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Phd study: Supporting family carers

PhD study: Supporting family carers in providing home-based palliative care: an implementation project

What’s the aim of the study?

This works aims to support family carers in providing home-based palliative care by implementing an educational resource (Caring for Someone with Cancer booklet) in partnership with community nursing. By exploring how the booklet has been used to date, and actively implementing the booklet with community nurses, the practices surrounding the delivery of booklet and the strategies required for its successful adoption into routine nursing practice will be identified. This work will also looked at how the booklet could be used and implemented elsewhere.

Why is it important?

Although the majority of patients die in acute care, most patients prefer to be cared for and die at home. Family carers are crucial to enabling patients’ preference to die at home because end-of-life care and death at home relies heavily upon their ability to care.

Research suggests interventions are required which offer practical information to prepare carers for the role and identify the skills that enables carers to provide care, while maintaining their own health and wellbeing. Luker and colleagues (2015) developed and evaluated such an intervention: the Caring for Someone with Cancer booklet.

The booklet received a positive response from both family caregivers and district nurses, and testing of the booklet suggests it may have the potential to have a positive impact on carers by reducing uncertainty and promoting reassurance. The booklet may also facilitate more people to die at home, and reduce the workload of district nurses.

Little is known, however, about how this booklet could be used in practice, and questions remain surrounding when and how best to use it. There is a need for a qualitative study to explore these issues and develop the intervention further. Wider implementation of the booklet, or a large-scale trial, may then be possible.

Who is the PhD student?

Amy Mathieson is a health service researcher with a sociology background. Prior to starting her PhD, Amy worked at the University of Manchester as a Research Assistant with the NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester and the NIHR Greater Manchester Primary Care Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Who else is involved?

This PhD is being supervised by Prof Gunn Grande and Prof Karen Luker.

More information

More information about recruitment to this study can be found at www.clahrc-gm.nihr.ac.uk/endoflifecarestudy. For more information please contact Amy Mathieson.