The INSPIRE Study is funded jointly by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care and the Irish Cancer Society.  The ovearching aim of the study is to investigate a new model of social and practical support for people (and their family caregivers), who are living at home during their last year of life  – with a particular focus on Milford Care Centre’s Compassionate Communities Good Neighbour Partnership. For more information, contact

The study comprises three phases:

  • A Campbell registered systematic review of the effectiveness of volunteer led interventions (across the world) for people at home with palliative care needs;
  • The design, delivery and evaluation of a unique volunteer training programme;
  • An exploratory delayed intervention randomised controlled trial.

The study is being led by Dr. Kathleen McLoughlin (Link to ResearchGate profile) in collaboration with Professor Sinead McGilloway (Centre Director) and a team of academics and practice experts from Ireland, N. Ireland, UK, Australia, Spain and India. Ms. Christine O’Riordan is currently a part-time Research Assistant working on the project which is being conducted in partnership with Milford Care Centre, a leading provider of Specialist Palliative Care in Ireland.

Dr. Kathleen McLoughlin

Dr. Kathleen McLoughlin

Principal Investigator

Dr. Kathleen McLoughlin is an affiliate member of the Centre. She is Principal Investigator of the INSPIRE Study which is jointly funded by a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship award from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care and the Irish Cancer Society.

Dr. McLoughlin is a Research Psychologist with a special interest in Public Health and Palliative Care. She has held senior management posts in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in quality and risk and at Milford Care Centre in education and research. She is currently based in UCC in the Department of General Practice.

Dr. McLoughlin graduated with a PhD in Psychology from Maynooth University in 2012, funded by the Health Research Board and Irish Hospice Foundation. Her study ‘Identifying and changing attitudes toward palliative care: an exploratory study’ was supervised by Professor Sinead McGilloway, and led to the development of Ireland’s first and only demonstration model of health promoting palliative care (Milford Care Centre’s Compassionate Communities Project).

In 2014, Kathleen was awarded CMG Irish Healthcare Person of the Year for her contribution to palliative care and in 2015 won the European Association of Palliative Care Early Research Award.