support Intervention: A transnational effectiveness-implementation evaluation
01/04/2019 → 31/03/2022
To evaluate the Macmillan 7-day Specialist Palliative Care Advice and Assessment Programme, Greater Manchester
30/08/2018 → 07/09/2020
Tender: To evaluate the Age UK End of Life Pathfinder
09/10/2017 → 31/03/2019
The Namaste Care intervention to improve the quality of dying for people with advanced dementia living in care homes: A realist review and feasibility study for a cluster randomised controlled trial
01/12/2016 → 31/03/2019
Using participatory action research to advance hospice care
01/11/2016 → 31/03/2019
Evaluation End of Life EoL Social Action Fund
06/11/2014 → 30/06/2016
NIHR HS & DR Funding Panel (External organisation)
Membership of committee
European Association of Palliative Care (External organisation)
Membership of committee
- International Observatory on End of Life Care