press release
Published: 24 September 2021

University of Surrey awarded £1.1 million to support research into patients receiving end-of-life care

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded the University of Surrey £1.1 million to assess the effects of giving patients fluids (clinically-assisted hydration) via a drip in the last days of life.

This landmark study aims to improve the treatment of patients receiving end-of-life care and lead to a more uniform approach and consistent management within the NHS.

The trial will assess the overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinically-assisted hydration in reducing the frequency of delirium and its effect on the frequency of pain and other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.

The trial is managed by Surrey Clinical Trials Unit (CTU); the trial will be the largest ever performed, and will involve 1600 patients in 80 hospices and hospitals across the UK.

The research team previously completed a successful pilot study, which included 200 cancer patients from hospices and hospitals in England and Wales between 2015 and 2016.

Simon Skene, Professor of Medical Statistics at University of Surrey and Director of Surrey Clinical Trials Unit, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the National Institute for Health Research. This important study aims to provide definitive evidence whether or not a targeted program of clinically-assisted hydration at the end of life is effective, and potentially improving the care received by such patients.”

Andrew Davies, Professor of Palliative Medicine at Trinity College Dublin and Chief Investigator on the project, said:

“Funding studies that look at end-of-life care from new angles is vital to help staff provide the best possible care to patients. I look forward to seeing how this project progresses over the next three and a half years and find ways to help mitigate distress to patients, families, and healthcare professionals during the last days of life.”

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