Monash University Palliative Care Research

Palliative care research at Monash University is predominantly based in Nursing & Midwifery, but with developing links to other disciplines. The focus of the group is centred on the Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care Nursing. The current Chair is Professor Claire Johnson, who commenced her role in mid-2017. This position is shared with a large Melbourne health service, where Claire is the Clinical Lead for End-of-Life Care.

The Palliative Care Research Team has undertaken clinical research for more than 15 years, previously under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Margaret O’Connor, who remains involved in the Team’s activities. The core group also comprises Associate Professor Susan Lee, Dr Kaori Shimoinaba, Dr Joy Penman, Ms Katrina Recoche in addition to research students. The teaching of end-of-life and palliative care is the responsibility of members of the Team in making a contribution to the nursing and other health professionals’ curricula. The research agenda is mainly clinically focused, identifying issues of concern to clinicians and involving them in shaping the research. It is important to further understand contemporary issues about advance care planning and voluntary assisted dying, and how clinicians are/will be involved in these activities. We are also interested in consumers’ perspectives and concerns related to experiences of care when an advance care directive is in place. Related areas of how to identify dying and the sorts of discussions between clinicians and individuals regarding their end-of-life decisions are important to understand. In addition, some projects address palliative care in the community, especially  how general practitioners are involved with people dying in residential aged care and community settings.

Regionally, members of the Team have been involved in assisting with nursing research activities and the conversations about the formation of an Asia-Pacific palliative care nurses group. We have an established record of success with numerous Masters and PhD students who have studied with Team members; and many educational visits have been undertaken to support palliative care collaboration and development in regional countries including Taiwan, Japan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. We regard these activities as integral to the ongoing contribution that Team members can offer the Region.

With increased community interest in issues at the end of life as well as the ageing of Australia’s population, we anticipate further development of the Chair and Team’s research agenda. The combined interests of clinicians and the Team will ensure the translational relevance of the research agenda into the future.

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