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Martin House Research Centre News

NEW Paper Published May 2020

This mixed methods systematic review examined the impact of specialist paediatric palliative care for children and young people with cancer and explored the factors affecting access.

Specialist paediatric palliative care for children and young people with cancer: A mixed-methods systematic review - Johanna Taylor, Alison Booth, Bryony Beresford, Bob Philips, Kath Wright, Lorna Fraser. Palliative Medicine, 2 May 2020

To download the full paper click on the link below:-

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269216320908490 

New research reveals a significant rise in the number of children with life-limiting conditions

A new study shows that the number of children in England with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions has continued to rise over the last 17 years.

The research is published amid the Coronavirus crisis in the UK, which has already had a far reaching and negative impact on families caring for seriously ill children.

The Make Every Child Count study, conducted by the University of York, has revealed that the number of children in England with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions increased to 86,625 in 2017/2018 compared to 32,975 in 2001/2002. 

Isolated

The research is published amid the Coronavirus crisis in the UK, which has already had a far reaching and negative impact on families caring for seriously ill children, who are feeling frightened, isolated and alone, with some families struggling to get the right care and support for their child.

Responding to predications that the number of children with life-limiting conditions will rise at least another 11% by 2030, UK children’s palliative care charity, Together for Short Lives is calling on the Government, NHS and others to make sure seriously ill children and their families can access the lifeline services they rely on.

The new research also reveals that prevalence of life-limiting conditions is by far the greatest in babies under the age of one, and that more young people with life-limiting conditions are living to the age of 19 years.

Urgent need

The reports says that more seriously ill children are living longer is cause for celebration, however there is an urgent need to make sure that children’s palliative care services are properly planned, funded and delivered to ensure that these children, and their families, can live life to the full. It’s hoped that the Make Every Child Count research will make it easier for government, the NHS, children’s palliative care providers and others to do this.

The study used routinely collected hospital and death certificate data in England to provide an up-to-date count of children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions.

Other key findings also show: 

  • The prevalence of children with life-limiting conditions has increased from 26.7 per 10,000 in 2001 to 66.4 per 10,000 in 2017/18 and is higher in boys than girls. 
  • The prevalence of life-limiting conditions is highest among the most deprived groups of the population, who are least able to afford the financial burden of caring for a child with a complex condition. 
  • The prevalence of life-limiting conditions is increasing across all regions of England, with the highest increase in the North West of England and Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • The study’s most conservative prediction suggests that the number of children with life-limiting conditions will rise to between 95,318 and 97,242 in 2030 – an increase of 11%. Whilst the increase may be partly down to better recording of hospital data and improved diagnosis, the study suggests that it is also likely to be because children are living longer as a result of better care being provided and advances in medical technology. 

Lead author, Professor Lorna Fraser, Director of the Martin House Research Centre at the University of York said: “Hopefully these findings will help commissioners and service providers to work together to ensure that all these children and young people have access to accessible and age appropriate health services.” 

Pandemic

CEO of Together for Short Lives, Andy Fletcher said: “In many ways the pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges families were already facing in getting the support and services they need. So, we must not forget the growing number of children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families who need care and support, both now and in the future.”

The research was conducted by the Martin House Research Centre, University of York and funded by The True Colours Trust.

The full report, Make Every Child Count can be read by clicking on the link below:-

Prevalence Final Report 28 April 20 (PDF , 2,390kb)

To watch the webinar with Professor Lorna Fraser discussing her findings from the Make Every Child Count Study please click on the link below:-

Webinar with Prof Lorna Fraser

 

YorkTalks 2020

On Wednesday 8 January 2020, hundreds of staff, students and members of the public joined at the University of York for a day of inspirational short talks about the world-leading research happening here in York  Our very own, Dr Lorna Fraser gave a talk entitled 'Caring about the evidence: changing the face of palliative care for children in the UK'.  These were recorded and below is a link to all the talks (scroll down to the very last one for Dr Fraser's):-

https://www.york.ac.uk/research/events/yorktalks/ 
 

Paper Presented at the Hospice UK National Conference

Two Martin House Research Centre members presented a paper on our staff wellbeing in children’s hospices (SWiCH) project at the 2019 Hospice UK 2019 National Conference in Liverpool.

