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Glasgow University launches major research project on end of life care

06 March 2015

A new four-year project, which officially launched on 1 March, aims to identify the most appropriate and sustainable interventions at the end of life.

The project, led by Professor David Clark at the University of Glasgow and supported by the Wellcome Trust, will take a global perspective to improve understanding of interventions at the end life.

With a growing and ageing global population, and a growing need for palliative and end of life care, the study aims to identify more sustainable and appropriate end of life interventions, across various cultures and settings. 

Professor Clark explained: "The world is facing huge challenges in caring for dying and bereaved people. We need to better understand what approaches work well and how people in different parts of the world can learn from one another. We also require some new perspectives and approaches – which is what good research can offer."

Prof Clark and his team will examine approaches of varying types and characteristics, across differing resource settings, geographies and cultures – first to build a typology of interventions and then to conduct in-depth case studies of selected examples.

The researchers aims to answer three key questions:

  • How has the field of end of life care emerged in the modern global context, what factors have shaped its development, to what extent is it achieving its goals and what are the barriers to progress?
  • How are specific end of life interventions formulated and delivered in different settings, what forms do they take, how can they be classified and how have particular concepts, theories and methodologies and related empirical studies shaped the design and delivery of end of life care in specific contexts?
  • How can social science, historical, comparative and theoretical perspectives frame the issue of end life interventions in ways that lead to greater efficacy and sustainability and how might alternative perspectives shape such interventions along different lines?
Writing on his blog in December, Prof Clark introduced the team who will be working with him:
  • Dr Shahaduz Zaman will conduct in-depth case studies in different international settings and will coordinate project-related activities.
  • Hamilton Inbadas will focus on desk-based data gathering, literature searches and reviews and the collection of primary data through interviews and surveys.
  • Catriona Forrest, public engagement officer, will help the researchers explain what it is they’re doing, why and for whom and ensure research findings are available in a useful form after the project finishes.

To mark the launch of the project, Glasgow University has produced a short animated film (which you can watch above) outlining the need for this research and the aims of the project.

You can find out more about the project on the website of the University of Glasgow End of Life Studies unit and on Professor Clark's blog.

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