Improving the quality of life — and death — for the elderly

Hand of a frail elderly person
13 May 2014 17:27:31.507
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A public lecture dedicated to the need for nurture and openness in the care of those approaching the final days of their life is to be held at The University of Nottingham later this week.

This year’s annual public lecture organised by the Sue Ryder Care Centre, the University’s centre for the study of supportive, palliative and end of life care, will be delivered by distinguished expert in palliative care Dr Josephine Hockley.

Dr Hockley will be sharing thoughts on what it is like for an elderly person to be approaching the last days of their life in her lecture titled What Frail Older People at the End of Their Lives Have Taught Me About Dying.
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Dr Hockley will speak of the importance of being open about the subject of death in order to provide adequate support for the dying and learn from the care experience, illustrating her ideas through case studies from her research.

Maintaining dignity

The importance of palliative care extends to the elderly and terminally ill who are coming to the end of their life. Relieving suffering and improving the quality of their life, as well as their families’, is essential if they are to maintain their dignity and “if we are not to lose what is an important part of being human” says Dr Hockley.

Dr Josephine Hockley has been a specialist in palliative care for over 30 years, recently being awarded an OBE for her achievements. She completed her nurse training at London St Bartholomew’s Hospital and amongst her achievements is the creation of two hospital-based palliative care teams in St Bartholomew and in Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Her more recent achievement is the creation of a Care Home Project Team, dedicated to encouraging a palliative care approach to the elderly sufferers of incurable conditions such as dementia. The team serves over 100 care homes at St Christopher’s Hospice, London.

As host of the lecture, The University of Nottingham has been a long term supporter of care for people approaching the end of their life. Earlier this year, the founder of the University’s Sue Ryder Care Centre, Jane Seymour, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards, for her groundbreaking research in end of life care.

Bridget Johnston, Professor of Palliative and Supportive Care at the Sue Ryder Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jo to Nottingham as a pioneer of palliative care and palliative nursing in particular.”

The lecture will take place in A30 at Lakeside on University Park Campus on Thursday May 15. Refreshments will be at 5.30pm and the hour-long lecture will start at 6pm.  The event is free of charge, however if you are interested in attending please register by emailing

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university among graduate employers, the world’s greenest university, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World's Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Bridget Johnston, Professor of Palliative and Supportive Care, on +44 (0)115 823 0817,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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