Dr Andrew Papworth and Dr Jo Taylor presented preliminary findings from a systematic literature review and outlined their ongoing work to develop and validate a new measure of staff wellbeing.

The result of this work (the first phase of the SWiCH project) will be used to inform the development of a national survey of all UK children’s hospice organisations and their care staff.

The project aims to increase understanding about the work-related stressors and rewards experienced by children’s hospice care staff, and to identify the staff support systems and organisational practices that offer the most potential to enhance wellbeing at work.

The conference abstract has been published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care: https://spcare.bmj.com/content/9/Suppl_4/A7.2

If you are interested in learning more about the study, you can visit the project webpage or contact Andrew Papworth: andrew.papworth@york.ac.uk

 

EAPC Scientific Committee Meeting Helsinki December 2019

We had our first meeting of the EAPC Scientific Committee for their World Congress on Palliative Care in Helsinki May 2021 (https://www.eapc-2021.org/general-information/).  It was a privilege to work with the 12 great minds around the table to plan the plenary speakers. There were so many great suggestions but down to great chairing by Prof Fliss Murtagh, we were able to reach consensus very quickly.  I am sworn to secrecy but watch this space, this will be a fantastic line-up.

I was really impressed by the commitment of the EAPC to continue to grow the paediatric palliative care program after the success of the 2019 Berlin Congress.  The call for parallel sessions is now open https://www.eapc-2021.org/scientific-information/proposal-parallel-sessions/ and the free papers abstract will be open next spring.

Hope to see lots of you in Helsinki.

Dr Lorna Fraser - Director

 

Visit by Dr Lorna Fraser to Czech Republic – December 2019

I was honoured to be asked to speak the National Conference for Children’s Palliative Care in the Czech Republic about the importance of research and the Martin House Research Centre. I was also given the opportunity to visit with Jitka Kosikova, Cesta Domu a newly built hospice in Prague which hopes to be able to care for children and adults.

More than 200 delegates attended the conference, and given that the Czech Republic is only a sixth of the population of the UK this showed the commitment of their staff and healthcare system to developing a programme of paediatric palliative care. My understanding of the Czech language is limited but there was a real willingness to work together for the aim of providing the best possible care for the children.

Visit by Dr Lorna Fraser to Munich - October 2019

I was delighted to be the first invited speaker to the seminar series at the purpose built Kinderpalliative care centre in Munich by Prof Monika Fuhrer. This was an opportunity both to present some of our research to the large team of clinical and research specialists in the children’s palliative care team and the medical staff at the children’s hospital in Munich.

The first challenge to me was to try to compress all the fantastic work from the MHRC team into two presentations as we have so many interesting studies.

The children’s palliative care team were very interested to hear our patient and public involvement with our Family Advisory Board and Young people panel. This type of interaction is unusual in Germany so it was great to be able to share the value of this part of our work and give some examples of how this has helped us be successful in grant applications and ensure that they were undertaking our research in an appropriate way.

It was good to hear about their current research studies in advance care planning and perinatal palliative care and hopefully some collaborative studies will develop.

Lorna Fraser

Director of the Martin House Research Centre

We are seeking a researcher or clinical academic to join us as a member of the Martin House Research Centre management team

08 March 2019

The Martin House Research Centre (MHRC) is a partnership between Martin House Children’s Hospice and the University of York (Department of Health Sciences and the Social Policy Research Unit). It is a multi-disciplinary centre for research on the care and support of children and young people with life limiting conditions or medical complexity, their families and the workforce that care for them. The Centre is holistic in its scope, recognising that the care and support needs of children and families span clinical/medical, social, psychological, parenting/caring, spiritual, financial and practical domains.

Launched just over two years ago, the Centre has been very successful in developing a broad portfolio of applied research and securing significant external funding.

Due to the imminent retirement of a founding member of the MHRC management team, Dr Roger Parslow, we are asking for expressions of interest from Yorkshire and Humber based researchers or clinical academics to join the Centre’s management team.

The management team consists of Dr Lorna Fraser, Prof Bryony Beresford and Dr Jan Aldridge (Martin House).

