Find what you were looking for? Share your thoughts with a short survey

Royal visit to understand death and dying

Colleagues across the Palliative Care CAG welcomed Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal to Denmark Hill this month.

Princess Royal visit to Palliative Care CAG - March 2023During the visit, The Princess Royal, in her role as Chancellor of the University of London, met researchers, clinicians and patients at the CSI to understand how research is improving people’s experience of life limiting conditions, death and dying.

Her Royal Highness met with colleagues whose research and clinical tools enable patients to die in places where they wish and to support those important to them. She saw examples of the research that has found better ways to support older people to live in the community and to improve care for people with dementia.

She paid tribute to clinicians who provided vital care during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was also shown breathlessness support kits which have helped to lessen the feelings of distress and depression for this common symptom among people with advanced disease.

The Princess Royal opened the CSI in May 2010 as the world’s first purpose-built Institute for palliative care integrating research with clinical care and education. It is a designated WHO Collaborating Centre.

The CSI is a partnership with the charity Cicely Saunders International and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and brings together a network of over 200 academics, healthcare professionals, community organisations, patients, and carers in one institute and acts as the hub for a network of international research. She was due to mark the 10-year anniversary of the CSI in 2020 but the visit was postponed due to the pandemic.

Professor Irene Higginson, Executive Dean of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, and CAG co-lead said:

Palliative care puts the person before the disease. The CAG has made huge strides in improving care and treatment for so many people who need it, wherever they are cared for. But palliative care is still reaching too few people who need it and there is an international shortage of talented clinicians, researchers and educators. There is an urgent need to grow capacity and knowledge, so that palliative care can help more people.

Dr Wendy Prentice, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, King’s College Hospital NHS FT, and CAG co-lead said:

The visit was a great reminder of how much stronger we are when we work together across the NHS, university, voluntary sector and the community; our work underpinned by strong patient and public involvement.

Dr Sabrina Bajwah, Clinical Senior Lecturer at King’s College London & Honorary Consultant Palliative Care, King’s Health Partners, said:

We clearly demonstrated the strength of the CAG during the COVID-19 pandemic, with clinical and academic teams working side by side to produce world leading research and clinical guidance at very short notice. We continue to build and strengthen these relationships. Going forward, addressing the health inequalities of our local urban population is a priority.

King’s Health Partners Palliative Care Clinical Academic Group is leading improvements in end of life research, education and clinical care and is supported by the world’s first purpose-built institute of palliative care.