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Govt awards $1.1 mln for palliative care research in Vic

24 July, 2007

Research into improving health issues associated with end-of-life and palliative care practices will be supported by seven National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants announced recently at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Brett Mason.

“The Australian Government is committed to health and medical research, and to improving palliative care,” Senator Mason said.

“We understand that this unique form of health care must be integrated into our medical system, and we have allocated almost $300 million over seven years to support palliative-care initiatives.”

Under the Melbourne grants, two new research projects led by Professor Peter Hudson of St Vincent’s Hospital are focussed on caregivers and family members who are supporting a patient receiving palliative care.

Five awards have been made to Monash University, Melbourne University and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Dr Susan Lee of Monash University will build on previous decision-making research and the development of palliative care education for undergraduate students.

At Melbourne University, Dr Colleen Nordstrom will look into risk factors associated with complicated grief for the bereaved; Carrie Lethborg will develop and trial an intervention which aims to enhance meaning and reduce despair in people coping with advanced cancer; and Dr Clare O’Callaghan will examine the relevance of music to patients and their companions.

Anna Ugalde of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will develop a questionnaire to assess whether interventions improve the confidence of family members when caring for advanced cancer patients.

“These Victorian grants are part of 10 research grants and 12 researcher support awards across Australia,” Senator Mason said.

“In total, more than $3.5 million will go towards raising the quality of palliative care, guiding policy development, improving clinical practice and developing researcher capacity and expertise.”

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