Skills and Experience

  1. Higher research degree.
  2. Active researcher in a relevant field or clinical academic with an expertise which aligns with the objectives of the Centre.
  3. An established national or international reputation in their area.
  4. Track record of leading studies as Principal Investigator in a research area that complements and adds to the MHRC’s current skills.
  5. Experience of collaborative working with the NHS, social care or third sector organisations.
  6. Experience of strategic leadership and management within a research environment.

Role

  1. As a member of the Centre’s Management Team, contribute to the operational and strategic management of the Centre, attending meetings approximately every 6-8 weeks as well as one-off events (in person or virtually).
  2. Provide timely feedback and input to the business of the Centre during and outside of scheduled meetings.
  3. Support the further development of the Centre’s portfolio of research.
  4. To actively promote the Centre’s work externally.

There is a 5% FTE of associate professor salary available if needed and travel expenses can be reimbursed. Applicants should provide a CV and covering letter stating why they would like to be considered for this position. These should be emailed to Prof Trevor Sheldon (trevor.sheldon@york.ac.uk) and Prof Patricia McKinney (p.a.mckinney@leeds.ac.uk) by the 1st April.


Research Trainee Position

26 February 2019

This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated research trainee to contribute to the multi-
disciplinary team in the Martin House Research Centre (www.york.ac.uk/mhrc) and work towards a PhD.
You will contribute to a mixed methods study which aims to assess the health of mothers of children with
life-limiting conditions whilst developing your own PhD study exploring the health and wellbeing of
fathers. You will take responsibility for co-ordinating and undertaking activities for this project, which
includes qualitative interviews or focus groups, and literature reviewing. You will have the opportunity
to undertake a bespoke training programme of internal and external methodology and professional
development courses whilst working towards your PhD. You will also have an opportunity to contribute to the wider portfolio of research being undertaken by the Martin House Research Centre team.
Further information found here

 https://jobs.york.ac.uk/wd/plsql/wd_portal.show_job?p_web_site_id=3885&p_web_page_id=378519


Research priorities for children and young people with life-limiting conditions: MHRC researchers publish review of papers

9 November 2018

Martin House Research Centre researchers have reviewed the existing literature identifying research priorities related to the care of children and young people with life-limiting conditions, their parents, and all those who care for them. Published in the international journal Palliative Medicine, this systematic scoping review identified 24 research prioritisation exercises and 279 research questions or priority areas for health research. The priorities were mapped in the context in which they were agreed, resulting in the identification of 16 common topic areas, 55 sub-topics and 12 sub-sub-topics. The themes ranged from service delivery to treatments and interventions to communications to emotional and psychological issues. The map provides the opportunity for a coherent approach to improving the evidence base for this area of practice. More broadly this scoping review highlights the need for the perspectives of children and young people and their families to be included when undertaking research prioritisation exercises.

Download the paper here


New MHRC publication

29 October 2018

Martin House Research Centre researchers have published a paper in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, exploring the association between missed outpatient appointments and unplanned hospital care for children with neurological conditions. The research showed that those who missed outpatients appointments had 19 percent more emergency inpatient admissions and 16 percent more visits per year than those who missed none. 'Did not attends' had a larger increase in unplanned health care than patient or provider cancellations. If no appointments were missed, the models predict there would have been 107 000 fewer A&E visits from 2007/2008 to 2014/2015 and 104 000 fewer emergency inpatient admissions from 2003/2004 to 2014/2015. Improving outpatient attendance may have the potential to reduce emergency inpatient admissions and A&E visits.

Download the paper here


NIHR Fellowship success

6 September 2018

We are delighted to announce that two members of the Martin House Research Centre Team have been awarded prestigious NIHR fellowships in the 2017/18 round of awards.

Stuart Jarvis will be undertaking a doctoral research fellowship entitled ‘Transitioning from paediatric to adult healthcare with a life limiting condition; does this lead to increased healthcare usage, cost and worse patient outcomes?’

Centre Director Lorna Fraser, will be completing a Career Development Fellowship ‘Crisis Prevention rather than Crisis Management; the Health of Mothers of Children with a Life-Limiting condition’ 

Both programmes of work will start in January 2019 and details will appear on our project pages.

