translational-oncology

University expert heads up major palliative care research programme

A University of Hull expert in palliative care has been appointed to co-lead a major £1.3 million research programme funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Professor Fliss Murtagh Associate Director of the University of Hull’s recently established Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and Professor of Palliative Medicine at Hull York Medical School, will lead a multi-centre team together with Professor Michael Bennett of the University of Leeds.

The four-year programme of research aims to improve the quality of palliative care experienced by Yorkshire patients living with advanced cancer, and to support their families.

It will investigate how and when patients access palliative care with a view to improving how symptoms are assessed and monitored, as well as equipping clinical teams with the necessary resources and training.

The team will work in partnership with local hospices and clinical commissioning groups to develop the programme.

Nearly 14,000 people die from cancer every year in Yorkshire. In the weeks and months before they die, cancer patients often experience breathlessness, fatigue and high levels of pain, alongside other concerns such as money worries and the need for family support.

At the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and Hull York Medical School we are committed to helping those with life limiting conditions live as well as they can, and, when the time comes giving them control of their symptoms and support at the end of their life. Professor Murtagh,
Associate Director of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and Professor of Palliative Medicine at Hull York Medical School

Up to 40% of them report suffering uncontrolled pain before they die with most of the rest experiencing moderate to severe pain.

Palliative care aims to make patients as comfortable as possible by managing pain and other distressing symptoms and providing psychological and social support for patients and their family or carers.

However, despite a growing need for specialist palliative care support, the knowledge base to support the understanding of palliative needs and the development of specialist services is still relatively small.

Professor Murtagh, a national leader in the field, said: “At the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and Hull York Medical School we are committed to helping those with life limiting conditions live as well as they can, and, when the time comes giving them control of their symptoms and support at the end of their life. 

“Despite increased understanding of palliative care and improvements to services, unlike other areas of medicine, the knowledge base to support palliative care clinical practice remains small and systems of support are not fully developed to truly help all patients and their families when needed.”

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