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Nick leads a programme of work that aims to lead to a better understanding of the psychological impact of a cancer or palliative care diagnosis (for patients and their families), and to developing interventions to improve wellbeing and quality of life in these patient groups by reducing unmet needs and distress. Much of this work focuses on the application of third-wave psychological interventions within this setting. Click here for more details.


Current Projects

Transition after cancer: component mapping and intervention planning using contextual behavioural science. The period of end of treatment transition is psychologically stressful for cancer survivors; our previous research demonstrates that patients feel isolated and abandoned at this time, and risk of psychological disorders, for example anxiety and depression continues into survivorship. Current evidence for the effectiveness of psychological interventions is, however, poor. We are recruiting an international cohort of cancer survivors at the end of treatment who we will follow for a two-year period, to establish the kinds of psychological techniques that may help cancer survivors to return to a values-led and meaningful life after their treatment has finished. Project Lead: Nick Hulbert-Williams

Brief Engagement and Acceptance Coaching in Community and Hospice Settings (The BEACHeS Study): Finding out that cancer is no longer curable can be psychologically distressing for both patients and their family. The subsequent referral and transition into specialist palliative care services can be a time of uncertainty and fear. Some patients are reluctant to plan for their future and quality of life is often negatively affected. The BEACHeS study aimed to develop and pilot test a brief, manualised form of ACT to support people with cancer that can’t be cured as they transition into palliative care. For more information about the BEACHeS Study, click here. Project Lead: Nick Hulbert-Williams

Evaluating Process and Effectiveness of a Low-Intensity CBT intervention for women with gynaecological cancer (The EPELIT Trial): One of our newest pilot trials is the EPELIT study, a non-randomised controlled trial of a low-intensity cognitive behavioural therapy for women who are completing first-line treatment for gynaecological cancer. This is a group at high risk of psychological distress and poor survival and so working out to provide effective and affordable psychological support is paramount. For more information about EPELIT, click here. Project Lead: Nick Hulbert-Williams

Finding My Way UK: Online, web-based, psychological interventions are a cost-efficient way of supporting large numbers of people with their psychological problems. Finding My Way is a psycho-educational and cognitive-behavioural therapy based intervention developed for Australian cancer survivors. We are currently working on adapting this for the needs of people with an advance breast cancer diagnosis, and for use in the UK healthcare setting. To find out more about our Finding My Way UK project, click here. Project Lead: Nick Hulbert-Williams

Preferences for psychological and supportive care in haematological cancer: We know that people diagnosed with, and treated for, haematological cancers have particularly high levels of distress and unmet supportive care needs. But they also access psychological and supportive care services less frequently. This study aims to understand why this is, and how these patients would like their needs to be better met. Project Lead: Brooke Swash


Recent Grants

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L, Beatty L, Koczwara B, Ashley L, Coulson N, Hall P, Watson E & Millington S. Finding My Way UK: Adaptation and replication testing of the benefits of online psychological support for cancer survivors. North West Cancer Research: £294,646 (2020-2023).

Finucane A, Gillanders D, Spiller J, Swash B & Hulbert-Williams NJ. A psychological intervention to promote wellbeing in staff working in a palliative care setting: A development and feasibility study. Marie Curie UK: £9804 (2020-2021).

Beatty L, Koczwara B, Butow P, Girgis A, Schofield P, Turner MJ, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Coll J & Kaambwa B. Can a web-based psychological intervention for women with advanced breast cancer improve well-being and reduce health care use? Cancer Council South Australia: AUD$75,000 (2017-2020).

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Swash B, Gillanders D, Storey L, Patterson P, MacDonald F & Lambert S. Psychological transition after primary cancer treatment – component mapping and intervention planning using an Acceptance and Commitment Framework. University of Chester: £11,723 (2015-2020).

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Swash, B, Gillanders D, Spiller J, Finucane A, Strachen J, Millington S. Developing and pilot testing an evidence-based psychological intervention to enhance wellbeing and aid transition into palliative care. Macmillan Cancer Support Research Grants Scheme: £33,363 (2017-2018).

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L, Swash B, Evans G, Price A, Offord E & MacDonald-Smith C. Evaluating process and effectiveness of a low-intensity CBT intervention for women with gynaecological cancer. University of Chester: £17,555 (2017-2019).

Wells M, MacAulay F, Patterson J, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Dougall N, McGarva J, Niblock P, Slaven E & Boa S. Improving quality of life and swallowing function in patients with head and neck cancer: Development and feasibility of a Swallowing Intervention Package. Chief Scientist Office, Scotland: £200,204 (2014-2016).