Any questions about either fellowship please contact lorna.fraser@york.ac.uk


MHRC to be well represented at the Maruzza Congress on Pediatric Palliative Care

1 August 2018

Martin House Research Centre will be well represented in Rome this October at the Maruzza Congress on Pediatric Palliative Care. Despite the centre being in only its second year, seven researchers will be presenting new and innovative work on an international stage:

This will be a great opportunity to develop dialogues with a number of leading academics, health professionals and other stakeholders, and generate a wide-reaching, collaborative interest in the centre’s research.


Make Every Child Count

17 July 2018

Dr Lorna Fraser, Director of the Martin House Research Centre, is leading a new research study called “Make Every Child Count” which will give an up-to-date estimate of the number of babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across the UK and will help to predict levels of need in the future. Together for Short Lives has secured funding for this research from the True Colours Trust following a consultation with the children’s palliative care sector which identified this as a pressing need.

More information can be found on the project page here


MHRC Director receives the European Association for Palliative Care Postdoctoral research award

1 June 2018

Our Director, Lorna Fraser was delighted to receive the European Association for Palliative Care Postdoctoral research award last week at the EAPC conference in Bern. This was a great opportunity for Lorna to speak about children’s palliative care on the plenary stage to more than 1000 EAPC delegates. Lorna was also interviewed for the EAPC blog which can be accessed here


MHRC Researchers publish paper on hospital use among children and young people with neurological conditions

22 May 2018

Martin House Research Centre researchers have published a paper in the International Journal of Population Data Science looking at hospital use among children and young people with neurological conditions. The research showed that 8.8% of hospital bed days for 0-19 year olds in England in 2014/15 were for those with neurological conditions, an increase of a third from 6.6% in 2003/04. Reductions in length of stay and bed days per person per year were more than offset by increasing numbers of children and young people having neurological diagnoses. Length of stay and bed days varied by diagnostic group, age, deprivation category and region and these variations should be taken into account in resource planning for this growing hospital population.

Download the paper here


 MHRC Director presents to 1st Argentinian Paediatric Palliative Care Conference

8 May 2018

Our Director, Lorna Fraser, travelled to Buenos Aires last month to present the plenary lecture at the 1st Argentinian Paediatric Palliative Care Conference which was part of the National Argentinian Paediatric Society Conference.

Lorna also had the opportunity to visit the Paediatric Palliative Care team at the Hospital Posadas in Buenos Aires, present to the paediatricians and discuss their model of providing palliative care.

Lorna said: “It was a great honour to present the plenary lecture and meet the leaders of paediatric palliative care in Argentina, we had preliminary discussions about working together on some research studies in the future so hopefully this is the start of an ongoing collaboration”.


Martin House Research Centre is looking for parents of children with life limiting conditions to help shape their research

19th April, 2018 - 10am to 1pm at The Village Hotel Leeds North, LS16 5PR

The Remit of the Martin House Research Centre is to conduct research on the care and support of children and young people with life-limiting conditions or medical complexity, their families and the health and care workforce. 

Come along to learn more about the Martin House Research Centre and tell us how families should be involved in the research we do. 

During the event, we would like to tell you about some of our ongoing projects and to ask for your views and ideas about two areas of research we are considering for the Centre. The first is about possible new ways to detect, or assess, pain in children who do not use speech to communicate. The second is about how we might better support parents who deliver complex care to their child at home. 

Sign up here

Contact: Jo Taylor 


Research Fellow Vacancy

28 March 2018

This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated research fellow with experience in quantitative data analyses and handling large data sets to contribute to the multi-disciplinary team in the Martin House Research Centre.  

You will conduct research and contribute to the portfolio of secondary data analyses being undertaken by the Martin House Research Centre team and take responsibility for co-ordinating and undertaking activities including developing research questions, handling large complex data sets including data analyses plans, data cleaning, analyses and report writing.

