Donor-funded grant to help improve access to palliative care
9 Nov 2022
In August, it was announced that Dr Alannah Cooper (pictured above,) was one of the inaugural recipients of the $50,000 St John of God Foundation Seed Funding Grant. Dr Cooper, a Nurse Researcher at St John of God Subiaco Hospital, was also the successful recipient of an Early Career Researcher Grant.
Dr Cooper graduated with her PhD at the beginning of 2022, building on a decade of research experience working in diverse areas including nursing, emergency medicine, and clinical trials.
“Building research capacity in caregivers is essential for excellence in health care,” she said.
Improving practice in the hospital and beyond
“I love finding better ways to do things and seeing the knowledge and confidence of clinically based caregivers grow, as we work together to conduct research to improve practice at the hospital and beyond.”
Dr Cooper will be using the research funding to identify barriers to palliative care access.
Palliative care is an area of health care that can often be misunderstood, with the term sometimes used interchangeably with end-of-life, terminal or hospice care. This can contribute to the incorrect belief that palliative care is only for patients coming to the end of their life, which may cause delayed or missed referrals for patients who may benefit from palliative care.
Understanding barriers to palliative care
Through a mixed-methods study, Dr Cooper and her research team will aim to better understand existing barriers to palliative care referral, and to improve access to timely palliative care services for patients and their families so they receive the very best support and care.
“Early access to palliative care improves quality of life, symptom management, and reduces the number of hospital admissions for patients,” she said.
“I hope this project will help to find ways to identify and refer patients early in their patient journey, so they experience the benefits of palliative care.”
Dr Cooper also hopes that the research will help to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits of palliative care amongst health professionals.
“This project will also help to determine the resources that are needed to provide timely palliative care,” she said.
Seeing patients benefit from care services
“I hope that through timely referrals, our palliative care professionals will experience increased job satisfaction through seeing their patients fully benefit from the support and expertise of palliative care services.
“Seeing so many people conducting and applying research findings to improve patient care within St John of God Health Care, and in other settings, makes me very proud to be part of the organisation.”
Our congratulations to Dr Cooper and her research team on their success in receiving this grant. We look forward to following the progress of this important work and sharing updates as they become available.
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