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Associate professor wins award for research into end-of-life care for people with learning disabilities

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Dr Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, associate professor at Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, has won the 2017 Post Doctoral Researcher Award at the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC). Dr Tuffrey-Wijne was recognised for her research on the experiences and needs of people with learning disabilities, in the area of palliative care.

Dr Tuffrey Wijnes

This prestigious and high profile award will help raise the profile of Dr Tuffrey-Wijne’s research into end-of-life care and on how to give a voice to those with learning disabilities.

Her research broke new ground by using and adapting research methodologies to suit the need of those with learning disabilities and by including people with learning disabilities in the research team as advisors and co-researchers.

An in-depth study of the experiences of people with learning disabilities who had cancer and follow-up studies resulted in the development of new guidelines for breaking bad news to people with learning disabilities – the first such resource available. The guidelines have been published as a book, and as a web-based resource.

Dr Tuffrey-Wijne said: “People with learning disabilities often get a poor deal at the end of life. We need to do more in order to get it right and research plays an important part in this.

“I am delighted and honoured to win the award, which will focus international attention on the needs of this vulnerable group,” she said.

Dr Tuffrey-Wijne will give a plenary talk on the topic at the EAPC World Congress in Madrid in May.