Research that benefits everyone

Front cover of the ECEPC handbook
Palliative care text books and a stethoscope

Our aim is to improve palliative and end of life care for everyone. One important way of doing this is through research. Our team of doctors, nurses and therapists regularly contribute to research, networks and initiatives to improve care for the dying. They also share their knowledge at conferences and publish their research. Today they are recognised at home and abroad as experts in the field of end of life care.

Princess Alice is a research active organisation and we welcome researchers who wish to undertake research at the hospice.

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Our Research Team

Dr Emily Sills Consultant and Medical Lead for Research

Dr Emily Sills is a Consultant and the Medical Lead for Research at Princess Alice Hospice. Emily has worked in palliative care for 20 years and as a Consultant for 13 years, always with an interest in research. When working at Woking Hospice Emily helped set up their research group and developed the policies and procedures required to enable them to take part in small studies. Emily started working with Shannon in 2021 and they have worked together on the Princess Alice Hospice research strategy. Emily believes that it is vital that hospices continue to play a role in research, to support the development of services and contribute towards the evidence base. Emily’s specialist interests are Motor Neurone Disease, frailty and care for patients as they transition from paediatric to adult services.

Dr Shannon Milne, Research Lead

Dr Shannon Milne is the Research Lead at Princess Alice Hospice. Shannon is responsible for the organisational research strategy and oversees the development and management of internal research projects. Shannon has worked as a General Practitioner for 12 years. Prior to this, she worked as a hospital doctor in a range of specialties. She was awarded an MD for research in asthma immunology and is pleased to continue her interest in health research at Princess Alice Hospice.

Princess Alice Hospice Research Newsletter

Conference Posters


UTI antibiotic stewardship in a UK Hospice: two audit cycles spanning two years and more than 500 patients

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What Level of Medical Input Do Hospice Inpatients Need and Does This Correspond to their Need for Specialist Nursing Input? A Service Evaluation in a UK Hospice

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Use of Diagnostic Ultrasound in a Hospice at Home team : a Service Evaluation

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The Bereavement Journey : Making the Right Connections

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ManShed Extending the Reach and Engaging the Community

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To feed or not to feed

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Group exercise with individualised goals and physical and psychosocial wellbeing in palliative care

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Improving access to community equipment to support preferred place of care and death

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Developing a new Talent and People Strategy

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Should hospices further utilise information specialists to support the digital literacy of staff and volunteers

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A proposal for hospices to work together on information and knowledge support
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An innovative model of care enabling a hospice IPU to reach more people
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Anxiety management in practice: a multi-disciplinary approach to support hospice patients to manage their anxiety
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Continued, successful use of ultrasound in a hospice
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Developing a resilient workforce
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Evaluation of aroma sticks for anxiety as an extension of aromatherapy treatment
An evaluation to explore the impact of aroma stick use on hospice patients’ anxiety.
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Seventeen and super keen. Young people volunteering on an inpatient unit.
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Developing a research strategy
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Analysis of hospice to hospital transfers
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A multi-professional educational intervention to improve and sustain participants’ confidence to deliver palliative care: a mixed-methods study.
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The experience of family caregivers living with patients with the symptoms of advanced cancer
This phenomenological study used purpose sampling to determine the experiences of family caregivers. The results allow the hospice to further understand how we can offer the necessary support to caregivers.

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Living with Xerostomia (dry mouth)
Our study presents the experience of adults with Xerostomia within a community/day hospice care setting and puts forward coping strategies to help, guide and improve practice.

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Enhancing a sense of community
Exploring the development and benefits of our hospice based Community Choir.

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National UK food and nutrition hospice survey
A study aimed at identifying issues relating to food and nutrition in hospices in the UK.

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Open Art Studio
A look at the implications of introducing an open art studio into a hospice environment.

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Journal publications


Nwosu AC, McGlinchey T, Sanders J, Stanley S, Palfrey J, Lubbers P, Chapman L, Finucane A, Mason S.
Identification of Digital Health Priorities for Palliative Care Research: Modified Delphi Study.
JMIR Aging. 2022 Mar 21;5(1):e32075.
Click here for full article


Jennifer Todd,  Elizabeth Reed, Louise Hogh, Craig Gannon. Specialist palliative care for people with dementia.
Journal of Dementia Care, Vol 29,  No 5 September/October 2021
Cockle-Hearne, Jane1; Aldiss, Susie1; Gibson, Faith1,2; Milne, Shannon3; Todd, Jennifer3; Ream, Emma1 Support interventions provided during palliative care to families with dependent children when a parent has terminal illness.
JBI Evidence Synthesis: June 07, 2021 – Volume Online First – Issue
doi: 10.11124/JBIES-20-00472


Milne S, Palfrey J, Berg J, et al Video hospice consultation in COVID-19: professional and patient evaluations.
Click here for full article

Smith ZSills E. Parenteral nutrition complications in palliative medicine.

