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Sharing international ideas

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Sharing international ideas

April is set to be a really exciting month for myself and Together for Short Lives, as I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship (supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing) to visit Canada, and later in the year, Australia.

Back in March 2020, from 1409 applications received, 260 individuals were interviewed in London and 141 Fellowships awarded. I was really privileged to be one of them. I was awarded a fellowship in the palliative care stream.

The Churchill Fellowship is the UK’s national memorial to Sir Winston Churchill. It promotes the global exchange of ideas and understanding between people, through the work of the Fellows appointed each year.

Unfortunately, during the pandemic an embargo was placed on all travel and I was not able to progress with my plans, but I am really excited that in April, I will be spending just under three weeks working with and visiting palliative care services in Vancouver and Toronto – hospices, children’s hospitals, multi professional teams and universities. Later in the year, in October, I will visit Melbourne and Sydney.

During my visits I will explore models of paediatric palliative care delivery and how children who may benefit from palliative care are identified in Canada and Australia – something that Together for Short Lives is exploring right now.

Throughout the summer of 2023 we kicked off a 12 month project, working closely with the wider sector, to review and update our current understanding of how we can identify which children need palliative care. This definition of children’s palliative care (CPC) has informed both the work we do at Together for Short Lives and the development of the wider sector nationally and internationally. And at its heart is the idea of children’s palliative care being for children with ‘life-limiting or life-threatening’ conditions.

We will develop a new approach and framework which considers the holistic needs of children and their families, the diagnosis and phase of a child’s life limiting illness. During this fellowship I will explore how international organisations are identifying children, and I will bring this learning back, to our ongoing project.


The focus of this fellowship really aligns with the work we at Together for Short Lives – a clear aim of our strategic plan.


I will also explore the interface between palliative care and medical complexity as well as looking at how education and research can play a part in enabling professionals in all settings to meet children’s and family’s needs.

I am excited about meeting and learning from new teams and exploring children’s palliative care from an international experience. I am enormously grateful to the Churchill Fellowship for this opportunity. Maybe there will be some time to visit a few tourist sites too!

Keep an eye on Together for Short Lives’ social channels for updates from my travels.

Helena is Together for Short Lives’ Director of Service Development and Improvement. She is a registered children’s/adult nurse with over twenty five years clinical experience and a further nine years experience working as an Associate Professor leading children’s undergraduate and postgraduate nursing provision in Leicester.

Helena’s doctorate looked at the concept of place attachment theory in hospices. In her current role she leads programmes to support quality improvement, education and sharing good practice as well as overseeing all direct work to support families and children with palliative care needs across the UK.


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