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Dr Barbara Gomes, BSc MSc PhD

Research Fellow

Phone: 0207 848 5628 / 5516
Fax: 0207 848 5517


Preferences and decision-making, place of death, epidemiology, symptom assessment, evaluation of palliative care, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, cancer care, home care, public education about end of life care issues, bereavement and cross-national research.



Dr. Barbara Gomes did her first degree in Psychology and Health at the University of Porto (2001), including a one-year internship in the Palliative Care Unit of the Portuguese Cancer Institute - Porto. She got an MSc in Palliative Care from King's College London with distinction (2006) and a PhD in Palliative Care from the same University (2012). Her other training covers Epidemiology, Statistics and Health Economics. She is Research Fellow at the Cicely Saunders Institute (King's College) since 2004. In 2016, she was awarded the first Professorship in Palliative Care in Portugal, being appointed Invited Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Coimbra.

In 12 years of research work, Barbara has published over 50 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, some of which are already among the most cited in the field. Barbara's research interests focus on dying places, in particular the preferences, factors and the outcomes associated with dying at home for patients and their families. She is currently Principal Investigator of a project to train early researchers and develop an optimised model of home palliative care in Portugal (DINAMO project).


Key Leadership Roles

In 2006 Barbara was awarded the Cicely Saunders Academic Excellence Prize for her MSc studies and in 2013 the joint second prize of the Early Researcher Award by the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) for her PhD studies. The latter prize is awarded to honour young scientists in the field of palliative care who have made an outstanding contribution to research. She has led several studies on end of life care, including a mortality followback survey with bereaved relatives of cancer patients in London, UK (QUALYCARE study) and a pan-European population survey on preferences and priorities for end of life care (PRISMA survey). She is first author of a Cochrane review on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of home palliative care services for adults and Principal Investigator of a project to train early researchers and develop an optimised model of home palliative care in Portugal (DINAMO project). She is associate editor of BMC Palliative Care, reviewer for several journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Palliative Medicine, and founding member of the coordination board of the Portuguese Palliative Care Observatory.

Selected Publications

GOMES B, Calanzani N, Koffman J, Higginson IJ. Is dying in hospital better than home in incurable cancer and what factors influence this? A population-based study. BMC Med 2015:13, 235.

Sarmento VP, Higginson IJ, Ferreira PL, GOMES B. Past trends and projections of hospital deaths to inform the integration of palliative care in one of the most ageing countries in the world. Palliat Med 2016;30(4):363-73.

GOMES B, Calanzani N, Curiale V, McCrone P, Higginson IJ. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of home palliative care services for adults with advanced illness and their caregivers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6, Art. No.: CD007760. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007760.pub2.

GOMES B, Calanzani N, Gysels M, Hall S, Higginson IJ. Heterogeneity and changes in preferences for dying at home: a systematic review. BMC Palliat Care. 2013;12(1):7.

GOMES B, Higginson IJ, Calanzani N, Cohen J, Deliens L, Daveson BA, Bechinger-English D, Bausewein C, Ferreira PL, Toscani F, Meñaca A, Gysels M, Ceulemans L, Simon S, Pasman HRW, Albers G, Hall S, Murtagh F, Haugen DF, Downing J, Koffman J, Pettenati F, Finetti S, Antunes B, Harding R on behalf of PRISMA. Preferences for place of death if faced with advanced cancer: A population survey in England, Flanders, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Annals of Oncol 2012; 23(8):2006-15.

GOMES B, Higginson IJ. Where people die (1974—2030): past trends, future projections and implications for care. Palliat Med 2008;22(1):33-41.

GOMES B, Higginson IJ. Factors influencing death at home in terminally ill patients with cancer: systematic review. Br Med J 2006;332:515-521.


King’s MSc in Palliative Care: Service Organisation and Policy in Palliative Care (core module), Service Development and Management (optional module).

Selected Grants

Gomes B, Higginson IJ. Project DINAMO – Energising advanced training and research to optimise home palliative care services in Portugal. 1/01/11 → 31/12/16. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Harding-Swale R, Higginson IJ, Gomes B, Hall S, Koffman J. PRISMA Project – Reflecting the Positive diveRsities of european prIorities for reSearch and Measurement in end of life cAre. 1/05/08 → 30/04/11. European Commission.

Gomes B, Benyon T. Improving end of life care for the elderly at the hospital community interface: an A&E audit. 1/04/07 → 31/03/08. Guy's & St Thomas' Charitable Foundation.

Critical Impact


Barbara’s research has informed health policy and triggered strategic planning, service developments as well as dialogue with the public and the media about palliative care in Europe and beyond. Her work has been referred in several national policy documents in the UK and Portugal and debated at the House of Lords (UK). Several independent organisations have used her work to highlight issues surrounding place and care of death (World Health Organization, Nuffield Trust, King’s Fund, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and National Palliative Care Associations). Her studies have also reached the public arena via press coverage (by the BBC, NPR, Guardian and Huffington Post among others).

The research methods she has developed during her MSc and PhD studies have been adopted by others in Europe and beyond (colleagues undertook projections on place of death in Belgium, Germany and Portugal and are conducting QUALYCARE studies in Northern Ireland, Dublin and New York).


International Links

Studies in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya and Namibia:

Gomes et al 2012

Higginson et al 2013

Harding et al 2013

Bausewein et al 2013

Daveson et al 2013

Daveson et al 2014

Simon et al 2012

Daveson et al 2011

Downing et al 2014

Powell et al 2014

Barbara has a strong presence in Portugal. Since 2016, she is Invited Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine, University of Coimbra and was Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto from 2013 to 2016. Other collaborations include the Centre of Health Studies and Research of the University of Coimbra (CEISUC), the National School of Public Health (NOVA University Lisbon), several home palliative care teams and the National Institute of Statistics. She is founding member of the coordination board of the Portuguese Palliative Care Observatory, which involves collaborations with colleagues from the Catholic University and the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco among others.

Collaborations in other countries have included: Northern Ireland Cancer Registry; Barcelona Centre for International Health Research of the University of Barcelona; European Palliative Care Research Centre of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim); German Association for Palliative Medicine; Department of Public and Occupational Health and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research and Palliative Care Centre of Expertise of the VU University Medical Center (Amsterdam); End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Institute of Research in Palliative Medicine of the Lino Maestroni Foundation ONLUS; University of Antwerp; African Palliative Care Association.


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