In December 2021, Joanna Davies, a PhD Training Fellow funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, gave a keynote address at the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care annual research symposium (AIIHPC). The AIIHPC is a leading organisation with national and international influence in excellence in palliative care. It does this by advancing education, research, policy, and practice to improve the palliative care experience of people with life limiting conditions and their families.
The symposium explored the theme of Equality and Equity in Palliative Care and Joanna presented her paper on understanding the reasons why socioeconomic inequality persists in palliative and end of life care. Joanna was among a line-up of prestigious speakers, presenting alongside leading experts including Professor Merryn Gott from the University of Auckland and Dr Sam Royston from Marie Curie UK.
It was a real pleasure to be invited to speak about my work and to have the opportunity to engage in a whole day of presentations and discussions on the topic of equity in palliative care with a particular focus on Ireland. There is a real sense of momentum building on the need to level-up access to end of life care.– Joanna Davies, King’s research student and keynote speaker
Joanna’s paper published in Lancet Public Health earlier in 2021 used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to investigate the reasons underlying socioeconomic inequality in patterns of hospital care towards the end of life. The study used analysis to test potential explanations between socioeconomic position and care, including through health and function, service access, and social support. The findings suggest that worse health and function could partly explain why people with lower wealth have more hospital admissions. This challenges behavioural explanations for social patterned use of care and highlights the importance of socioeconomically driven health differences in driving service usage.
As a supervisor and post-graduate research coordinator, it is great to see Joanna gain due recognition as a keynote speaker to share the findings of her work to an international audience. She is tackling a hugely important issue in socioeconomic inequity as applied to palliative care, and advancing the science in this area through her thoughtful and skilled research.– Dr Matthew Maddocks