Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute

Palliative care patients and their families deserve the best possible care that we can give them.

This commitment to delivering the best possible care underpins the establishment of the Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute. Projects being undertaken at the Institute address the whole arc of the palliative and end of life care experience for patients, their families and carers.


Through the Institute, Calvary is able to:

  • highlight excellence in palliative and end of life care research
  • support collaborate between clinicians and researchers
  • demonstrate benefits of research outcomes
  • put research into practice
  • share research with the wider industry stakeholders.


Research Projects by site

The Institute is ‘virtual’ in nature and connects researchers from specialist palliative care services in Calvary’s public hospital network.

About the Institute

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 psychosocial 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.

Calvary is a proud research leader

Professor Liz Lobb

Professor Liz Lobb

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 nationally and internationally respected researcher Professor Liz Lobb, Professor of Palliative Care at Calvary Health Care Kogarah, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney.


Clinicians and researchers

Tips and resources to help you get started.

Research Resources


Research News

Calvary Palliative and end of Life Research Institute Chair Liz Lobb work was this month recognised by the European Association of Palliative Care when her article “Death is difficult in any language” was featured as the article of the month by the blogs editor.

Click on the link below to read Liz’s article that recognizes the growing need for planning and delivery of palliative care services to address the needs of those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.




Palliative Medicine Specialist awarded a PHD for her investigation into what constitutes a good death for those approaching end of life in rural communities

Sue Rainsford, was recently awarded a PhD from the Australian National University in Canberra, for her thesis “The influence of place of death and rural residency on the ‘good death’”. Prior to gaining FAChPM (2014), Sue was a rural General Practitioner in the Snowy Monaro Region of NSW. She is currently working as a part-time Palliative Medicine Staff Specialist at Clare Holland House, Canberra while continuing as a private Palliative Medicine Specialist in Cooma, NSW.

Sue’s interest in rural palliative care research was fostered by her clinical practice and an awareness of the paucity of published qualitative rural studies. Part of her thesis included ethnography utilising open-ended interviews, observations, and field-notes. 12 rural (town and farm) patients with life-limiting illnesses, 18 family caregivers, and six clinicians, in the Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales, Australia, participated in this study over the course of the deaths of the patients. Home was the initial preferred place of death for those interviewed; however, over time, dying in a safe place became important. The preferred place of death was the ‘safe place’, regardless of its physical location. A ‘safe death’ emerged as the central theme of a ‘good death’.

Rural residency helped maintain home as a safe place (e.g. privacy on the farm); however, these same features quickly rendered home an unsafe place of death (e.g. isolation). The roles of the rural hospital and residential aged care in end-of-life care are unique, and their familiarity within one’s community often makes them a safer alternative to home, and substitutes for in-patient hospice.

Translating evidence into action to improve outcomes for palliative care patients and their care givers.

Funded by the Australian Government, DIISR Collaborative Research Network through the University of Notre Dame and led by Professor Liz Lobb (Kogarah) and Professor Jane Phillips (UTS) two Research academics and four PhD students have been appointed.

Projects include:

i) The PERSICOPE Project – to explore clinicians’ perceptions and patient impact of medication errors with opioids in adult specialist palliative care inpatient services, and identify strategies to support safe opioid delivery processes in palliative care;

ii) DigiTech Pain Project – to evaluate the role of digital health technologies in facilitating older people’s pain self-management capabilities;

iii) Mapping Grief – to investigate grief after expected and unexpected death involving longitudinal studies with participants at multiple sites;

iv) The Sleep in Caregivers Project – to improve the sleep of caregivers of community palliative care patients;

v) The VOICE Study – to investigate the role of family meetings in palliative care and

vi) Evaluating Ambulance Care Plans – to explore the experiences of patients and carers on implementation of the Plan and the impact on Service delivery.

BEAMS Dyspnoea Study

Funded through the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC), this pragmatic, phase III, multi-site, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel arm, dose increment randomised trial of regular, low dose extended release morphine for chronic refractory breathlessness is being conducted at Calvary Mater Newcastle and Calvary Health Care Kogarah. The study aims to enhance the evidence base for the pharmacological treatment of chronic refractory breathlessness using potential therapies compared to placebo.