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Cheltenham nurse’s new role to aid palliative care research across West of England

Anne Parkinson, research nurse at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, has been appointed as the subspecialty lead for supportive and palliative care research for the Clinical Research Network West of England.

Following her appointment Anne said, "Palliative care research has the real potential to deliver significant improvements to the way we care for people at the end of life."

"One of our recent research studies at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice investigated if a nasal spray and a liquid medication into the side of the mouth, administered by family carers (under the supervision of the nursing staff at the hospice) could help manage symptoms at the end of life. It is hoped that in the future this research may enable patients to be cared for at home, for longer periods of time and potentially avoid having to call a district nurse for an injection to be administered.

"Introducing something like this would allow families greater involvement in the care of their loved ones, and would be a significant development to support the many more people who are now choosing to receive end of life care at home."

Anne, a Sue Ryder nurse of nine years, worked previously in oncology and has almost two decades of experience in managing and delivering research. Research is an area Anne is extremely passionate about, and she hopes her passion will help engage more hospices in taking part in research.

"I am really keen to engage with more hospices and encourage them to take part in research. It would be great to see more hospices across the region working collaboratively in research delivery so we can make improvements to the way we deliver care and treatment for patients.

"It is only by researching which methods and treatments work best that we can provide the best evidenced based care possible to people at the end of life. It is an area of care where we only have one chance to get it right.

"At Sue Ryder we're specialists in palliative care and we do all we can to help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for our patients; taking part in research helps us to achieve this."

Anne hopes to recruit more patients into research studies too. "Patients taking part in research at Sue Ryder often tell me it is nice to know that they still have a purpose," she shares. "They tell me how much they value being part of something. One patient once said to me 'I feel like I am on the scrap heap and they are not going to bother with me anymore as I am dying', so to be involved in research is really important to many of our patients."

Anne will be the only nurse to act as a subspecialty lead on the Clinical Research Network West of England cancer portfolio, which forms part of the National Institute for Health Research.

Anne shared, "It's great to be appointed as a nurse, alongside a team of mainly academics and consultants. I hope to bring my front line experience of delivering research, sharing my practical skills and hands on experience of setting up studies and recruiting patients."

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court hospice director, Elise Hoadley, said: "I'd like to congratulate Anne for having been selected for this role. I am impressed and inspired by the incredible work which goes on at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice to improve practice, for the benefit of our patients, and to add to the body of knowledge within palliative care nationally and internationally. So much happens at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice that is unseen but so influential and Anne's role will help shed more light on this."

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