Research Associate

London (Greater)
£32,676 - £40,414 Per Annum, Including London Weighting Allowance
26 Aug 2020
End of advertisement period
24 Sep 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London seeks to recruit a self-motivated individual with research experience to deliver a Marie Curie funded mixed methods project: Understanding and improving community-based palliative care outside of normal working hours

To address the current evidence gap, we propose to i) synthesize existing evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of models of out-of-hours community SPC, ii) characterise different models of out-of-hours community-based SPC and develop a typology of these models, and iv) explore patients' and families' experiences across these different models to better understand the impact of different 'out-of-hours' care. 

Community-based specialist palliative care services usually only run a full service between Monday-Friday, 9-5pm. This is only 24% of time; for the remaining 76% of time, patients and their families must rely on 'out-of-hours' services. This care outside usual working hours is very varied according to where someone lives. Some specialist palliative care teams have no 'out-of-hours' provision, so if patients or their families have urgent questions or an emergency, they must either contact the on-call GP who is hard to access and often does not know them, or attend an emergency department. When specialist palliative care services do have 'out-of-hours' services, they are often delivered differently (e.g. by phone, rather than visiting). Currently we do not know which combination of 'out-of-hours' care best meets patients' and families' needs, within existing resources.

We propose to examine published evidence on different ways of providing community palliative care, and develop a standard way to describe these 'models of care'. Using this, we will select low, medium and high intensity 'out-of-hours' models of care. We will then interview three groups of patients and family caregivers (from low, medium, and high intensity services) about their experiences of care outside normal working hours for each service. We will ask patients and families about any unmet needs outside of working hours and will consider how the different models of care affect the patients and family caregivers experience and ability to remain in their preferred place of care.

The impact of the study will be wide-reaching; it will i) help inform and improve care for over 125,000 people seen annually by specialist palliative care services in the UK, ii) provide a detailed classification to understand and define 'out-of-hours' palliative care, and iii) give us invaluable insights into what works best in 'out-of-hours' care and why.

This is a full-time, fixed-term contract for 1 year and 3 months.

Key responsibilities

  • To deliver key research tasks on the out of hours project at the Cicely Saunders Institute
  • To lead the research tasks working with clinical partners plus any other project partners both academic and clinical
  • To liaise with colleagues within KCL and members of the palliative care community in the UK to ensure strong and productive partnership
  • To disseminate outputs locally, nationally and internationally
  • To keep to agreed deadlines in all aspects of the programme of work
  • To be able to involve patients and public in research (PPI) and willing to work with PPI representatives
  • Developing and sharing of study materials.
  • Collaborating with key stake holders

Communication & networking

  • To assist with creating and strengthening key collaborations with partners.
  • Promote, communicate and co-ordinate all aspects of the programme within and outside the programme.
  • To prepare project dissemination activities in terms of presentations, reports and publications as needed.
  • To communicate research ideas, methods, design and findings to diverse audiences
  • To maintain strict confidentiality of any patient /family /staff information and work within the terms of the data protection act
  • Manage and respond to issues from research participants sensitively and professionally.

Decision making, planning & problem solving

  • To be involved in undertaking and delivering all aspects of the project including community liaison and recruitment, data collection, analysis, reporting.
  • To meet research objectives and deadlines.
  • To be independently motivated and able to work without direct supervision, but to be able to appropriately seek expert advice and supervision as required.
  • To work closely with the project team of researchers, partners and project co-ordinator

Service delivery

To deliver to time as required and to contribute to, and ensure delivery on project objectives and activities.
To show commitment to high quality research.

Analysis & research

  • To maintain reference database and share updates with key colleagues
  • Recruit participants in line with inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • To identify relevant literature for the project
  • To assist in preparing publications for high quality journals and to substantively contribute to publications for high quality journals
  • To undertake research interviews with adult patients and parents/carers facing life-limiting or life-threatening illness, and their health professional and commissioners.
  • To undertake transcription and analysis of qualitative data supported by survey, NVIVO and quantitative software.

Team work, teaching & learning support

  • To develop productive working relationships with other members of staff and work as part of the overall team.
  • To establish good professional working relationships with all co-investigators and other members of the research team.
  • To promote academic partnerships and excellent relationships with academic partners
  • Promote anti-discriminatory work practices and promote college equal opportunities policies.
  • To deliver teaching as requested

Sensory/physical demands & work environment

  • Conduct risk assessments and comply at all times with the requirements of the Health and Safety regulations with responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of others in the working environment
  • Travel and conduct research interviews in participants' homes when necessary.
  • To have a good understanding of research methods in health services research and/or palliative care.

Pastoral care

  • Demonstrate the capacity to identify when others or self-need assistance from their colleagues or senior staff, and accordingly seek out assistance if/when required.
  • Demonstrate ability to manage distressed participants
  • Provide mutual support for other members of the department, in line with the responsibility of the post and as appropriate to context.

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  • Essential for grade 6: PhD awarded in a subject relevant to the project (or near to completion).
  • Essential for grade 5: MSc awarded in a subject relevant to the project.
  • Understanding of and insight into the issues and challenges in research with people facing terminal illness.
  • Critical appraisal and literature reviewing
  • Essential for grade 6: Educational methods and competency-based frameworks, including face-to-face teaching, and remote and virtual methods.
  • Excellent research-related computing skills - competent in word processing, familiar with reference management databases (e.g. EndNote), and packages to support qualitative data analysis (e.g. NVivo) and quantitative analysis (e.g., SPSS)
  • Understanding of management and analysis of qualitative datasets
  • Understanding and management of quantitative survey datasets
  • Excellent clarity in written and spoken communication. Capacity to adapt language as appropriate to a given circumstance. Excellent presentation and written and oral communication skills
  • Research experience - conducting research studies either independently or as part of a team at all stages from protocol development to funding application to dissemination, ideally including qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed methods
  • Essential for grade 6: Authorship on peer-reviewed publications
  • Ability to work respectfully and productively with people who have different values and identities from your own, in line with College Diversity and Equality ambitions
  • Willingness and ability to travel UK and overseas on business when required.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of working with adults and their families facing serious illness
  • Desirable for Grade 5: Educational methods and competency-based frameworks, including face-to-face teaching, and remote and virtual methods.
  • Desirable for Grade 5: Authorship on peer-reviewed publications

*Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information

This post will be offered as EITHER Grade 5 or 6.
Essential criteria for Grade 6 are slightly different to Grade 5 and the difference is indicated in above section.

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service clearance.

This advertisement does meet the requirements for a Certificate of Sponsorship under Home Office regulations and therefore the university will be able to offer sponsorship for this role.

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