Research at Calvary Mater Newcastle

Palliative Care and End of Life Care Research Projects

The Department of Palliative Care at Calvary Mater Newcastle (CMN) is working to consistently improve multidisciplinary patient-centred care for people and their loved ones facing life limiting illness. Palliative Care at CMN has strong partnerships enabling research across health settings, including primary care, residential aged care and regional and rural settings.

The service provides comprehensive integrated multidisciplinary palliative care across inpatient and community settings, as well as outreach to the wider district and therefore is able to implement research activities across a diverse range of settings.

Current priority research areas include:

  • Models of multidisciplinary community based palliative care to enable care in the place of preference:
    • Home-based enhanced models of palliative care
    • Palliative care in residential aged care facilities
  • Participatory action research models into service redesign and optimisation
  • Prognostic models to determine optimal timing of palliative care referral for patients with non-malignant conditions

The Department of Palliative Care at CMN is integrated into the Hunter New England Palliative and End of Life Care Stream, working in partnership with palliative care services across the geographically diverse district to ensure equitable access to best quality palliative care.

Dr Sarah Moberley


Lead Researcher

Sarah Moberley is an Epidemiologist with over 10 years’ experience in health research and is very excited to have recently joined the Department of Palliative Care at Calvary Mater Newcastle. Sarah holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and Masters of Public Health from James Cook University. She has overseen a range of mixed methods research programs including vaccine trials, operational and clinical research in various settings including Africa and Australia.

Sarah is honoured to lead a passionate multidisciplinary team involved in research within the Department, who work to ensure those in their last year of life have the best care and support that they need.

Dr Rachel Hughes

Director of Palliative Care

Rachel is a palliative medicine specialist with a background in rural and remote primary care and aeromedical retrieval. Rachel is currently working in partnership across a number of co-design projects locally and regionally to improve access of patients and carers to needs based palliative care. Her current research projects include implementation of ambulance palliative care plans into community palliative care services, palliative care input into residential aged care facilities, exploring a model of enhanced palliative care for community patients to enable care at home and design and implementation of a structured palliative care education curriculum in health care settings.

Current Studies

  • Prognostic model of 12-month mortality in COPD and Liver Failure patients. Sarah Moberley, Erin Nolan, Sarah Pullen, Rachel Hughes, Chris Oldmeadow, Katie Wynn, John Attia
  • Miromullia Project (Continue to take care of, Awabakal language): Co-designing Palliative and End of Life Care for the Newcastle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community
  • Palliative Care in Hunter New England: A retrospective review. Palliative Care in Hunter New England: A retrospective review. Sarah Moberley, Rachel Hughes, Gareth Watts, John Attia
  • The implementation and effectiveness of RUN-PC Triage Tool in the Department of Palliative Care. Sarah Moberley, Rachel Hughes, Robyn Tumeth, MayRan Saw, John Attia
  • Designing for palliative care- In-hospital methods: spatial-ise observations & photo-response interviews with patients. McLaughlan, R., Phillip, J., Clayton, J., Kelly, B, Chye, R., Moberley, S.
  • Testing an enhanced community team model to improve access and quality of palliative and end of life care provided at home. Scaife, J., Hughes, R., Attia, J., Moberley, S., Chand, A., Kershaw, G., Kozacynski, P.
  • Evaluation of training program, Quality End of Life Care for All (QELCA) ©. Sarah Moberley, S., Hughes, R., Bevington, J.
  • Professional quality of life in palliative care staff. Moberley, S., Hughes, R., Bevington, J.
  • A model of care for people with advanced non-malignant liver disease: A randomised controlled trial. Wynne, K., Attia, J., Hughes, R.,  Moberley, S., Britton, B., Kerr, J., Russo, S., Dieckmann, M., Pullen, S., Palazzi, K.


