The story so far

Since 2009, the Louis Dundas Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has made a meaningful and unique contribution to children’s palliative care in the UK and worldwide.

This has been achieved in the following ways:

Establishing an academic unit

From a standing start, the foundations of an exceptional academic team are now in place. Led by the True Colours Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner, the academic team includes:

  • Four researchers.
  • A research assistant.
  • Two Lebedev PhD students, one of which has been funded in association with Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Together, they are carrying out a programme of research that seeks to reduce the suffering of children by investigating four key areas: the illness experience, pain and symptom control, decision making and service delivery.

Several major research studies are underway, enabling the team to:

  • Contribute to national and international policy development and guidelines on palliative care.
  • Share knowledge, nationally and internationally, through publications, seminars, presentations, training and teaching sessions.

Enhanced clinical practice

The Louis Dundas Centre has also helped to strengthen the clinical Palliative Care team at GOSH and increase research capacity by funding additional staff, including:

  • A clinical nurse specialist, who has helped to increase the number of outreach visits to patients and their families.
  • A psychosocial team, including a clinical psychologist and a social worker, who provide support to sick children, their families and the staff who care for them.

As a result, the centre has not only helped to improve the quality of care provided by the multi-disciplinary team at GOSH. It has also enabled a greater number of referrals to be made, and children and families from a wider catchment area to be supported. In 2013 there were:

  • 220 referrals made to the Louis Dundas Centre team (an increase of nearly 50 per cent since the centre was established).
  • More than 1,200 children on the clinical team's caseload.
  • More than 2,500 visits made to children and families.

Read Abigail's story to find out more about how the centre has supported families at GOSH.

The Louis Dundas Centre is making a very important contribution to palliative care and pain management in children. The centre is making great strides by sharing their experience of new techniques and knowledge gained through vital research with a worldwide audience so that children everywhere can benefit.

Professor Ros Smyth, Director of the UCL Institute of Child Health

Thank you. We look forward to continuing to update you on our progress.