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Marie Curie calls for researchers to address gaps in end of life care

Author: Leila Hawkins
17 May 2017

Marie Curie is calling on researchers to submit applications for its 2017 Research Grants Scheme to help address gaps in palliative and end of life care research.

The charity is looking for applications that focus on key research priorities identified by carers, health and social care professionals and people with terminal conditions, particularly in areas that until now have received the least attention.

These areas include out of hours care, support for carers, ensuring consistency of care for patients, and bereavement. These receive little or no funding, with bereavement being the only area not to receive any direct grant funding at all in 2014, according to an analysis by Marie Curie.

The grants scheme is an open call to researchers, with applications particularly welcome from scientists, clinicians and healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and research institutions.  The scheme is now in its eighth year, and has funded over 40 individual projects across UK to date.

Funding for the grants totals £1.5 million thanks to contributions from The Brain Tumour Charity, the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, and the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office.  

Commenting on the importance of encouraging new research, Sabine Best, Head of Research at Marie Curie, said:

“Palliative and end of life care is of ever growing importance as people live longer and develop more complex needs, but despite this it remains an underfunded area of research.  It has therefore been incredibly valuable for us to identify those research priorities that have been most neglected and we hope that this exercise will help inspire the passion and creativity of researchers across the country.”

“For Marie Curie, funding research that will improve people’s lives is a fundamental priority and we’re delighted that those organisations joining our funding call share this commitment – their contributions will broaden the scope of our research and ultimately result in better care for more people living with a terminal illness.”

Erica Moyes, Research Engagement Manager at The Brain Tumour Charity said:

“From our own experience as a charity and as detailed in our 2015 report, Losing Myself: The Reality of Life with a Brain Tumour, we understand the shocking gap in end of life care options. We found that 55% of people who have a terminal diagnosis of a brain tumour haven’t been given a choice of end of life options. This is simply not good enough.”

“Collaborating in this call for research being undertaken by Marie Curie is a vital step forward in improving the palliative and end of life care for everyone affected by any terminal illness.”

Dr Sarah Russell, Head of Research and Clinical Innovation at Hospice UK, commented: 

"This call for research demonstrates the vision and commitment that leaders in research such as Marie Curie offer the evidence base."

The deadline for submitting outline applications is 7 July, for more information visit Marie Curie. To join the conversation about the need for research, join the #whywedoresearch tweet chat on Thursday 18 between 12 -1 pm. 

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