📣 I am thrilled to share that I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship for 2024! I’m excited to connect with those abroad to develop tools for preventing conflict in palliative care. Looking forward to gaining insights that will help drive positive change for patients, families and healthcare professionals here in the UK. Thank you to the Churchill Fellowship for this amazing opportunity.

The Peaceable End-of-Life Care Project:

Dialogues about dying: tools for preventing conflict in palliative care

Arabella Tresilian – Churchill Fellowship 2024

Project Focus: Helping prevent and resolve disagreements about the care and treatment of critically-ill children.

Project Output: Resources to support collaborative decision-making in paediatric end of life care in the UK

Project Summary: I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to undertake international research into communication protocols for reducing disagreements, and improving communication, between families and professionals in paediatric palliative care. 

Project Overview: I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship for 2024/25 to make study visits to India (3 weeks), Peru (3 weeks), and (online) South Africa (one week) in Jan-Jun 2025. I will research communication protocols for preventing and resolving conflict in paediatric palliative and end-of-life care, aiming to minimise the need for legal recourse in resolving disagreements about the care and treatment of critically-ill children. The project will be part of the Churchill Fellowship’s partnership with Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness.

Project Overview – Flyeravailable here

Churchill Fellow Biography – Arabella Tresilian: I am an experienced health and care mediator specialising in end-of-life care. As an accredited mediator in civil, commercial, and employment disputes, I bring a compassionate approach to resolving interpersonal conflicts that impact people living with a health condition. My background as a workplace Mental Health First Aider instructor and a trainer for Mind allows me to integrate psychological wellbeing into my mediation practice. I focus on restoring harmony and wellbeing by facilitating confidential resolutions and enhancing communication among care teams and families. I work independently and as an Associate to the Medical Mediation Foundation.

Q: What is the change your Churchill Fellowship project hopes to support?

A: The project aims to enhance communication protocols in paediatric palliative and end-of-life care, to prevent and resolve conflicts more effectively. By improving how healthcare providers, patients, and families communicate, the project seeks to minimise the need for legal intervention and ensure that critically-ill children receive compassionate and consensual care.

Q: Which international partners will you be visiting and learning from as part of your Churchill Fellowship project ?

A: I am fortunate to be making plans to  visit three outstanding organisations (two in person and one virtually via zoom meetings):

  • India (in person): Pallium India is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to integrating palliative care into mainstream healthcare across India, based in Trivandrum, Kerala, and operating nation-wide.
  • Peru (in person): Casa Khuyana is creating the first paediatric hospice in Peru, offering paediatric palliative care and emotional, social, and spiritual support, to children and their families.
  • South Africa (virtual visit): Conflict Dynamics is a South African organisation providing training and services for conflict management, mediation, and dispute resolution, with partners in healthcare.

Look out for future announcements about our collaboration plans, via my Linkedin page.

Q: Where is the change needed? A: The change is needed in the UK’s paediatric palliative and end-of-life care settings, particularly in situations where conflicts arise between healthcare providers and families over the care of critically-ill children. Insights from India, Peru, and South Africa will be valuable in the UK, where diverse cultural backgrounds and differing beliefs about medical treatment can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements.

By understanding and integrating effective communication and conflict resolution strategies from these countries, we can better support families and healthcare professionals in the UK to navigate these challenging and emotionally charged situations collaboratively and respectfully.

Q: Who will benefit from your Churchill Fellowship project ? A: The primary beneficiaries will be critically-ill children and their families, who will experience more compassionate and effective communication during palliative and end-of-life care. Healthcare professionals in the UK will also benefit from improved conflict resolution skills, enabling them to navigate difficult conversations with greater empathy and cultural sensitivity. Additionally, the healthcare system as a whole will benefit from a reduction in legal disputes, leading to more harmonious and collaborative care environments.

Q: Which UK stakeholders does your Churchill Fellowship project seek to influence? A: The project seeks to influence a broad range of stakeholders, including healthcare providers, hospital administrators, medical educators, and policymakers. Specific organisations such as the NHS, the General Medical Council (GMC), and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) will be key.

Additionally, influential figures like the Chief Medical Officers, leaders at Marie Curie, and senior consultants in paediatric care are well-placed to champion these learnings. By engaging these stakeholders, the project aims to integrate improved communication protocols and conflict resolution strategies into the wider UK healthcare landscape, enhancing care for critically-ill children.

Q: How will the learning from your Churchill Fellowship project be disseminated in the UK and beyond? A: The project will produce and disseminate a range of educational resources, media outputs, and engagement materials to enhance communication protocols in paediatric palliative and end-of-life care. These resources may include, for example:

  1. Training Modules and Workshops: Online and in-person training modules for healthcare professionals, focusing on effective communication and conflict resolution strategies.
  2. Guidelines and Protocols: Detailed written guidelines and protocols for hospitals and clinics to implement best practices in communication and conflict management.
  3. Toolkits: Practical toolkits with resources such as conversation guides, checklists, and decision-making frameworks for use by healthcare teams.
  4. Case Studies and Research Reports: In-depth case studies and research reports showcasing successful implementations and lessons learned from the study abroad.
  5. Educational Videos: Engaging video content featuring interviews with experts, patient stories, and demonstrations of effective communication techniques.
  6. Publications and Articles: Articles in peer-reviewed journals, healthcare magazines, and professional newsletters to reach a wide audience of healthcare professionals.
  7. Conferences and Seminars: Presentations at major healthcare conferences such as the RCPCH Annual Conference, the NHS Confederation Conference, and international forums.

To ensure widespread dissemination, the project aims to partner with influential organisations and media outlets, including:

  • UK Stakeholder Organisations: Medical Mediation Foundation, NHS Trusts, General Medical Council (GMC), Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), Marie Curie,.
  • Media Organisations: BMJ (British Medical Journal), Health Service Journal (HSJ), The Lancet, BBC Health, and healthcare-focused podcasts.
  • Conferences: RCPCH Annual Conference, NHS Confederation Conference, International Paediatric Association Congress, and the European Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) Conference.

By leveraging these resources and partnerships, the project will effectively share its findings and tools, driving improvements in communication protocols within the UK healthcare system and potentially benefiting the study partners in India, Peru, and South Africa as well.

Q: How can interested individuals contribute to your Churchill Fellowship project? 

A: I am warmly inviting all interested people to join my project’s Reference Group to: 

  • Help ensure my research is well-focussed, relevant and well-designed
  • Suggest stakeholders to reach out to and to involve in the project
  • Steer on what outputs from the project would be most relevant and helpful 

Any individuals with an interest or expertise in any aspects of the project are warmly requested to join the reference group, using this form: The Peaceable End-of-Life Care project – Reference Group joining form

If you would like to discuss my Churchill Fellowship project or share your expertise or experience with me, please contact me here.