Home > Research > Researchers > Sarah Brearley

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Sarah Brearley supervises 10 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

View graph of relations

Dr Sarah Brearley

Senior Lecturer in Health Research

Sarah Brearley

Lancaster University

Furness Building



Tel: +44 1524 592574

Research overview

My research expertise is in supportive and palliative care (cancer and non malignant conditions), focusing on four broad areas: i) symptoms in and outcome measures to assess these; ii) family/patient experiences of care; iii) palliative care development; and iv) palliative and end of life care in long term settings.  In addition I have an interest in paediatric palliative care, spiritual care and methodologies .I have developed an expertise in the use of qualitative and mixed methods research methods, and have also run clinical trials.  


Current Research

Current and recently completed projects include:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the Macmillan 7-day Advice and Assessment Programme (Macmillan Cancer Support)
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the Manchester Macmillan Supportive and Palliative Care Service  (Macmillan Cancer Support)
  • Hidden lives and deaths: the last months of life of older people with learning disabilities living in long term care settings for older people in England and Wales (The Dunhill Medical Trust) 
  • TERSC-  A randomised controlled trial of thoracic epidural analgesia versus rectus sheath catheters for open midline incisions in major abdominal surgery within an Enhanced Recovery Program (RfPB)
  • Exploring the role of free living activity in advanced cancer patients- a project of PhD student Sonya Lowe
  • A prospective descriptive study to examine the incidence of end of life symptoms in care home residents – a project of PhD student Lynne Partington
  • Exploring the patient experience of cancer recurrence from ‘disease free status’ to advanced stage disease – a project of PhD student Denice Economou
  • Development of a patient communication style assessment tool to assist pharmacist provision of analgesic medicines information for palliative care patients- a project of PhD student Alison MacRobbie
  • Paediatric palliative care service underutilisation: a mixed methods study exploring accessibility and care give coping- a project of PhD student Andrea Postier
  • The nature of moral distress experienced by nursing home staff when careing for  residents towards the end of life- a project of PhD student Amanda Young
  • Palliative sedation- a EURO IMPACT project of PhD student Evie Papavasiliou
  • Consensus techniques in  palliative care research- a project of PhD student Saskia Jünger
  • Development of palliative care in central Europe- a EURO IMPACT project of PhD student Martin Loucka
  • Perceptions of Palliative Care by health professionals in Kenya- a project of PhD student Ruth Njenga
  • The experience of pain in adults with cyctic fibrosis: a narrative study- a project of PhD student Jessica Goggin
  • Junior hospital medical officers expereince of making clinical decisions about patients with advanced life limiting disease- a project of PhD student Martin Kennedy
  • Rehabilitation in palliative care- a project of PhD student Karen Clarke
  • Breast cancer: the meaning and experience of diagnosis from the perspective of patients' friends- a doctoral project of DClinpsy student Nicola Edwards
  • Silence in spiritual care at the end of life- a project of PhD student Lynn Bassett
  • Understand palliative care patients’ spiritual needs in Ireland- a project of PhD student Deborah Hayden
  • A systematic review of patient reported outcome measures in gynaecological oncology (Rosemere)
  • A study to assess the use of the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS) within the acute stroke population

Potential projects include those which focus on:

  • Complex interventions for symptom management
  • Medicines management at the end of life
  • Experiences of symptoms and care
  • Paediatric and AYA palliative care
  • Spiritual care
  • Intellectual disabilities and palliative care

Current Teaching

In addition to supervising PhD students i have played a leading role in developing and teaching a number of modules including DHR 516, DHR 517, DHR 403, DHR 523 and the annual academies. I currently convene:

DHR 516 Questions, methods, choices

DHR 5167 Palliative Care: history, policy, practice

Autumn Academies

Masters in Palliative Medicine (Universita di Bologna)

I have an active interest in developing teaching excellence and my own teaching practice.  i co-lead the Faculty of Health and Medicine's Teaching and Learning Forum, which is an inter-faculty initiative which enables the sharing of knowledge, experience and good practice about teaching and learning.  It has been awarded funding for 6 years and has catalysed the development of TLF in other faculties. I completed PGCAP 1 and 2 (attaining FHEA) and was subsequently awarded recognition as Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I led and developed the PhD in Palliative Care, completing 5 years as Director of Studies. I have successfully supervised to completion 4 PhD students and 1 DClinPsy, and currently supervise 15 PhD student.

View all (73) »

View all (2) »