Dr Karen Lowton
Senior Lecturer in Ageing & Health
Office: Room K4L.23 King's Building, Strand
Phone: +44 (0)20 7848 2566
BSc (Hons), Kingston University, Surrey 1994
MSc St George’s, University of London, 1996
PhD Royal Holloway, University of London, 2001
Following a career in nursing, Karen completed a PhD in Medical Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London, focusing on how adults with cystic fibrosis and their family members perceive and manage the disease and its treatment.
She joined King’s College London in 2001, initially working in the department of Palliative Care & Policy, School of Medicine, where she undertook research into primary and secondary school teachers’ management of bereaved children. During this time Karen also studied how families of young adults who had died from cystic fibrosis experienced end-of-life care and bereavement.
During a lectureship in Nursing (2003-2006) Karen continued to investigate issues affecting young people with cystic fibrosis by examining young people’s and healthcare staff’s expectations and experiences of transition care from paediatric to adult services.
Karen joined the Institute of Gerontology in 2006. Her main research interests continue to centre on ‘new’ ageing populations – i.e. those reaching midlife with traditional diseases of conditions of childhood, exploring health and social concerns, family care, and service use.
Karen’s research interests centre on health perceptions and management, and healthcare services for populations with non-traditional conditions, and those with chronic disease. Her broad range of research interests include:
Formal and informal provision and understanding of end of life care for those with non-malignant disease
Health, social and family care for those populations who traditionally did not survive childhood
Multiprofessional working in healthcare
Interdisciplinary working within and across organisations in health and social care
Using qualitative research methods.
Funded research projects
Adult survivors of childhood liver transplant: personal narratives of an emerging ‘new’ ageing population
The new ageing populations: mapping identities, health, needs and responses across the lifecourse
Improving the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable older people through professional integration of falls and accidental domestic fires risk assessments
Bond C, Lowton K. (2011) Geriatricians’ views of advance decisions and their use in clinical care in England: Qualitative study. Age & Ageing, 40, 450–456.
Laybourne AH, Whiting DG, Martin FC, Lowton K. (2011) Can Fire and Rescue Services identify older people at risk of falls? Primary Health Care Research & Development, 12,395–399.
Iles NJ, Lowton K. (2010) What is the perceived place and nature of parental care for young people with cystic fibrosis as they enter adult health services? Health and Social Care in the Community, 18 (1), 21–29.
Lowton K. (2009) 'A bed in the middle of nowhere': Parents meaning of place of death for adults with cystic fibrosis' Social Science and Medicine 69 (7), 1056-3.
Iles NJ, Lowton, K. (2009) ‘Young people with cystic fibrosis’ concerns for their future: when and how should concerns be addressed, and by whom?’ Journal of Interprofessional Care, 22 (4), 436-438.
Wicks E, Lowton, K. (2007) A patient’s journey with cystic fibrosis. British Medical Journal 334, 1270-71.
Lowton K, Gabe J. (2006) Cystic fibrosis adults’ perception and management of the risk of infection with Burkholderia cepacia complex. Health, Risk and Society, 8 (4) 395-415.
Lowton K. (2005) Trials and tribulations: understanding motivations for clinical research participation amongst adults with cystic fibrosis. Social Science and Medicine 61, 1854-1865.
Lowton, K. (2004) Only when I cough? Adults’ disclosure of cystic fibrosis. Qualitative Health Research, 14 (2), 167-186.
Lowton K, Gabe J. (2003) Life on a slippery slope: perceptions of health in adults with cystic fibrosis. Sociology of Health and Illness, 25 (4), 289-319.
Lowton, K. 2003, Double or quits: perceptions of organ transplantation by adults with cystic fibrosis. Social Science and Medicine, 56 (6), 1355-1367.
Lowton, K. (2002) Parents and partners: the role of lay carers in the treatment and care of adults with cystic fibrosis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 39 (2), 1-8.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) January 2012 - £168,465 Adult Survivors of Childhood liver transplant: personal narratives of an emerging ‘new’ ageing population (PI with Professor Paul Higgs, UCL)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
October 2009 - £15,440
The 'New' Ageing Populations:Mapping identities,health, needs and responses across the lifecourse (PI with Professor Paul Higgs,UCL and Dr Karen Ballard, University of Surrey)
Dunhill Medical Trust
February 2009 - £118,689 Improving the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable older people through professional integration of falls and accidental domestic fires risk assessments (PI with David Whiting, London Fire Brigade; Dr Finbarr Martin, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; research associate Anne Laybourne).
The Burdett Trust for Nursing
January 2005 - £44,532
Perceptions of young people with cystic fibrosis and their professional carers as they transfer from paediatric to adult services in Southeast London: an exploratory study (PI with research associates Lucia Mathes and Nicola Iles)
The Cicely Saunders Foundation
September 2003 - £8,750
Relatives’ experiences of care given to family members who have died from cystic fibrosis
Karen is interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:
Health and healthcare in ageing populations (e.g. chronic disease, transition services, multiprofessional working)
Investigations of health, social and family concerns arising in ‘new’ ageing populations (e.g. adults with cystic fibrosis, adult congenital heart disease, older adults with Down’s syndrome)
Interdisciplinary working to improve health and wellbeing of older community-dwelling adults.
Prospective students interested in working in these areas should look at our PhD admissions web page.
Karen is currently supervising or co-supervising three research students working in the broad areas of health and health service interventions in later life.
Andreas Xyrichis: Teamwork in Intensive Care Units
Supervisors: Karen Lowton, Ruth Young and Anne Marie Rafferty
Eloise Radcliffe: Stroke and self-identity
Supervisors: Myfanwy Morgan and Karen Lowton
Rebecca Blackwell: Palliative care for older people in Accident & Emergency
Supervisors: Patricia Grocott, Karen Lowton and Glenn Robert
Karen Lowton is Programme Director for the Intercalated and Postgraduate Taught Programmes in the Institute and coordinates the Institute’s contribution to medical student education at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital, and University Hospital Lewisham. Students may register for the award of Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters degree throughout all postgraduate taught programmes offered by the Institute, enabling eligible students from a wide range of backgrounds to study the medical, social, economical and financial issues surrounding ageing and older people.
Ageing, Health and Society (7SSAM122): Director
Designing Qualitative Research for Social Science & Health (7SSAM125): Director
Researching Vulnerable Populations (7SSAM127): Director
Ageing in a Global Context (7SSAM114): Contributor to teaching