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20 June 2024

CovPall-Partners project to enhance palliative care integration and access

Project aims to transform the understanding and integration of palliative care evidence to ensure more individuals can benefit from it sustainably.

Illustration of a woman sat upright in bed
A woman sat upright in bed

Researchers at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care are leading a CovPall-Partners project, which is aimed at revolutionising palliative care integration and accessibility through strategic partnerships and co-design approaches across diverse healthcare settings.

CovPall-Partners, funded by the Medical Research Foundation, Thomas Deane Trust and The Garfield Weston Foundation seeks to transform the understanding and integration of palliative care evidence to ensure more individuals can benefit from it sustainably. The introduction of this initiative challenges the misconception that palliative care is confined to imminent death and dying. Instead, it emphasises that palliative care embraces complex symptoms and comorbidities, highlighting that it is a complex science aimed at better patient care.

On the significance of collaborative efforts in improving palliative care outcomes, Professor Irene J Higginson, Principal Investigator, said: "Our goal is to bridge gaps in understanding and accessibility of palliative care. Through partnerships and co-design, we can ensure that evidence-based strategies reach those who need them most." 

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is central to CovPall-Partners. Beyond presenting data, the project focuses on developing resources tailored to different ethnic groups and subgroups, ensuring the message about managing symptoms like breathlessness, agitation, and comorbidities is culturally acceptable and accessible. Resources include a video (see below) and infographic

Emphasising the importance of adapting messages for different communities, Dr Mev Hocaoglu, Postdoctoral Researcher, said: "By ensuring cultural acceptability, we can truly make an impact in addressing complex symptoms and comorbidities."

The project also stresses the critical role of palliative care in pandemic planning and day-to-day management of care for those at the end of life. This message, aimed at supporting those who commission services such as Integrated Care Boards, underscores the importance of not losing sight of palliative care amidst crises.

Sarah Perman, a core member of the project from the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System, said: "We aim to ensure that palliative care is not overlooked, especially in times of crisis. It's critical for both pandemic planning and everyday care."

For further information and updates on CovPall-Partners, please visit the project’s webpage.