Congratulations to Professor Catherine Evans

21st October 2021

Dr Catherine Evans, a Clinical Reader in Palliative Care at the Cicely Saunders Institute has been promoted to Professor of Palliative Care. She will be the first nurse in the Faculty appointed to this specialist role.

Catherine’s professorship will be pivotal for nursing leadership in palliative care both at King’s College London and nationally. Her nursing leadership brings a huge strength to the multi-disciplinary palliative care group at the Cicely Saunders Institute, and in Adult Nursing for education in our palliative care undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes.

Catherine’s research delivers new service models of integrated community palliative care for older adults with non-malignant conditions living at home, in care homes and in transition between hospital and home requiring intermediate care.

Catherine joined the Cicely Saunders Institute as a post-doctoral fellow in 2010. Over the last 10 years she has built a successful programme of research on community palliative care for older adults with multimorbidity including dementia. Her success culminated in a major £4.7 million Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) research programme called ‘Empowering Better End of Life Dementia Care’ (EMBED-Care), led jointly with Professor Liz Sampson, UCL. Catherine currently holds a HEE/NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship in a joint post between King’s College London and Sussex Community NHS Foundation.

I am delighted that Catherine’s academic successes have been recognised by King’s College London in the latest academic promotions round. Palliative care, and the Cicely Saunders Institute, are multidisciplinary. As a clinical academic she brings a wealth of experience to ensure that our research is informed by current challenges in practice and is impactful for patients and families.

– Professor Richard Harding, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute

Older adults in the community experience highly inequitable access to palliative care that compromises quality of life and increases unplanned hospitalisation. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified these inequalities with a rapid rise in the number of people dying at home and in care homes. Community nurses are the main providers of general palliative care working with primary care, social care and specialist palliative care. Catherine’s nursing leadership and research on strengthening the integration of palliative care in community and primary care seeks to meet the policy imperative for high-quality palliative care in the community for older adults.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to provide leadership and profile for nurses in the community in their vital work delivering palliative and end of life care within the multi-disciplinary team and with specialists in palliative care. Multidisciplinary working is a huge strength in the delivery of palliative care and community care. I hope to exploit this strength by amplifying the nursing voice for us to realise a long-overdue policy ambition of equitable access to palliative care for older people where they reside, at home and in care homes. I am hugely grateful to friends and family, and my colleagues at the Cicely Saunders Institute and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust for their support in my career and looking forward to continuing and growing this collaboration. I’m also grateful to the National Institute of Health Research whose creation and funding of an integrated clinical academic career pathway made possible my pursuit and success as a clinical-academic in nursing.

– Professor Catherine Evans