Research seeks best mix of hope and care for leukaemia sufferers

Funding has been granted for research seeking the best care options for patients with leukaemia and other blood disorders and their families.

The project is the culmination of a decade of work by Dr Pam McGrath documenting the psycho-social aspects of haematological treatments.

A key finding from this prior research is that haematology patients are less likely to be referred to palliative care than other seriously ill people.

Funding has been provided by NHMRC to develop a model for end-of-life care that ensures patients will be offered both the benefits of the exciting medical progress in this area, along with the palliative care emphasis on quality of life.

The research aims to develop a model of care through interviews with consumers and health professionals and will be reviewed by a national panel of experts in the area.

The starting point for the model development is a focus on strategies to ensure that patients and their families receive access to palliative care with its holistic, compassionate and spiritual ideology.

The outcome will be to affirm the right of patients to die where and with whom they chose, in a setting respectful of the need for sensitive terminal care.

Researcher Dr Pam McGrath, of Central Queensland University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies, said it would take at least two years to document an acceptable model.

Dr McGrath’s funding has come via a NHMRC special initiative on Palliative Care.

Her research partner is Dr David Joske, the Head of Department of Haematology at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia.

The project will be a major collaborative study involving CQU, Kings College Hospital (UK), Mater Hospital Brisbane, Wesley Hospital Brisbane, Karuna Hospice Service, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, and the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia.

She said the research needed to untangle and evaluate a host of sociological and clinical issues and is driven by a commitment to providing the best supportive care to patients and their families.

Dr McGrath is currently working on seven funded research projects, including the Palliative Care initiative.

http://www.cqu.edu.au

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