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Kristian Pollock

Principal Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Kristian is a Principal Research Fellow in the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care. She studied social anthropology at the universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, and completed a PGCHE at Keele University in 2007. She has carried qualitative research in a wide range of health service settings, often involving sensitive topics and vulnerable populations and has experience of undertaking observation, interviews, focus groups, and case studies as well as mixed methods research.

Kristian has a particular interest in qualitative research ethics, which developed from her experience of serving for four years on a local NHS REC and her current role as Research Ethics Officer for the School of Health Sciences.

  • She has a long-standing interest in patient and public understanding and experience of health and illness. This includes the construction and management of personal identity, how knowledge is used as a resource in coping with serious illness, and how the different kinds of knowledge held by patients and professionals are communicated in the course of medical consultations. Kristian's current position within the Sue Ryder Care Centre Research Group involves the application of her research interests to the study of patient experiences and communication about cancer, dementia, Advance Care Planning, end of life care and death and dying

Expertise Summary

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Research ethics
  • Lay and professional understanding of health and illness
  • Communication in medical consultations
  • Advance care planning
  • End of life care
  • Dementia
  • Death and dying

Current PhD Students

Emma Popejoy: Decision making and future planning for children with life-limiting illnesses: a qualitive multi-stakeholder, longitudinal study

Dawn Ritchie: The Primacy Study: How do we protect the best interests of the child when making decisions about persevering with, withholding or withdrawing life sustaining medical treatment?

Kevin Anthony An intervention to reduce the risk of falls and increase quality of life in older people

Completed PhD Students

Gemma Stacey, A case study exploring the experiences of graduate entry nursing students in practice

Eleanor Wilson Exploring the care needs of those affected by Huntingdon's disease

Asam Latif Medicines Use Reviews (MURs): A case study in two community pharmacies

Cheng-I Yang Patient and professional accounts of interactions following attempted suicide: An exploration of the characteristics of patients' help-seeking behavior and the helpfulness of psychiatric treatment.

Membership of Professional Associations:

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Senior Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health

British Sociological Association

Association for the Study of Death and Society

Palliative Care Research Association

Teaching Summary

Kristian's main teaching involvement is in supervision of undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.

She also contributes to several modules, including

  • Learning Beyond Registration: Critical Perspectives on end of life care
  • Personal and Professional Effectiveness for Nursing Practice - research methodologies
  • Contemporary Debates in Healthcare

In addition, in her role as Research Ethics Officer, Kristian teaches research ethics to undergraduates, postgraduates and staff within the School of Health Sciences.

Research Summary

Kristian's research interests centre on the study of death in society, including public attitudes towards, and patient experience of, death and dying, place of death, Advance Care Planning, and… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

Kristian's research interests centre on the study of death in society, including public attitudes towards, and patient experience of, death and dying, place of death, Advance Care Planning, and dementia. She is also interested in communication between patients and health professionals in medical consultations.

Current research projects

ACTION (2013 - 2018; EU 7th Framework Programme). The ACTION project is investigating whether a structured Advance Care Plan (ACP) intervention (Respecting Choices) improves the quality of life and symptoms of patients with advanced lung and colorectal cancer. It involves a cluster randomised trial and linked qualitative study in six participating European countries. The study will explore the experience and impact of delivering and receiving an ACP intervention from the perspectives of patients, lay carers and health professionals.

BOUGH (Broadening Our Understanding of Good Home care): : Defining Good Quality Home Care for People with Dementia: A Mixed-Methods Study (2015 - 2017, NIHR School for Social Care Research). BOUGH is using mixed methods, including observation, interviews, diaries, documentary analysis and medical records review to explore the nature and function of home care for persons with dementia so that its function in community support can be described, with a view to service development and effective commissioning of services.

Past Research

Recently completed studies:

Care and communication between health professionals and patients affected by severe or chronic illness in community care settings (2012-2014, NIHR HS&DR). This study investigated how patients, informal carers and health professionals negotiate the initiation of Advance Care Planning (ACP) and the outcomes of discussion and planning for end of life care (EOLC) in terms of how closely expressed preferences for EOLC are realised. has two parallel workstreams. It involved two work streatms: a series of longtitudinal patient case studies and a series of interviews with health care professionals providing care for seriously ill patients living in the community.

Caring for Frail or Seriously Ill Older People on Acute Hospital Wards (2012-2014, Alzheimer's Society). This study investigated the factors and processes that affect the quality of professional care provided to individuals with dementia who die in hospital and their family caregivers. It was a qualitative mixed methods study based on ward observation, patient case studies and interviews with health professionals and bereaved family carers.

Medical Crises in Older People (MCOP) Kristian was involved in the qualitative strands of a programme of research which aimed to improve outcomes for frail older people being discharged rapidly from acute medical units, develop and test a specialist unit to care for people with mental health problems in a general hospital, and to find out more about the delivery of healthcare to care home residents.

The Balanced Mind: Preventing Falls in Dementia (2013-2014) NIHR Programme Development Grant). This project involved development work for a larger programme of research to develop and test an exercise intervention to prevent falls in people with early dementia. I was involved in a qualitative sub-study which explored patient and family carers understanding of falls risk, the actions they took to avoid falling, and their attitudes to interventions to support falls prevention. This involved interviews with patients, their family carers and with health professionals from falls and memory clinics.

Caring for cognitively impaired older patients in the general hospital: A qualitative analysis of similarities and differences between a specialist Medical and Mental Health Unit and standard care wards. (2012-2014, NIHR RfPB).This study was based on extensive observation of nursing care of hospitalised patients affected by cognitive impairment including dementia. It used Dementia Care Mapping and qualitative observation to compare and contrast the behaviours of staff and patients on a specialist Medical and Mental Health Unit and standard care wards and to provide a narrative account that helps to explain the link between structure, process and reported outcomes.

Evaluation of Samaritans Emotional Support Services (2008- 2010, Samaritans). This study was a national evaluation of the impact of Samaritans confidential helpline, e-mail and SMS text emotional support services. The evaluation was commissioned by Samaritans in order to investigate the needs and expectations callers have of contacting Samaritans and to develop evidence around the benefits of the services provided, and to better understand the impact Samaritans services have on callers. It included extensive observation of volunteers and branch activities, an online caller survey and interviews with callers and Samaritans volunteers.

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