We are a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Stephen Barclay, University Senior Lecturer in General Practice and Palliative Care, General Practitioner and Honorary Consultant Physician in Palliative Care.
Currently, the established researchers and teaching staff on our team have backgrounds in medicine (palliative medicine, general practice, psychiatry), nursing, physiotherapy, sociology, psychology, social work, statistics, philosophy, political science … Our affiliated colleagues add knowledge of health services research, anthropology, religious studies, criminology …
The team is constantly enriched by colleagues who stay with us for briefer periods, for instance CLAHRC fellows (clinicians who have been granted a fellowship by the Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care to develop research skills) or Academic Clinical Fellows. We also welcome Cambridge medical students who want to develop their research skills and knowledge in palliative and end of life care. It helps us remember both the beginners’ excitement for research and appreciate the long path of learning we’ve travelled!
We work closely with lay users, people with personal experience of the palliative and end of life care of their loved ones. Study after study, they have shared their personal stories. They have helped us stay anchored in questions that matter. They have helped us use a language that is easy to understand.
We use a wide range of methods, such as qualitative interviews and focus groups, quantitative surveys, systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials. We draw on theories and explanatory frameworks from the breadth of disciplines represented on our team, particularly sociology, psychology and health services research.
While research rigour and depth are of primary importance to us, we also aim to make a practical difference by:
- Helping to improve the lives (and memories) of patients and carers
- Informing the education and skills development of health professionals
- Aiding the decisions of service managers, commissioners and policy makers.
The themes that we address are: Communication and decision making, Education and capacity building, Organisation of services and care provision, Patients’ and carers’ quality of life, needs and preferences and Symptoms and symptom management.
Image credit: kgtoh at iStock, Getty Images.