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Research project: Family distress and grieving in EoLC in Critical Care: causes, consequences and interventions - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

25% of all patients in Critical Care do not survive, with the majority of non-survivors receiving end of life care. Whilst there is heightened policy focus on EoLC, there is little UK-based work and few international research programmes on EoLC in Critical Care. This is important as there are differences in Critical Care requiring exploration. Within the UK, Seymour's work is most influential in setting theoretical direction for this area. Due to the nature of critical illness, family members are often surrogate ‘decision makers' for the patient, and experience multiple stressors. Little is known about how critical illness and dying trajectories impact on family experience and grieving.  A better understanding of the experience of families in EoLC, and the impact of death/dying trajectories may improve outcomes for families. Interventions focussing on family needs in Critical Care are yet to be developed and evaluated.

The aim of this Clinical Lectureship (CL) plan is to demonstrate an increased international clinical academic profile in informing evidence based End of Life Care (EoLC) for critically ill patients. This will be enabled by a portfolio of advanced learning, undertaken through this award through two focussed developmental work streams: ‘Independent researcher skills' and ‘Clinical Academic Leadership'.

Using identified CL training, preparatory work for trial of an intervention(s) of support for families involved in EoLC in Critical Care will be developed and conducted. Complex intervention guidelines 6 will inform project design. Phase 1 will build an empirically based intervention(s). Phase 2 will evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the intervention(s) in order to develop robust protocol and application to NiHR for an exploratory follow-on trial beyond this award. The study question is:

Can an intervention(s) of support improve family experience/outcome in EoLC in Critical Care?

The study objectives are to:

  1. develop an intervention(s) of support for families involved in EoLC in Critical Care
  2. evaluate the effects of the intervention(s) on family experience/outcome in EoLC in Critical Care
  3. qualify/quantify the effects of the intervention(s) to inform an exploratory follow-on trial

Project team

Coombs, M.

Project funder


Associated research themes

Critical care

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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