  • Scaife J, Box H, Kozacyznski P, Cooper K, Watts G, Attia J, Hughes R, Moberley S (2021) Research embedded in community based palliative care clinical service: feasibility, acceptability and early findings. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology. 17 (s8).DOI
  • Nixon J, Gray L, Turner J, Bernard A, Scaife J, Cartmill B. (2020). Communicating Actively Responding Empathically (CARE): Comparison of Communication Training Workshops for Health Professionals Working in Cancer Care. Journal Cancer Education (35) 54-60 10.1007/s13187-018-1439-0. PMID: 30386978
  • Nixon J, Turner J, Gray L, Scaife J.(2020). Communicating Actively, Responding Empathically (CARE): Perceptions of Cancer Health Professionals Attending Communication Training Workshops. 
  •  Journal Cancer Education doi:10.1007/s13187-020-01809-y
  • Nixon, J., Gray, J., Turner, J., Bernard, A., Scaife, J. & Cartmil, B. (2018). Communicating Actively Responding Empathetically (CARE): Comparison of Communication Training Workshops for Health Professionals Working in Cancer Care, Journal of Cancer Education
  • Clark, K., Lam, L., Talley, N.J., Watts, G., Phillips, J.L., Byfieldt, N., Currow, D. (2018). A pragmatic comparative study of palliative care clinician’s reports of the degree of shadowing visible on plain abdominal radiographs. Supportive Care in Cancer 26 (11): 3749-3754
  • Glare, P., Watts, G., Louw, S., Martin, P., Clark, K., Agar, M., Fazekas, B., Currow, D. (2018). Management of anorexia in people with cancer. A randomised double blind, controlled trial of megestrol acetate, dexamethasone or placebo. Journal of Clinical Oncology 36 (Supplement) Abstract 10020
  • Currow, D., Watts, G.J., Johnson, M., McDonald, C.F., Miners, J.O., Somogyi, A.A., Denehy, L., McCaffrey, N., Eckert D.J., McCloud, P. (2017). A pragmatic, phase III, multisite, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm, dose increment randomised trial of regular, low-dose extended-release morphine for chronic breathlessness: Breathlessness, Exertion And Morphine Sulfate (BEAMS) study protocol. British Medical Journal 7(7) e018100
  • Lucas, C. J., Patel, J., Martin, J. H. (2017). Predicting drug interactions in addiction treatment. Internal Medicine Journal 47(8) 872-878
  • Patel, J., Martin, J. H., Lucas, C. J. (2017). Comment on a paper by Dupoiron et al. A phase III randomized controlled study on the efficacy and improved bowel function of prolonged release (PR) oxycodonenaloxone (up to 160/80 mg daily) versus oxycodone PR. European Journal of Pain 21(10) 1772-1773
  • Hourn, M.M., Quinn, R., Waller, A., Boyle, K., Jordan, L.A., Salaris, M., Byfieldt, N., Shaw, L., Marsden, D. (2017). Exploring current inpatient practice in transitioning people after stroke from acute to palliative care and in advance care planning: The Plan Assess Understand Survival after Stroke (PAUSe after Stroke) Project. International Journal Of Stroke 12(23)
  • Clark, K., Willis, A., Byfieldt, N. (2017). An Observational Study to Explore the Feasibility of Assessing Bereaved Relatives’ Experiences Before and After a Quality Improvement Project to Improve Care of Dying Medical Inpatients. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine 34(3) 263-268
  • Scaife J, Box H, Kozacyznski P, Cooper K, Watts G, Attia J, Hughes R, Moberley S, Research embedded in community based palliative care clinical service: feasibility, acceptability and early finding. Hunter Cancer Research Symposium 2021, Translation and Impact through Collaboration. Online. (Nov 2021)
  • Hughes, R. Characteristics of Australian adolescent and young adult palliative care patients: A national study to aid definitions and services. PCOC Outcomes and Benchmarking Conference. Sydney, November 2019
  • Campbell, L. Developing a multidisciplinary triage to improve access and outcomes for community palliative care patients. Oceanic Palliative Care Conference, Perth September 2019
  • Hughes R, Sneesby L, Culver J, Chand A. A Community of Practice for Residential Aged Care – Partnerships Across Community and Specialist Palliative Care. 16th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, Berlin, Germany, May 2019
  • Knight E, Schenker Y, Hughes R. Interpreters’ Experience of Working with Healthcare Professionals during End of Life Discussions with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Patients 16th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, May 2019, Berlin, Germany
  • Patel, J., Lucas, C., Margalit, M., Martin, J. Laxative use in inpatients on oxycodone/naloxone prolonged release and oxycodone prolonged release for cancer and non-cancer pain. ANZSPM Conference, Sydney, September 2018
  • Martin J, Patel J. What pharmacology and pharmacokinetics can offer palliative care. ANZSPM Conference, Sydney, 2018
  • Tee, H., Vogel, N., Moberley, S., Mather M., Cameron-Taylor, E., Michael, N. Does Palliative Care involvement affect end of life outcomes in patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? A retrospective mult-center observational study. ANZSPM Virtual Conference, September 2020
  • Watts, G., Byfieldt N., Compton,V., Wallis, J.,  Maher, J., Hughes, R. (2018). The Implementation and Evaluation of a multi-professional triaging process for referrals to a community specialist palliative care service. BMJ International Forum for Quality and Safety in Healthcare. Melbourne
  • Poon,  M., Byfieldt, N., Watts, G. (2018). Use of Prognostic tools in assessing eligibility for palliative home oxygen therapy. ANZSPM Conference, Sydney
  • Glare, P., Watts, G., Louw, S., Martin, P., Clark, K., Agar, M., Fazekas, B., Currow, D. (2018). Treating Anorexia in People with Advanced Cancer. A Randomised, Double Blind, Controlled Trial of Megestrol Acetate, Dexamethasone or Placebo. ASCO Annual Meeting, Chicago
  • Hayes, C., Stabler, J., Byfieldt, N. (2018). Exploring the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in a palliative care population. ANZSPM conference
  • Implementation and evaluation of a community-based palliative care triage model. Campbell, L., Compton V., Moberley, S., Hughes, R.
  • Enabling Person Centred Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities. Hewitt, J., Hughes, R., Moberley, S., Attia, J., Ryan, S.
  • Breathlessness, Exertion And Morphine Sulphate Study (BEAMS) dyspnoea study, PaCCSC
  • MILD dyspnoea study, PaCCSC
  • RAPID pharmacovigilance study, PaCCSC
  • Prevalence of cannabis for medicinal purposes in a palliative care population, Hayes, C., Byfieldt, N., Stabler, J.
  • A Review of Specialist Palliative Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities, Hayes, C, Byfieldt, N, Stabler, J
  • Consumer feedback – Bereavement support group, Harris, F
  • Implementing a triage process in Specialist Palliative Care, Wallis J., Maher, J., Compton, V., Byfieldt, N.
  • Outreach and inpatient equipment storage and cleaning area re-organisation, Gleeson, J, Baird, E, Davis, J, Atkinson,J, Collins-Morgan, L., Bagley, B.
  • Seating options for hospice inpatients, Davis, J., Collins-Morgan, L., Bagley, B., Gleeson, J., Atkinson, N., Baird, E.
  • ADL equipment in hospice, Bagley, B., Davis, J., Gleeson, J., Collins-Morgan, L.
  • Pressure care equipment guidelines, Davis, J., Gleeson, J., Atkinson, N., Collins-Morgan, L.