It’s been a while since our project was launched but things have been busy in the background!

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Rebecca McLaughlan, Kieran Richards, Ruby Lipson-Smith, Anna Collins, Jenny Philip and Emma Kirby.

The research team has grown to include Dr Ruby Lipson-Smith and Dr Kieran Richards, and we’ve been lucky to collaborate on our journey so far with Associate Professor Emma Kirby and Lynette Wallworth (UNSW), Professor Jennifer Philip, Dr Anna Collins and Kevin Wong (St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne / University of Melbourne), and Associate Professor Richard Chye and Frances Bellmore (St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney). We’ve submitted four papers for review this year with the first – “Connection, Comfort and Covid-19 in Palliative Care” – recently published in Palliative Care & Social Practice. That paper is available here, or email us for a copy.

Our online, short-answer survey for staff working in palliative care was wrapped up recently, with a little over 90 responses in total. This was an excellent participation rate, and the responses we received were extraordinarily rich with insights, ideas, and aspirations for future palliative care environments. We’ve recently finalised our first research paper based on that data set, which is currently under review. While this represents an important milestone in the delivery of this project, that paper is based only on a portion of that data set – so there’ll be more publications to come.

We’ve also studied a range of contemporary palliative care design projects from around the world, using architectural photographs, drawings, site visits, and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders engaged in those projects. The research paper from this data set is also currently under review.

Toward the end of April, Rebecca presented a snapshot of progress on our project at the 7th Optimising Health Environments Forum, that was broadcast to audiences in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. The annual forum brings together a diverse array of individuals and groups from industry and academia. The key themes for this year’s event were “New models of cross-disciplinary engagement” and “Health facility design after the pandemic,” which are highly relevant to our palliative care research. A recording of that presentation can be viewed here (skip ahead to 23:42 if you want to go straight to Rebecca’s presentation).

The most important part of our project is talking to people – palliative care patients, their families, and healthcare teams, alongside architects, hospital administrators, directors of palliative care services, and government representatives. We’ve been fortunate to speak to a lot of people so far, completing 28 interviews with those engaged in the design and delivery of palliative care facilities, 6 interviews with patients and 3 with family members. We’re aiming for around 28 interviews with patients and family members so there’s still a way to go, if you have experience, as a family member engaged in palliative care and would like to participate in our research, please feel free to contact us via the contact page on this site.

Thank-you for taking the time to read about our progress and please watch this space for more updates in the months ahead.