Coma and Disorders of Consciousness research centreWe are a multi-disciplinary group of researchers exploring the cultural, ethical, legal and social dimensions of coma, vegetative and minimally conscious states. We also offer support and signposting for families with relatives with prolonged disorders of consciousness, and training for health workers, advocates, and others working in this area. We are independent of any campaigning or political organisations and committed to robust research evidence both in the work that we do and in making recommendations for changes to policy and practice. We have an extensive research archive of interviews with family members and do research into how decision-making, care and support can be improved. We’ve also translated the research findings into multi-media online resources to support families and practitioners and worked with legal experts to seek to improve, how the law and the courts deal with end-of-life decision-making. We are currently running an online course for healthcare professionals interested in developing and refining their skills in caring for PDoC patients and supporting their families. This is being led by the deputy director of the Centre: Dr Julie Latchem-Hastings. You can learn more about Julie and her work here.
You can also see a short ESRC film about some of the impact of our work in this short film:
The network of staff involved in the centre are interested in a wide range of questions including: how developments in ‘brain science’ influence understandings of (un)consciousness; how ‘personhood’ is perceived in relation to the vegetative state, how the ‘minimally conscious’ diagnosis is constructed, deployed and contested; and how such states are represented in literature, the media, law and everyday practice.
Learn about the background and context to our work from the discussion below.