Richmond, Va.
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

Visiting scholar researches palliative and end-of-life care at VCU

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jane Seymour, Ph.D., professor of palliative and end-of-life studies in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy at the University of Nottingham, traveled to Virginia Commonwealth University from the United Kingdom in April to begin her summer-long appointment as a VCU Global Visiting Scholar.

The Global Visiting Scholar Awards program, offered by the Global Education Office, supports departments or schools in hosting an international scholar for a semester or academic year who will contribute to enriching the learning and scholarship of the unit.

Seymour’s award, titled “What Can Be Done to Improve Care for People with Advanced Disease? A Comparison of U.S. and U.K. Policy and Practice,” is offered in partnership with the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at the VCU School of Medicine.

J. Brian Cassel, Ph.D., senior analyst and assistant professor in the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at the Massey Cancer Center, is hosting Seymour during her time here.

“It is a wonderful opportunity, thanks to the Global Education Office, to host Professor Seymour and to welcome her and her husband to the U.S. and Richmond, and more specifically VCU,” said Cassel. “It has been great to hear Jane’s reactions to, and insights about, palliative care and hospice in the U.S., as she looks at what we do here through a ‘U.K. lens.’”

Cassel traveled to London in early 2012 on a Fulbright Scholar grant to collaborate with researchers to measure the economic impact of end-of-life care in the U.S. and U.K. and “had the opportunity to look at the U.K. approach through a ‘U.S. lens,’” he explained. “It has been very interesting to compare notes.”

Seymour is the leading expert in health policy research for palliative and end-of-life care in the U.K. She has worked in palliative care research and education since 1994. She is currently the head of the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care, which has funded research in palliative and end-of-life care, with an emphasis on policy implementation and evaluation, advance care planning and older people’s experiences and outcomes with end-of-life care.

She has been influential in guiding end-of-life care policy development in the U.K. and worked closely with the National End of Life Care Programme to support their work in implementing the “End of Life Care Strategy” for the U.K. Her research interests focus on advance care planning and other aspects of end-of-life decision-making, palliative and end-of-life care for older people and those with diseases other than cancer, and public education in end-of-life care.  She recently received a lifetime achievement award at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend time at VCU and would like to thank the Global Education Office and my colleagues in the Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care, especially Dr. Brian Cassel who originally invited me, for making my visit possible,” said Seymour.

“I have found it fascinating comparing and contrasting palliative care development in the U.S. and U.K. I am particularly interested in new ways of meeting the needs of a growing population of older people and the roles of nurses in palliative care leadership. I hope to take my lessons back home to the U.K. and to continue to collaborate with VCU long after my visit has come to an end.”

Seymour will spend her summer consulting with the clinical team and others in and outside of the VCU Medical Center, participating in the interdisciplinary rounds of the palliative care team and giving formal talks and presentations.

During her first presentation on May 14, she discussed the six-nation cluster-randomized trial of the "respecting choices" program for advance care planning, in which Seymour and the University of Nottingham are playing a key part, at a monthly seminar sponsored by Massey Cancer Center.

Her next lecture, “Lost in Translation?: Implications for Care of the Dying of the Withdrawal in the U.K. of the Liverpool Care Pathway,” will be on Thursday, May 29, in the Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium, as part of the Department of Internal Medicine’s “Medical Grand Rounds.”


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Jane Seymour, Ph.D.
Brian Cassel, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Hematology, Oncology & Palliative Care, Massey Cancer Center, and Jane Seymour, Global Visiting Scholar, during her May 14 presentation.