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Leadership & Society

OUR INNOVATIVE NEW TREATMENTS FOR THE TERMINALLY ILL

have helped millions breathe easier.

Leadership and societyFor too many people, disease makes their final months a time of pain and anguish.

The Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London is the world leader in palliative care. Its work helps to improve the lives of millions of people living with incurable conditions. 

‘Instead of focusing on an illness, palliative care focuses on the person,’ says Professor Irene Higginson, who directs the institute. ‘It takes a holistic approach toward an individual’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual or existential concerns.’

Research, education and clinical services are all interconnected at the institute, meaning we can put research quickly into practice for treatment of patients. The knowledge we gain through research soon becomes part of classroom learning. And because we welcome a large number of international students, we can swiftly disseminate essential information globally.

One example of how our research has informed our clinical services is our work on breathlessness. ‘This terrible symptom is common in many conditions, including cancer, respiratory failure, heart failure and some neurological conditions. It’s hugely unpleasant and frightening. Try breathing through a straw and you’ll get the sensation,’ says Professor Higginson.

‘We’ve discovered new ways to support people with breathlessness, using a combination of approaches that include breath and muscle training, some drug treatments and use of a handheld fan. This research is changing the way services are provided for people with breathlessness across the globe. We’re improving the lives of millions of people.’

Your support will help the Cicely Saunders Institute continue its research and teaching to further develop and communicate innovative treatments. Please help even more people who need the best palliative care possible. 

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