The focus of Professor Samar Aoun and her group is on a public health approach to palliative care, one that views the community as an equal partner in the long and complex task of providing quality health care at the end of life. In the last 5 years, the group has cemented its reputation as a world leader in this field and in developing the public health model for bereavement support. Research findings have provided the first empirical evidence of the viability of the compassionate communities approach to end of life care which created a shift in the culture of care and support, to more sustainable and affordable care with high levels of community control and ownership. Researchers from around the world are testing the public health model for bereavement support in their own communities in order to get the right support for the right people at the right time. The model has already informed policy and practice at national and international levels.
The Palliative Care Research Group’s current projects are focused on family carer support, bereavement support and consumer perspectives of palliative care including:
- Developing best practice in end-of-life care and bereavement support through a national survey of bereaved family carers of people with MND, funded by MND Research Australia.
- An NHMRC funded partnership project on patient-centred care for a progressive neurological disease – evidence driving policy.
- An ARC Discovery funded study into assessing supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer survivors’ caregivers
- An NHMRC funded multicentre randomised controlled trial of a program to support informal caregivers of older people discharged home from the hospital.
- The Compassionate Communities Connectors model for end-of-life care: a community and health service partnership in Western Australia, funded by the WA Health Translation Network.
- The statewide review of consumers perspectives of palliative care service models in Western Australia, funded by WA Health.
- 2022 WA Australian of the Year 2023 (Prof Samar Aoun)
- 2018, 2019 La Trobe University Publication Award (Prof Samar Aoun)
- 2018 Senior Vice-Presidential Medal for Excellence in Person Centred Health Care from The European Society for Person Centred Healthcare (Prof Samar Aoun)
- Runacres, Lee, Mathers, Aoun. Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation for "Motor Neurone Disease: Patient reported symptom prevalence, severity and palliative care needs." (2021)
- Aoun, Rumbold & Breen. WA Department of Health Grant for "Independent review from consumer's perspective of palliative care service models" (2020-2022)
- Chow, Aoun, Chan, Chan & Lam. Research Grants Council in Hong Kong for "The pre-death bereavement care in end-of-life care: what, how and for whom?” (2020-2022)
- Lyon, Hinds, Wand, Fraser, Fratantoni, Thompkins, Aoun, Schellinger, Batshaw & Summar. US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for "Palliative care needs of children with rare diseases and their families" (2020-2022)
- Toye, Hill, Moorin, Slatyer, Bryant, Aoun & Parsons. NHMRC Project Grant for "Multicentre randomised controlled trial: caregiver, patient, and system outcomes from a program supporting informal caregivers of older people discharged home from hospital" (2019-2023)
- Kôks, Aoun & Akkari. MSWA for “Trajectories of Outcomes in Neurological Conditions study – TONiC in WA” (2019-2022)
- Moore, Aoun, Stiberc, Cross et al. WA Health Translation Network for "A community and health system partnership to prevent hospitalisation and improve outcomes through a Compassionate Communities Model of End of Life Care" (2019-2021)
- Kiernan, Wray, Talman, Vucic, Mathers, Aoun, Savulescu & Rowe D. NHMRC Grant for "Motor Neurone Disease: Patient centered care for a progressive neurological disease – evidence driving policy" 2018-2023
- Indigenous Discovery ARC Grants for "Understanding the supportive care needs of partners and caregivers of Indigenous Australian cancer survivors" (2018-2021)
Professor Samar Aoun wins 2023 WA Australian of the Year Award
Passionate palliative care researcher, Professor Samar Aoun, has received the Western Australia 2023 Australian of the Year Award.
On receiving the award, Professor Aoun said she hopes it encourages more people to have courageous conversations about death, dying and grief – it happens to everyone – so it’s important that we support each other along the journey.
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