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Discharge from Hospices Study

Communication of palliative needs in discharge letters from specialist to primary palliative care: A multisite sequential explanatory mixed methods study

Currently, we know little about who is discharged from specialist palliative care and why. Particularly, we do not know what palliative needs are associated with discharge (e.g. physical, personal, social and spiritual), how these palliative needs are communicated to GPs and patients, or why certain palliative needs are considered to be better managed by primary care (e.g. clinical expertise, patient choice). To address this, we will look at 250 discharge letters from UK hospices. We will also speak with specialist palliative clinicians to get their insight into why people are discharged. By working with clinicians, PPI representatives, and Marie Curie, we will produce a report for improving discharge communication. We aim to contribute to policy development that will help: specialist palliative care to better understand what complex needs are; primary care to make more appropriate referrals; and support service providers identify trends of potentially inequitable provision of specialist palliative care.

The initial study findings were presented at the Marie Curie Research Conference 2022. A recording of this presentation is available here.Link opens in a new window

Research team members

Chief Investigator: Dr John MacArtney, University of Warwick

Research Fellow: Dr Katharine Weetman, University of Warwick

Advisory group: Dr Rachel Spencer, University of Warwick, Dr Sarah Mitchell, University of Sheffield, Prof Jeremy Dale, University of Warwick, Dr Claire Ferguson, Marie Curie Consultation


Marie Curie


1st June 2021 – 1st March 2022


Dr Katharine Weetman

katharine dot weetman at warwick dot ac dot uk