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Nancy Preston supervises 12 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Nancy Preston


Nancy Preston

Lancaster University

Furness Building



Tel: +44 1524 592802

Research overview

I have three main areas of research. Firstly symptom control in the last year of life and how best to support patients. I am particularly interested in the movement of fluid in the body. Secondly I am interested in service delivery in particular how we improve access of palliative care through integrated palliative care and advance care planning. Through work with PhD students this has led to work in assisted dying. Finally I am interested in research methodology in palliative care. Given the vulnerable group of people we work with there are challenges in recruitment and missing data.

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


Research Interests

Not surprisingly at the end of life people experience more symptoms. I am interested in symptom burden particularly how fluid moves around the body. I have conducted research in ascites (fluid in the abdomen), pleural effusions (fluid on the lungs) and lymphoedema (fluid in the limbs). I have been developing a support garment for people with ascites to wear whether due to a malignancy, liver disease or another cause. This garments offers support and has the potential to help control the build-up of fluid.

Palliative care is still largely received by people with cancer. I am interested in how we integrate palliative care to other services to improve uptake of services and dissemination of the principles of palliative care in general care. As part of the European Funded Study we produced a summary of our findings in a MOOC (a massive open online course which is free to join) which currently about 8000 people participated in and a free online book which can be downloaded http://www.insup-c.eu/. I am part of a second EU funded study looking at the use of advance care planning which will complete in 2019 https://www.action-acp.eu/. I am also interested in developing the scope of palliative care and helped evaluate a project called Hospice in your Care Home and I am currently involved in a feasibility study of an intervention for people with advance dementia called Namaste http://www.namastetrial.org.uk/index.php/the-trial.

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) where I developed an interest in recruitment issues in palliative care research. I was also the senior research fellow on a project to develop guidelines on conducting research in palliative care through a grant from the MRC called MORECare. MORECare guidance develops the MRC guidance on complex interventions with a focus on palliative care. Work on how to manage missing data resulted in specific guidance which has been developed through Marie Curie and is ongoing. Gate keeping practices by staff and relatives in hospices can prevent patients being asked to join research studies which can lead to issues in recruitment. 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?


Current Teaching

I am a Professor and Co-Director in the International Observatory on End of Life Care within the Faculty of Health and Medicine. I teach on the different Blended Learning PhDs on systematic reviews and co-edited a book specifically to guide post graduate students Aveyard, H., Payne, S. A., & Preston, N. J. (2016). A post-graduate's guide to doing a literature review in health and social care. Oxford University Press. I have a number of PhD students through the PhD in Palliative Care blended learning course plus traditional PhD students too. I also teach on the undergraduate biological and life sciences where I am the module leader for BIOL 134 Biomedicine and Society. 

Additional Information

I am the Director of Post Graduate Studies for the Division of Health Research.

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


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