Palliative Care Research
The core areas of Supportive and Palliative Care Research, led by Professor Samar Aoun, are psychosocial and practical support for family carers, bereavement support and education for health professionals and the wider community. The principles of their palliative care approach in motor neurone disease (MND) are applicable to other neurological conditions.
Professor Aoun joined the Perron Institute as a Senior Research Fellow in October 2018 and is also Professor of Palliative Care at La Trobe University.
In 2018, Professor Aoun was awarded the Medal for Excellence from the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare. In person-centred care, people using health and social services are treated as equal partners in planning, developing and monitoring care to make sure it meets their needs.
Professor Aoun adopts a public health approach and a focus on under-served population groups such as people with MND, dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family carers before and after bereavement. Her research programs on supporting family carers at end of life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at national and international levels. Her recent work on social models in bereavement support has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities movement.
Professor Aoun is working with a national team on a project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to develop a national, consistent and quality controlled data collection system to better inform MND research and policy; and on a national survey funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia to gauge experiences in end of life care and bereavement support in order to improve support services.
In 2020, Professor Aoun received a grant from the Department of Health in collaboration with La Trobe University and Curtin University, to investigate patient perceptions of palliative care.