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Davies, A., Buchanan, A., Todd, J. et al. Oral symptoms in patients with advanced cancer: an observational study using a novel oral symptom assessment scale. Support Care Cancer (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05903-1
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Jennifer Palfrey, Maria Mandel and Ruth Caulkin. Inappropriate use of naloxone in a hospital setting compromising patient safety: a quality improvement project. Future Health c J Feb 2020, 7 (Suppl 1) s62; DOI: 10.7861/fhj.7.1.s62
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Sophia Monastirioti. How Princess Alice Hospice is staying connected to patients during Covid-19. eHospice, June 10, 2020.
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Schofield G, Baker I, Bullock R, et al. Palliative opioid use, palliative sedation and euthanasia: reaffirming the distinction. Journal of Medical Ethics 2020;46:48-50.
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Cockle-Hearne J, Reed E, Todd J, et al. The dying parent and dependent children: a nationwide survey of hospice and community palliative care support services. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care Published Online First: 09 March 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2019-001947
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Hawkins JP, et al. Virtual visits in palliative care: about time or against the grain? BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2020;10:331–336. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002498
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Elizabeth Reed, Melanie Waghorn, Amanda Gregory, Jo Vriens, Emily Sills, Jennifer Todd – Exploring the experience of returning to work after personal bereavement: International Journal of Palliative Nursing Vol. 25, No. 11
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Caroline Quilty and Juliet Lawson.  Implementing IDDSI in hospices. eHospice January 2019.
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White C, et al. et al (acknowledgment Dr Bernadette Lee PAH). Hospice inpatient deep vein thrombosis detection (HIDDen) in advanced non- malignant diseases: a longitudinal pilot study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2020;0:1–4. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2019-002039
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Davies A, Todd J, Bailey F, et al.  Good concordance between patients and their non-professional carers about factors associated with a ‘good death’ and other important end-of-life decisions.  BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2019;9:340-345.
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Reed, E. Todd, J. Lawton, S. Grant, R, Sadler, C. Berg, J. Lucas, C. Watson, M. Palliative Medicine 2018, Vol. 32(2) 571–580

A multi-professional educational intervention to improve and sustain respondents’ confidence to deliver palliative care: a mixed-methods study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28604265


Gillett, K. Reed, L. Bryan, L. (2017) Using action learning sets to support change in end-of-life care. Leadership in Health Services. Volume 30, issue 2

This paper describes the delivery of facilitated action learning sets as an integral component of a multidisciplinary end-of-life care course and the challenges, learning, and benefits of using action learning sets to improve end-of-life care. Hospices and other health care organisations work in partnership to deliver this programme and this paper demonstrates how action learning sets can increase mutual understanding and communication between specialist and non-specialist end-of-life care settings: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/LHS-10-2016-0055


Shine, M. Advanced Care Planning: the HCA’s role. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants. August 2016 Vol 10 No 08

Healthcare Assistants are often providing the day to day care of patients and can pay a key role in supporting patients at the end of life. In this paper, Martin Shine an HCA at Princess Alice Hospice discusses the important role of the HCA in advance care planning and the importance of providing adequate education and support to HCA’s so they have the confidence and communication skills to facilitate these discussions: https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/bjha.2016.10.8.374

Reed, E. Todd, J. Developing a research strategy in a hospice in England. European Journal of Palliative Care, 2016; 23(2)

In 2013, Princess Alice Hospice recruited a research lead to develop research across the organisation. A research strategy was developed using a collaborative approach in order to encourage hospice staff from as many different disciplines as possible to engage with research. This paper describes the process of developing a research strategy and promoting engagement with research internally and the hospice to be a research active organization: Click here to download


Spencer, L. Hospice to home: a patient-centric multi professional community approach.

As people live longer with multidimensional health and end-of-life care needs, palliative care provision is becoming increasingly complex. Demands on hospice services are increasing, therefore new models of care are needed that are accessible to a wider range of patients. This article describes how one hospice developed a model of care working in partnership with statutory services that provided patient-centred care, achieved preferences and prevented unnecessary admissions into hospital. The evaluation of the model suggests that maximal impact can be gained by focusing service development on expanding and improving care at home. Preventing unnecessary hospital admissions, while simultaneously improving the quality of care, remains the fundamental driver for high-quality end-of-life care: International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 2015 May;21(5):245-50.


Reed E, Cullen A, Gannon C, Knight A, Todd J. Use of Schwartz Centre Rounds in a UK hospice: findings from a longitudinal evaluation. J Interprof Care. 2014 Nov 25:1-2Schwartz Centre Rounds® aim to explore the human and emotional impact of everyday work by giving healthcare staff the opportunity to come together in a safe but open environment. We evaluated the experience of introducing Schwartz Centre Rounds in Princess Alice Hospice over one year using a mixed method approach:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25421453

Current external research collaborations

CHELsea II: Clinically Assisted Hydration at End of Life. A cluster randomised trial of clinically-assisted hydration for patients in the last days of life

Study details are available here

Professor Andrew Davies, Professor of Palliative Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin

Understanding and improving community-based palliative care outside of normal working hours

Professor Richard Harding, Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation

Join Dementia Research

Join Dementia Research (JDR) is a nationwide service that helps anyone in the UK find and take part in vital dementia research studies. People with dementia, their carers, and anyone interested in research can sign up. It’s also possible to register on behalf of someone else.

Why is it needed?

It is only through research that we can develop effective treatments, improve care and one day find a cure. If you are looking for studies to take part in, but don’t know where to find them, please visit www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk

User involvement

All hospice generated research studies will have meaningful user involvement as part of the project steering group. We would also expect those wishing to undertake research with us to have considered user involvement as a part of their project.

How to apply to do research with us

We welcome research collaborations and partnerships with external researchers to undertake well designed and appropriate research.

All potential research projects will be considered by the hospice research committee which meets quarterly. The next meeting dates are:

  • 6th December 2023
  • 6th March 2024
  • 5th June 2024
  • 11th September 2024

Please fill in the research application form and ensure all applications are submitted to Dr Shannon Milne, the Hospice’s research lead, at least two weeks before the research committee meetings. You will be informed of the research committee’s decision within two weeks of the meeting.