Full job details and how to apply here


New research paper explores the rewards and challenges of working in a children’s hospice

7 March 2018

Martin House Research Centre researchers have published the findings of a study exploring the rewards and challenges of working in a children’s hospice by analysing information obtained from interviews and focus groups with care team staff. The paper published in the journal BMC Palliative Care, reports that ‘getting it right’ for children and their families is both rewarding and challenging, and a motivator for staff. Delivering holistic care was also rewarding but at the same time placed individuals at the limits of their own competency when they delivered aspects of care that were unfamiliar or they lacked confidence about. Participants described how team dynamics, organisational factors and individual resilience could also affect their wellbeing at work. The study found that structured opportunities to reflect on and learn from work as a team were highly valued, particularly as support outside of work was limited.

Download the full paper here


New report on therapies for children with neurodisabilities

14 February 2018

A report on therapy interventions for children with neurodisabilities has just been published. This research was led and carried out by some of the Martin House Research Centre’s research team.  The project investigated the ways physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy are currently being organised and delivered, and parents’ and professionals’ views about how therapy interventions help and support children, should be evaluated and research priorities.  The project was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research. It will used by them to inform decision-making about the sorts of research they should fund on therapies for children with neurodisabilities.

Download a summary of the report for parents here: THINC Project (PDF  , 634kb)

Download the full paper here


SAVE THE DATE: Martin House Research Centre’s first conference

18 December 2017

Following the launch of the Martin House Research Centre at the beginning of 2017, we are very pleased to announce the first in its series of bi-annual conferences.

This is a conference for researchers and users of research evidence.  It will bring together the research community and service/strategic leads who to use research evidence to inform the design, delivery and evaluation of services for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families. 

The conference aims are:

  • to offer an overview of current and recently completed UK research within the field
  • to consider the implications of those findings for service design and/or practice
  • to develop  knowledge and understanding of different research approaches and methods and their application within the field of children’s palliative care
  • to provide a forum for connection and exchange between the research and practitioner/provider communities

Date: Friday, 21 September 2018

Venue: University of York, York, UK

Conference registration and a call for abstracts (oral and poster presentations) will open in the new year.  A draft programme will be also be made available then. 


Research Priorities Consultation Event

25 September 2017

We were delighted to welcome to our event over 40 participants prepared to contribute their perspective to identifying research priority topics for the Martin House Research Centre (MHRC). Young people from Martin House Hospice, parents of children with life limiting conditions, paediatric doctors specialising in neonatology, neurology, oncology and palliative care, specialist hospice and community nurses, members of Martin House’ care and bereavement teams, strategic leads of children’s palliative care services, a clinical psychologist,  , chaplains, representatives of major national bodies such as Together for Short Lives and the National Paediatric Palliative Care Clinical Network, and senior researchers in the field from across the UK, shared their thoughts and ideas.

It was an intensive day for everyone as participants were divided into groups and asked to agree the order of priorities for research. This generated some lively debates and discussions, and the shared common purpose of ultimately helping to improve the care of infants, children and young people with life limiting conditions, created an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere.

Everyone got a chance to add their own ‘burning questions’, and to identify issues not identified in previous research prioritisation exercises which the MHRC had identified and reviewed prior to the consultation event.

A wide range of issues were discussed from legislation to emotional well-being, end-of-life care to measuring quality of life, and service models to communication and decision-making. The research priorities agreed by each of the groups are being collated and together with advice from the MHRC Advisory Board, will help map the future work of the Centre. 


New research paper published on estimating prevalence of life limiting conditions

19 September 2017

Martin House Research Centre researchers have published a paper comparing ways of measuring the number of children and young people with life limiting conditions. The paper, published in the journal Palliative Medicine, reports that use of death records underestimates the prevalence of life limiting conditions by up to 31% compared to using hospital records. The authors recommend that planning of resources for children and young people with life limiting conditions should be based on estimates of prevalence from hospital records.

Download the paper here


Progress update on the first 4 months of the Martin House Research Centre

06 June 2017

This has been a very exciting and busy few months for the team.  See our MHRC May 2017 Update (PDF , 412kb) for more details.


York collaborates with children's hospice for major new venture

09 January 2017

The University of York and Martin House Children’s Hospice has launched a revolutionary new multi-disciplinary centre committed to leading research on the management, care and support of children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Read more. See also, article in ehospice.