Research on Palliative Care

Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care 

HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care leads and collaborates in a broad range of research aiming to improve the quality of life and well-being for people living with life threatening illness and their families. We conduct mixed methods and health services research to inform development of interventions to improve provision of palliative care in a variety of settings, as well as support families in their bereavement. Key strengths include research to enable better communication with people and their families about end of life care, and research regarding optimal management of cancer pain.  

The Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care undertakes translational research projects to embed evidence in practice. For example, pain guidelines, an anxiety and depression pathway, development of tools to support persons living with dementia and their families to prepare for their future care and access palliative care, and a toolkit and national training program to facilitate team-based initiation of advance care planning and palliative care in general practice. 

In addition, HammondCare supervise PhD students’ research in several areas including Advance Care Planning, the role of paramedicine in End of Life Care, Pain Management, Psycho-social aspects of care and spirituality.  

We collaborate with a number of national and international experts to enable the conduct of multi-disciplinary team-based, high quality and clinically valid research to improve outcomes for this vulnerable population of patients and their families.

Selected Current Projects

The Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care lead and collaborate on a number of research projects, including some listed here. For details on these projects please refer to the research reports shown below:

Clayton J, Cunningham C, Tieman J. Australian Government, Department of Health National Palliative Care Project. The Advance Project: Initiating advance care planning and palliative care for people living with dementia through training and resources for care providers. Awarded $1.2 million from July 2020 until end of June 2023.

Clark K, Matsuoka H, Clarke S, Phillips J, Good P, Lovell M, Lee J, Le B. National Health and Medical Research Council App ID 1188023. An international, double-blind, dose increment, parallel-arm, randomised controlled trial of duloxetine versus pregabalin for opioid unresponsive cancer-related neuropathic pain: Phase III trial. Awarded $978,610 from 2020 for three years. 

Kizawa Y, Mori M, Clayton J. Japanese Government fund for the Promotion of Joint International Research, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI, multi-year fund). The development and effectiveness of culturally-adapted advance care planning interventions: Building an Asian collaborative palliative care research network. Awarded 18,460,000 Yen (equivalent to $245,000 AUD) from October 2019 for six years.

Lovell M, Austin P. Sydney Vital Translational Cancer Research Centre. The effects of virtual reality on pain intensity in people with cancer pain. Awarded $50,000 from April 2019 for 12 months.

Lovell M, Boyle F. Friends of the Mater Grant. Updating the Australian Cancer Pain guideline. Awarded $50,000 from July 2019 for 12 months.

Clayton J, Rhee J, Tieman J, Detering K, Mitchell G, Phillips J, Halcomb E, Morton R, Lewis V. Australian Government, Department of Health National Palliative Care Project. The Advance Project: Initiating palliative care and advance care planning through training and resources for primary care clinicians. Awarded $2 million from August 2017 until end of June 2020.

Phillips J, Shaw T, Lovell M, Davidson P, Boyle F, Lam L, McCaffrey N. Cancer Australia Grant ID: PdCCRS 1127011. Improving Patient Reported pain Outcomes through mHealth Practitioner Training (I-PROMPT): A phase III wait-listed randomised control trial. Awarded $342,483 from 2017 for three years.

Clayton J, Rhee J, Tieman J, Detering K, Halcomb E, Mitchell G, Phillips J, Shaw T, Morton R. Australian Government, Department of Health National Palliative Care Project. The Advance Project. Initiating palliative care and advance care planning: training and resources for General Practice Nurses. Awarded $1,400,000 from 2016 - 2017.

Butow P, Andrew G, Girgis A, Kelly B, Hack T, Clayton J, Price M, Beale P, Viney R, Kirsten L. Cancer Institute NSW Translational Program Grant. A sustainable and supported clinical pathway for managing anxiety and depression in cancer patients: developing and evaluating components and testing implementation strategies. Awarded $3,643,992 from July 2015 for five years.


Lovell MR, Phillips J, Agar M, Boyle FM, Davidson PM, Luckett T, Currow DC, Ryan L, McCaffrey N, Shaw T. National Breast Cancer Foundation. Implementing a national clinical pathway for pain to ensure equitable, cost-effective, evidence-based, person-centred care for people with advanced breast and other cancers. Awarded $939,139 from November 2014 over 4 years.

  • The Advance Project: Initiating palliative care and advance care planning through training and resources for primary care clinicians
  • Communication-related experiences and needs of families for older people living with advanced dementia receiving end-of-life care: A systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research
  • The effects of virtual reality on pain intensity in people with cancer pain
  • Stop cancer PAIN
  • Optimising end of life care for people living with dementia: a qualitative study of residential aged care staff perspectives 
  • Cancer Pain Assessment Study
  • The experience of multidisciplinary specialist palliative care teams caring for people with intellectual disability (ID) who are dying
  • Designing for early engagement and wellbeing in palliative care 
  • Randomised controlled trial of duloxetine versus pregabalin for cancer-related neuropathic pain: Phase III trial 
  • A sustainable and supported clinical pathway for managing anxiety and depression in cancer patients: developing and evaluating components and testing implementation strategies
  • Palliative caregivers' spirituality, views about spiritual care, and associations with well-being
  • Understanding spiritual encounters and requirements of patients living with serious illnesses
  • Prevalence of Advance Care Directives in Australian health and residential aged care services
  • National prevalence study of advance care planning documentation and self-reported uptake in Australia
  • Living after death: An exploration of the experiences of bereaved adults
  • A retrospective study looking at outcomes of patients considered for discharge to residential aged care facilities from a palliative care unit and factors associated with survival
  • Subcutaneous ketamine infusion in palliative care patients with advanced life limiting Illnesses for major depressive disorder: A phase II pilot feasibility study
  • Rapid report of pharmacovigilance program 
  • Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of oral melatonin for the prevention of delirium in hospital in people with advanced cancer

External collaborators include:

Research Centres
Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC)
Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence Based Decision Making
Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT)
Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group (PoCoG)
Cancer Symptoms Trial Group
Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death & Dying (RePaDD)
Sydney Vital
Sydney Catalyst

Hospitals 
Royal North Shore Hospital
Cabrini Health
St Vincent’s Hospital

Universities
University of Sydney
University of Technology Sydney
Flinders University of South Australia
La Trobe University
University of New South Wales
University of Queensland
University of Wollongong
Western Sydney University

Other
Advance Care Planning Australia
Care Search

International collaborators
University of Edinburgh, UK
Cecily Saunders Institute, UK
Kobe University, Japan

Research Reports:

More details about projects and publications arising from these are shown in our research reports:

Research Report 2019
HammondCare 2019 Research Report

Case studies include the role of virtual reality in pain management, designing residential care for older people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, quantifying the social impact of dementia support programs, an examination of The Advance Project and end of life planning and more.

Research Report 2018
HammondCare 2018 Research Report

Case studies include supporting reablement for people living with dementia, promoting mental wellbeing and positive ageing through the arts, working in collaboration, talking end of life for people with intellectual disability, the prevention of delirium in palliative care, the impact of a dementia assistance dog program, rebuilding hope for people living with pain and more.

Research Report 2017
HammondCare 2017 Research Report

Case studies include examination of new drug elenbecestat (E2609) to treat early Alzheimer’s Disease, evaluation of the Advance Project, the beginnings of the CDPC Practice Handbook for Reablement Interventions, a look into The Stop Cancer PAIN trial and more.

Research Report 2016
HammondCare 2016 Research Report

Case studies include improving cancer pain management, equipping nurses in advance care planning and palliative care, palliative care in the home, spirituality and its relevance to healthcare, signage for people living with dementia and more.