End of Life Care Research Programme

End of life care research in the School of Nursing is focussed on service design and improvement in end of care; decision making at the end of life; quality measures for end of life care; and bereavement care. In conducting this research we collaborate with a range of academic and partner organisations.

Programme Lead: Dr Alistair Hewison

Aims of the programme

The aims of the End-of-Life Research Programme in the School of Nursing at the University of Birmingham are to:

  • Undertake high quality research in palliative and end-of-life care which has patient benefit and service impact;
  • Publish research and scholarly outputs in high impact academic journals;
  • Work collaboratively with practice partners and service users to ensure our research and scholarship is relevant, timely and has impact;
  • Build capacity in palliative and end-of-life care research.

Focus and vision

We are a multi-disciplinary research group with members from nursing, medicine, pharmacy, social sciences and practice partner organisations including hospices, acute NHS Trusts and other service providers. Our international activity is increasing and we are a founder member of RAISE (Research Alliance for the International Study of End of Life Care). Members of the Programme also contribute to the development of end of life care services locally, nationally and internationally by serving on working groups, expert committees and panels. Our overall aim is to have a positive impact on the provision of end of life care services.

A recent development in this programme of work has been the involvement of Professor Topping and Dr Hewison in the IMPROVE Panc multidisciplinary research group. The group’s strategic vision is to link audit and research with quality improvement in pancreatic cancer care. In order to achieve this, the group brings together academics with expertise in health care service delivery and supportive care to focus on improving the quality of life and improving survival for people experiencing this devastating disease.

We welcome PhD applications for studies related to our key areas of activity.

End of Life Care Research members


  • Dr Alistair Hewison
  • Dr Cara Bailey
  • Dr Nikolaos Efstathiou
  • Dr Susan Neilson
  • Jane Nicol
  • Lorna Hollowood
  • Dr Christine Hirsch
  • Dr Shazia Khan
  • Dr Jon Tomas
  • Professor Annie Topping


  • Vivian Afoko
  • Henry Nwanko
  • Adenike Adeyeo

Current projects

  • Hewison A and Newham R, An integrative literature review of human rights education in health care. Funded by Sue Ryder Palliative and Neurological Bereavement Support.
  • Al-Janabi H. and Efstathiou N Techniques to include carers' quality of life in economic evaluation (Funded by NIHR)
  • Downar J and Efstathiou N ICU BEREAVE feasibility study (Funded by Ottawa Hospital charitable fund)


Hewison, A., Sawbridge, Y. and Tooley, L. (2019) Compassionate Leadership in Palliative and End of Life Care-A Focus Group Study,  Leadership in Health Services https://doi.org/10.1108/

Efstathiou, N., Walker, W., Metcalfe, A., Vanderspank-Wright, B. (2019) The state of bereavement support in adult intensive care: A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Journal of Critical Care,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrc.2018.11.026

Bailey, C.J., Kinghorn, P., Hewison, A., Radcliffe, C., Huynh E, Flynn TN, Coast, J (2018) Hospice patients participation in choice experiments to value supportive care outcomes.  BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2018-001582

Vanderspank-Wright, B., Efstathiou, N., Vandyk, A. (2018) Critical care nurses' experiences of withdrawal of treatment: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 77, 15-26 doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.09.012

Bailey C, Hewison A, Karasouli E, Munday D, and Staniszweska S (2016) Hospital care following emergency admission: a critical incident case study of the experiences of patients with advanced lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Journal of Clinical Nursing 25 (15-16), 2168–2179.