Xiangya Center for Palliative Care Research

Research area #1: Quality improvement in palliative care

  • Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. Providing quality palliative care has become a policy and research priority both in China and globally. However, the development of palliative care is still in the infant stage and its quality urgently needs to be improved in China. 

  • Our team aims to culturally adapt a continuous quality monitoring and improvement program to Chinese context and evaluate its effectiveness in palliative care units in China. This program will involve systematic and routine assessments of patients, data reporting, performance feedback against established benchmarks. It is expected that this program will support and inform the development of quality standards for palliative care in China.

Research area #2: Shared decision making in palliative care: to align care with patients’ values

  • Shared decision-making is a process where the decisions regarding patients’ care are done in collaboration with the patient, their families, and interdisciplinary healthcare professionals. While there is consensus that palliative care decisions are preference-sensitive and therefore an appropriate context for the involvement of patients and family caregivers in decision-making, it is not the most studied area of application. 

  • The combined pressures of population aging and the continued large amount of resource utilization toward the end of life make the respect of patient preferences an enduring topic of interest in health policy and practice research across the world. However, this field of research is in an early stage in our country because palliative care services are still in our development phase.

  • Our team aims to promote shared decision making in palliative care, thereby developing decision aids and exportable tools appropriate in Chinese context, and evaluating their effect on outcomes and accessibility for healthcare professionals. It is expected that this program will promote patient center care in palliative service in China.

Research area #3: Psychosocial care in palliative cancer patients

  • Our team subspeciality aims to address the two major psychological dimensions of cancer: the psychological responses of patients to cancer at all stages of the disease, and that of their families and caretakers; and the psychological, behavioral and social factors that may influence the disease process. 

  • Our previous research involved systematic reviews, integrative reviews, qualitative studies to identify the psychosocial distress faced by patients with advanced cancer. We also developed coupled-based psychosocial care and psychoeducational intervention to help patients and their families to cope with cancer and improve quality of life at the end of life. Our recent research focuses on dignity-conserving care for cancer patients in terminal stage based on narrative therapy and dignity therapy. 

  • We aim to develop a culturally sensitive intervention to improve patients’ end-of-life experiences and provide an innovative approach to implement palliative care.