Focus of research
As professor of end-of-life research, my research focuses on patients in the last phase of life and their relatives. The last phase of life can concern the last years, months or weeks of life when it has become clear that the end of life might be approaching because of a life-threatening illness or old age. My research started over two decades ago with an emphasis on euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions. While this is still an important research focus (a.o. with my involvement the evaluation of the euthanasia law that takes place every 5 years), my research focus has broadened to (early palliative care. It includes epidemiological studies giving insight in characteristics of patients in the last phase of life and the care they receive, qualitative studies giving insight in experiences of patients, relatives, physicians, nurses and other care professionals, and studies aimed at evaluating new care initiatives (e.g. PaTz- groups; see PaTz.nu) both with regard to effect and implementation.
In the growing and rapidly developing field of palliative care strong cooperation between care, education and research is extra important. Within Amsterdam UMC I contribute to this as chair of the Expertise Center for Palliative Care (EPZ). The EPZ is part of the consortium ‘Palliative Zorg Noord-Holland en Flevoland’ in which we work together with regional care organizations work together on many projects aimed at improving palliative care. (www.palliatevezorgnoordhollandflevoland.nl).
My research is embedded in the research group Public Health at the End of Life The research in this group aims to contribute to quality of life and quality of dying of people with a life-threatening illness and to also contribute to the wellbeing of their relatives. First and foremost by studies on the quality and organization of care at the end of life, in all health care settings and among all stakeholders. Important subthemes are advance care planning, palliative care, family care, nursing care and decision-making at the end-of-life.
This research group falls within the section Quality and Organization of Care of the department of Public and Occupational Health