Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute
About the Research Institute
Palliative care patients and their families deserve the best possible care that we can give them
Formed in 2017, the Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute connects researchers from specialist palliative care services in Calvary’s public hospital network.
There is a growing body of research being conducted through the Calvary network of palliative care services on managing symptoms such as pain, nausea, breathlessness and delirium.
There is also psycho-social research to investigate the experiences of patients, their families and friends.
Social change has had an enormous impact on how and where people die and Calvary’s palliative care services bring a depth of experience as well as evidence-based expertise, particularly for our clients in residential aged care.
Through the Institute, Calvary is able to:
- highlight excellence in palliative and end of life care research
- support collaboration between clinicians and researchers
- demonstrate the benefits of research outcomes
- put research into practice
- share research with the wider industry stakeholders.
Access the Research Institute’s 2018 Annual Report HERE
We are delighted to announce a significant new grant has been awarded to lead researcher, Professor Liz Lobb and her team of investigators, under the Medical Research Future Fund, titled: Identifying the mental health effects and support needs of people bereaved during and following COVID-19: A Mixed Methods Project.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life, including how we die and how we grieve. The effects of this unprecedented situation are likely to continue ricocheting through society into the foreseeable future. Each year at least 44,000 Australians will develop chronic and debilitating mental health impairments following the death of a family member or close friend.  Bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether attributable to the virus or not, presents additional significant risk factors for poor mental health due to public health measures such as: physical distancing, limiting visitors and reducing physical contact. Little is known about the mental health effects and support needs of people bereaved during and following global crises, such as COVID-19. 
Opportunity: To address this significant gap, this National COVID-19 Bereavement Project will track the mental health outcomes and service needs of over 2,000 Australians bereaved from any cause during 2020. The evidence generated from this national longitudinal COVID-19 bereavement study will ensure that Australia’s mental health system can rapidly and appropriately respond to provide the necessary psychosocial supports during current and future global crises. To achieve this, CIA Lobb, an internationally recognised mental health leader has brought together the nation’s leading bereavement and palliative care experts and major industry partners to undertake this project.
Aim: This project will systematically establish the evidence base to: 1) quantify the mental health outcomes and needs of those bereaved during COVID-19; 2) optimise service preparedness for future global pandemics or other humanitarian crises; 3) build the evidence for effective clinical interventions, and 4) identify preventative mental health and supportive bereavement recovery strategies at the macro, meso and micro levels.
Proposed methodology: A national mixed methods project composed of four discrete but linked studies.
Study 1: A cross-sectional community cohort study of mental health and supports needs following bereavement during COVID-19
Study 2: A longitudinal cohort study of mental-health outcomes
Study 3: A qualitative study of mental health outcomes following bereavement during COVID
Study 4: The bereavement experiences of vulnerable populations during COVID-19
Outcomes: The analysed data from the four studies will be integrated and a meta-inference undertaken to generate a series of policy, practice, education and research recommendations to inform the actions required to address the mental health needs of people bereaved during a pandemic. These findings, their implications, and recommendations for bereavement pandemic planning will be disseminated during workshops with key mental health, palliative care, aged care and community psychology and primary care stakeholders; and used to support the development of a National Bereavement Action Plan.
Professor Lobb is joined by a number of partners and collaborators in this research, which is expected to commence early in 2021.
1. Thompson, C., et al., Research into services and needs for people experiencing complicated grief: Final report. 2017: Centre for Health Service Development, Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong.
2. Mayland, C.R., et al., Supporting adults bereaved through COVID-19: A rapid review of the impact of previous pandemics on grief and bereavement. J. Pain & Symp Mgt, 2020.
Calvary is a proud research leader
The Calvary network has undertaken ground-breaking research over many years and its researchers work with National and State research collaborations which bring together leading clinicians and researchers in medical, allied health and nursing fields. Much of this innovative and ground breaking research initiated by palliative care clinicians here in Australia is changing palliative care practice around the world.
The Institute is led by Professor Nicholas Glasgow, Head of the Calvary Centre for Palliative Care Research at Clare Holland House, ACT, and Emeritus Professor, College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University in Canberra.
New Resource: Palliative Care Needs Rounds video
This short video introduces the Palliative Care Needs Rounds. This award winning research which aims to integrate palliative care in residential aged care began at Clare Holland House, ACT. A number of Calvary sites are now implementing this nurse practitioner led model.
View the video HERE
Research Projects by site
The Institute is ‘virtual’ in nature and connects researchers from specialist palliative care services in Calvary’s public hospital network.
Keep in touch
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