All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care


Irish Cancer Society/AIIHPC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014-2016


K McLoughlinBackground: In 2014, the Irish Cancer Society/ AIIHPC Postdoctoral Fellowship was awarded to Dr Kathleen McLoughlin (Department of Psychology, Maynooth University and Milford Care Centre, Limerick). The Fellowship is part of AIIHPC’s drive to develop and support research capacity building and leadership in palliative care on the island of Ireland. The Institute is delighted to be supporting this jointly with the Irish Cancer Society. A Psychologist with a special interest in Public Health and Palliative Care – Kathleen’s PhD led to the development of Ireland’s first demonstration model of Compassionate Communities in the Mid-West of Ireland.  In 2014 she was named CMG Irish Healthcare Person of the Year and in 2015 was awarded the European Association of Palliative Care Early Research Award.  She is Principal Investigator on the INSPIRE study that examines the effectiveness of the Good Neighbour Partnership using randomised controlled trial methodology and is leading Limerick to be recognised as the 1st Compassionate City in Ireland.


Description of study: The title of Kathleen’s research is “Delayed intervention randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a new model of social and practical support for community dwelling adults living with advanced life-limiting illness in Limerick, Ireland”. This study seeks to evaluate Milford Care Centre’s Compassionate Communities Good Neighbour Partnership, a volunteer led initiative that seeks to meet the practical and social needs of people living at home, with advanced illness in their last year of life. The evaluation is guided by the MRC Framework for Complex Interventions. The study comprises of three phases. Phase 0 includes: a number of scoping reviews; a Campbell registered systematic review; focus groups with healthcare professionals in palliative and primary care; and interviews with patient and families, all with a view to understanding the experience and impact of unmet social and practice needs at end of life, from a range of perspectives. Phase 1 of the study (now complete) involves the recruitment, delivery and evaluation of a 7-week training programme for 12 volunteers, together with the development of the documentation, policies and procedures to support the intervention. Phase 2 of the study is a Randomised Controlled Trial (n=80).  Three patients have been referred since the trial commenced in September 2015. The trial will determine the impact of the intervention on social and practical need, loneliness, wellbeing, quality of life, social network and social capital. The acronym INSPIRE – INvestigating Social and PractIcal suppoRts at the End of life – is being used as a short title for the study. For further information about the study visit

All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care at Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6. Tel: +353 (0)1 491 2948. Email: [email protected]