What we mean by 'quality of care' in the community

This year’s Annual Marie Curie Research Conference, held jointly with the Royal Society of Medicine, will focus on palliative care in the community – making a difference in practice.


Professor Jane Seymour, Sue Ryder Care Professor of Palliative and End of Life Studies at the University of Nottingham, will be discussing her research at the conference. Here Jane gives a quick overview about why her work is crucial in bringing benefits to patients at the end of the lives as well as to families and carers. What is the research you’re presenting about?

I am going to be talking about quality of care in the community: what we mean by ‘quality of care' and what the barriers are to good quality of care. I am drawing on a range of research studies; most have taken place over the last ten years or so. Most of the research has been undertaken at the University of Nottingham in the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care.

Why did we need to investigate this area?

Most people want to be cared for at home for as long as possible, but they want be assured that they will receive the support that they need and that their families need. Sadly we are a long way from ensuring that this is a realistic option for everyone.

How will the findings help people with a terminal illness or their families?

I will draw attention to what key issues need to be addressed to improve patients’ and carers’ experiences at home.

How long has the research taken/will it take?

Our research has been ongoing over the last ten years or so.

Who did we talk to (and how many people) and what did we ask them?

Our studies have involved many different sorts of people: older adults living with frailty; patients and staff in care homes; people living with a range of terminal illnesses. Our research has mainly involved qualitative methods, where we have tried to understand the person’s experiences in their own terms.

What more do we still need to learn about this topic?

I think we have a great deal to learn. If I could highlight one aspect, it would be how to provide better quality care for frail older people living alone at the end of their lives. The conference will take place on 28 March 2014 in London and will be attended by Marie Curie staff, healthcare professionals, academics and others with an interest in palliative care research. Visit the Marie Curie website for more information and to view the programme. For conference updates on twitter follow the hashtag #communitypallcare.