student nurse at the university of ulster

Managing Chronic Illness

Background

Centre lead: Professor Vivien Coates

Managing chronic conditions is a major global health care problem with cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes amongst the five most common chronic conditions. They are responsible for a significant burden of ill health among patients, their families and society overall. However, many factors impinge on condition management including: individual patient attributes, families, social and physical environments, patient/clinician relationships and clinical expertise. Therefore, a complex interaction involving health care systems, clinical interventions, patients’ self-management efforts and abilities is required. Further-more, managing chronic illness is not a static activity rather it fluctuates as individuals move from diagnosis through stable and acute phases that may eventually lead to palliative or end of life care.

Research offers an opportunity to bridge gaps in our understanding of the management of chronic conditions and in partnership with patient groups and service providers, we need to translate research results into appropriate and effective service improvements.

Our new research centre aims to conduct rigorous research into holistic care, responsive to the needs of those living with a chronic condition.

Aims

The remit of this group is to conduct rigorous research into holistic care, responsive to the needs of those living with a chronic condition.

Objectives

  • enhance and encourage collaborative research initiatives and developments at local, national and international levels.
  • work in partnership with users and practitioners to ensure that we conduct research which reflects their needs and interests.
  • explore theoretical frameworks which may contribute to understanding the needs of individuals and groups dealing with a chronic health problem.
  • offer collegial support to all colleagues to enhance preparation of papers and research proposals.
  • make a focussed and significant contribution to dissemination of findings to both users and professional audiences.
  • influence curriculum development through the application of relevant research results.

Themes of Research

We have three main themes of research within the overall spectrum of chronic illness:

  • Palliative Care
  • Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer Care

Centre activities

Meetings will be held approximately every two months for each of the research themes. Our members can be involved in every aspect of research from identifying pertinent questions, conducting the research and on to dissemination. They work closely with people affected by chronic conditions, health and social care professionals, the voluntary sector and members of the public.
Seminars and workshops on issues and methodologies that apply across clinical conditions will be held on a quarterly basis.

Collaborations

This research centre seeks to enhance and encourage collaborative research initiatives and developments at local, national and international levels. Alongside having many of our researchers working as joint appointments with local health care trusts, there is a clear focus on developing partnerships and collaborations with clinical and professional colleagues, with patient organisations and charities. Such collaboration furthers patient and public involvement and helps to deliver more effective knowledge transfer.

Making contact:

If you are interested in the work of this research centre and would like further information please contact:
Donna Fitzsimons: D.Fitzsimons@ulster.ac.uk
Eilis McCaughan: em.mccaughan@ulster.ac.uk
Sonja McIlfatrick: SJ.McIlfatrick@ulster.ac.uk
Professor V Coates,
Joint appointment: University of Ulster & Assistant Director of Nursing [R&D] Western Health and Social Care Trust. ve.coates@ulster.ac.uk