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Nancy Preston supervises 14 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Nancy Preston

Senior Lecturer

Nancy Preston

Lancaster University

Furness Building



Tel: +44 1524 592802

Research overview

I have two main areas of research. The first areas relates to symptom control in the last year of life. I have a particular interest in the management of malignant ascites (the build up of large volumes of fluid in the abdomen) and how best to support patients. I am also interested in patients’ views of symptom management. The second area of interest is about improving how research is conducted in with palliative care patients. This involves research around recruitment and gate keeping.


PhD supervision

Palliative and end of life care.

Current Research

ACTION A multi-centre cluster randomized controlled trial of of advanced care planning - an innovative Palliative care Intervention to Improve Quality of Life in Oncology (European Union FP7)

Insup-C Patient Centred integrated palliative care in advanced cancer and chronic disease (European Union FP7)

SUPPORTED: the development of an abdominal support binder for the management of ascites (Lancaster University Impact Award)

Cochrane Systematic review on Strategies to Improve Recruitment to Research Studies via Health Professionals

Cochrane Systematic Review on the Management of Pleural Effusion

Cochrane Systematic Review on the Management of ureteric Obstruction with nephrostomies and stents

PhD Supervision:

Experience of health care workers supporting patients undergoing Euthanasia in the Netherlands (Debbie Lewis)

Family member and patient experiences in relation to Physician Assisted Suicide in Switzerland (Claudia Gamondi)

Experience of physiotherapists and nurses caring for patients with end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in accident and emergency (Jackie Malone)

Case study of in memoriam giving in hospices (Gary Hawkes)

Generalist Social Workers’ Experience of Sharing End of Life Care with Specialist Palliative Care Social Workers in the Acute Care Setting (Janice Firn)

A Video Intervention to Improve Physician Advance Care Planning and Documentation: A Feasibility Study (Sharon Lucas)

Hydration at the end of life (Mary Andhoga)

The use of physical therapies in the management of respiratory secretions in the last year of life (Juliano Arcuri - Brazilan Fellowship Student)

The evaluation of facilitation of the Gold Standards Framework in Nursing Homes (Julie Kinley) 


Research Interests

I have a strong research interest in methodology research in relation to how to conduct research with palliative care patients who are a vulnerable group. I was the co-lead for the methodology theme for the Cancer Experiences collaborative (CECo). One of the projects I am involved in is a Cochrane systematic review of recruitment strategies that health care professionals can use to improve recruitment into research studies (quantitative or qualitative). This is a multi-centre study involving researchers from the University of Manchester, University of Cambridge and Southampton University. I was the senior research fellow on a project to develop guidelines on conducting research in palliative care through a grant from the MRC.

I recently conducted some research into gate keeping practices by staff and relatives in hospices which prevents patients being asked to join research studies. This led to a knowledge exchange programme where I led three workshops in local hospices to explain the benefits of research and to then get the attendees to identify barriers to research and how to overcome them plus suggest research questions using nominal group techniques. This work formed part of a report commissioned by Help the Hospices looking at the role of research in hospices resulting in the provocative title - Can Hospices afford NOT to be involved in research.

My other main interest is around how patients are cared for in the last year of life which has resulted in research around how to deliver care which improves quality of life. I am involved in two EU FP7 funded studies. The first is trying to identify best practice in delivering integrated palliative care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure and cancer. The final part of the research is create an online benchmarking system which will also act as a resource. This research is taking place in six countries. A second EU FP7 funded study is a cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate whether advanced care planning improves quality of life across five countries in Europe.

A second part of this research is looking at how different symptoms affect patients with cancer. I am involved in two Cochrane reviews looking at the management of pleural effusions and ureteric obstruction. I am also involved in research to develop new ways to manage and support people with ascites (large volumes of fluid in their abdomen) which requires regular drainage. I am working with a company to develop specific support garments to help people live with the condition and maximise their time at home. This was possible through a grant from Lancaster University.

Current Teaching

I am a lecturer in the International Observatory on End of Life Care. I teach on the PhD in Palliative Care and I am the module leader for DHR 517: Palliative Care. I also teach on the undergraduate biological and life sciences where I am the module leader for BIOL 134 Biomedicine and Society. I also teach on the PG Certificate in Clinical Research.

Additional Information

I am involved in the local Specialist Palliative Care network which is a collaboration between clinicians and academics.

I help facilitate the Lancaster University Research Partner forum. This is a user group who help develop research ideas and give feedback to researchers about their research proposals. We have carried out an evaluation of their role.

I am also a front line advisor for the North West research Design Service.

I review for a number of grant bodies including the Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Research and TENOVUS. I am an associate editor for BMC Palliative Care and reviewer for a large number of journals.


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