by Rhiannon Smith Senior Research Information Officer
The annual congress of the European Association for Palliative Care took place last week, between 30 May and 2 June. The congress brings together researchers from different countries to present their work and forge collaborations which will drive the field of palliative care research forward to better meet the needs of patients and carers. There were over 300 attendees from the UK alone. Many Marie Curie researchers presented their work at the congress, including researchers funded through grants from the Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Programme and the Dimbleby Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Fund, researchers from our hospicesand from our funded facilities - The Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Unit, London , The Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute, Liverpool and The Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, Cardiff . A particularly interesting workshop took place on the role of volunteers in palliative care. Researchers, volunteers and clinicians considered the different activities volunteers get involved in - in some countries this includes gardening, or serving tea to patients, while volunteers in other countries undertake ‘hands-on’ care. There was a debate about the training provided to volunteers and the necessity of ongoing education and monitoring. Marie Curie is one of the only organisations to fund research in this exciting area through the joint Dimbleby Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Fund . Other highlights of the conference included discussions about how social media can be used in palliative care research (and the problems this brings) and lots of excellent research on symptom management in end of life care. Marie Curie is a leading funder of palliative care research in the UK – funding around £2.5million of research in 2012/13 alone.