Latest News

Funding awarded from Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA)

We are delighted to announce that our team, together with our collaborators Dr John Ealing (MND Care Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust), Professor Carolyn Young (Walton Centre for Neurology & Neurosurgery NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool) Dr Chris McDermott (Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience) and Professor Chris Gibbons (University of Cambridge), have recently been awarded funding from Marie Curie and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) which will reshape the process of the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) intervention for family carers of people with MND.

We know that family carers provide vital support for people with MND, but caregiving can be very physically and mentally demanding. It is therefore crucial to ensure practitioners/clinicians can give support to carers that is timely and fits their individual needs.

The aim of this project is to adapt the CSNAT intervention to fit the demands of MND caregiving, changes over time and practitioners involved, and reshape it to give carers themselves control over its use to ensure more joined-up assessment and support over time. In current practice carer assessment and support is typically informal, selective and driven by practitioners’ assumptions about carers’ needs. By facilitating more timely, targeted support, identified by carers themselves, the intervention will also benefit patients by better equipping carers to care.

For further information please contact us


Study Title: Enabling tailored and coordinated support for family carers of people with MND through adaptation of a Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) intervention

Project Team: Principal Investigators: Professor Gunn Grande1, Dr Gail Ewing2

Co-investigators: Professor Chris Gibbons2, Dr Janet Diffin3, Dr Christine Rowland1, Dr John Ealing 1, 4, Professor Carolyn Young5, Dr Chris McDermott6

  1. The University of Manchester
  2. University of Cambridge
  3. Queen’s University Belfast
  4. MND Care Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  5. Walton Centre for Neurology & Neurosurgery NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool
  6. Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience


CSNAT team presentations at Hospice UK’s 2016 Annual Conference

We were thrilled to have two abstracts accepted for oral presentation at this year’s Hospice UK annual conference.

Dr Janet Diffin presented qualitative findings from a national study looking at those factors which helped or hindered the implementation of The CSNAT Approach in practice. This presentation focused on the use of ‘CSNAT champions’.

To view a copy of the presentation please select this link

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Dr Gail Ewing then presented findings from a study which investigated how carers are supported during discharge from acute care towards the end of life and whether The CSNAT Approach could be used to improve carer support at this time.

To view a copy of the presentation please select this link

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CSNAT team response to the Department of Health’s Carer Strategy: Call for Evidence

The Department of Health is currently in the process of developing a new carer strategy to set out how best to support them and recently launched a call for evidence.

Our submission on 29th July 2016 in response to this call is based on our robust programme of research which has involved responses from over 1000 carers across a range of studies and work with over 500 practitioners on implementation of carer assessment and support throughout the UK. In the submission we provide (1) an executive summary of key aspects of improving support for carers in relation to four of the consultation areas; (2) an outline of our research programme which informs our submission; (3) detailed feedback on each of the identified key aspects of improving support for carers; and (4) our recommendation for a separate focus on support for carers in palliative and end of life care.

To view our submission please click here


CSNAT team has exciting new collaboration with Danish investigators

Prof Gunn Grande and Dr Gail Ewing are collaborators on a project to test the CSNAT intervention with palliative care providers in Denmark. The planned stepped wedge cluster trial will be conducted by the Research Unit, Department of Palliative Medicine, Bispebjerg / Frederiksberg Hospital, University of Copenhagen.

They visited the research team on 19th-20th June 2016 to discuss the project. They also had a chance to meet some of the practitioners who will be involved in the trial to find out how they currently work with carers. There seemed to be a lot more similarities than differences between the two countries and many of the issues that came up would be very familiar to UK practitioners as well.

danish collaboration

The picture shows some of the research team (from left to right):

Mogens Groenvold (Principal Investigator)

Lone Ross Nylandsted (Collaborator)

Morten Aagaard Petersen (Collaborator)

Line Lund (Project Coordinator)


Presentation at the 9th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), 9th-11th June 2016, Dublin

Dr Janet Diffin recently presented findings from our national study looking at the implementation of the CSNAT intervention across 36 UK palliative/end-of-life care services. This study was entitled ‘The influence of orgnaisational context on staff attitudes to to the implementation of a carer support needs intervention.’ The findings are of great importance to understanding how the use of the CSNAT intervention works within everyday practice and highlights the need to consider the organisational context prior to getting started with implementation.

All abstracts from the EAPC conference can be found here. (See page 25-25 abstract number FC25).


New project: Developing and testing a CSNAT on-line training package

Our latest project will develop and test the feasibility of delivering our current training and support package in an on-line format. For further information click here.


Poster Presentations: 11th Palliative Care Congress conference, Glasgow 9th-11th March 2016

Dr Janet Diffin presented a poster on behalf of the CSNAT team entitled ‘The influence of organisational context on staff attitudes to the implementation of the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) intervention in end of life care’. To view the poster please click here.

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Lynne Carmichael also presented a poster on behalf of the Ayrshire Hospice entitled ‘More than a doorstep conversation: the implementation of the CSNAT approach in the Ayrshire Hospice’. To view the poster please click here.


CSNAT a recommended tool in Australia

The CSNAT has been listed as a recommended tool within Essential Component 5 of the ‘Palliative and End of Life Care: A blueprint for improvement’ resource in Australia:  “Care is based on the assessed needs of the patient, carers and family”. Click here to view the website.


Supporting Family Carers in Palliative Care: Rhetoric or Reality?

We hosted a one day conference on the 2nd March 2016 which was dedicated to the exploration of a person-centred approach to supporting family carers within palliative’ end-of-life care. For further details please click here.


CSNAT translations

The Swedish translation of the CSNAT is now almost complete. We have also had requests for permission to translate the CSNAT into the following languages: Norwegian, French, Mandarin, Cantonese & Ukrainian. If you are interested in translating the CSNAT into another language please contact us.


CSNAT ‘Down Under’ 

Dr Gail Ewing travelled to Australia in December 2015 and attended the meeting of the North and West Metropolitan Palliative Care Consortium in Melbourne. The CSNAT is now being implemented in a large number of services across the region.

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Presentation at Hospice UK Annual Conference 2015

Professor Gunn Grande presented at the Hospice UK Annual Conference on Thursday 12th November 2015. The presentation was entitled ‘Family Carers: what do we know, what do we need to know’. Click here to download the presentation