Research 7

Current Research

As part of our research strategy, we are leading on a number of projects whilst contributing to others being led by a range of external partners.

The following are some examples of research projects we are currently participating in:

Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Project

Project ECHO is an international, not for profit, online, guided tele-mentoring project. ECHO facilitates the delivery of training and education via a video link direct from a specialist ‘hub’ centre to multiple sites ‘spokes’ working in underserved or isolated areas. This then creates a virtual community of practice where specialists and non-specialists can learn from one another, through sharing of best practice and access to case-based learning.  

At St Luke’s, we are using the technology to deliver tailored programmes of palliative and end of life care training to both nursing home staff and paramedics to help develop their skills in supporting patients at the end of life.

More information about Project ECHO and the programmes being undertaken at St Luke’s is available here.

Yorkshire Cancer Research: RESOLVE study

Yorkshire Cancer Research is a major cancer research charity within the region, and is currently funding RESOLVE, a large scale project that aims to improve the health status and symptom experience for people living with advanced cancer. The study is being undertaken in a number of hospices and hospitals across Yorkshire and at St Luke’s it’s hoped the study will help us to understand the best methods for assessing, recording, understanding and improving the management of patient symptoms.

Further information about the RESOLVE study is available here.

Avoiding Emergency Admissions in Palliative Care

Many patients who are known to specialist palliative care units spend a lot of time in hospital, particularly the emergency department. Sometimes this is avoidable and can add unnecessary burden. 

The Avoiding Emergency Admissions in Palliative Care project is a locally funded programme, developed in collaboration with the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), which aims to explore the reasons why patients who are known to our service are admitted to hospital through the emergency department. It is hoped that the information gathered will help us to understand how we can better support our patients, as well as reduce unnecessary attendances.

Study of Opioid-Induced Constipation (StOIC) study

Developed at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, the StOIC study involves surveying and observing the care of patients to help us better understand how to treat constipation in cancer patients who are taking certain painkillers. St Luke’s was invited to take part in the study, which is currently being conducted in a number of hospices across the UK.

Acceptability of sedation as a side-effect of pain relief

Developed in collaboration with students and staff at the University of Sheffield’s Medical School and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the study involves surveying patients about their views on the acceptability of sleepiness as a side effect of pain relieving medication in palliative care. It is hoped that the findings will help to improve the management of pain experienced by patients, whilst also minimising the impact of side effects at different stages of their illness.

Enabling research

In addition to these main projects, St Luke’s supports the development of smaller scale projects conducted by clinical staff, PhD students researchers from the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and further afield. Examples of recent areas of research include building design, patients’ experiences of oral history, use of dance in healthcare and understanding nursing workloads in palliative care units.

St Luke’s offers training on understanding and appraising research to all staff via our multi-professional learning programme. We also offer a rolling six session programme covering the basics of research conduct, which is accessed by specialist registrars in the region and is available to any interested staff across our service.

St Luke’s is a founder member of the Sheffield Palliative Care Research Network, which links researchers with an interest in palliative care from across the city.

More information on the Sheffield Palliative Care Research Network is available here.