Geraldine Foley
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

Biography

I hold a PhD, MSc.OT and a BSc.OT from Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. Since 2014, I have been an Assistant Professor in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, TCD. I was awarded a prestigious Health Research Board (HRB) Research Fellowship for Healthcare Professionals in 2011 and I have been a HRB Research Fellow at the School of Social Work & Social Policy, TCD (2011-2014). I worked as a clinical specialist occupational therapist (2006-2011) and senior occupational therapist (2001-2006) in neurology at Beaumont Hospital Dublin. Prior to the above, I worked as an occupational therapist in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin (1997-2000). My primary research interests lie in: the experience of chronic and terminal illness; healthcare experiences of people with neurological and palliative conditions (with a strong focus on experiences of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / motor neurone disease); end-of-life care; neuropalliative care; and neurorehabilitation. My expertise is in qualitative research methods, in particular, the Grounded Theory (GT) method. I collaborate with qualitative methodologists in the social sciences on the application of qualitative research methods. I have published in reputable ISI-ranked international journals. I have also published chapters in books by academic publishers. Some of the leading journals that I have published in include Social Science & Medicine, Health Services Research, Palliative Medicine, Qualitative Health Research, and ALS & Frontotemporal Degeneration. I have presented my work in multiple forums (national and international) including for instance, ALS/MND International Symposia, the Kaleidoscope International Palliative Care Conference, and the World Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care. I work in inter-disciplinary contexts and I have collaborated on a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) research programme. I am an internationally recognised academic (Google Scholar: h-index 8, i10index 7, 233 citations). I peer review for reputable ISI-ranked journals in my fields of interest. I have been an expert reviewer for Cancer Research UK, the National Medical Research Council Singapore, and for the Italian Foundation for ALS Research. I teach on and have designed a number of modules in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine. I supervise students at undergraduate and postgraduate level (Masters and PhD). I have also acted as an external examiner for PhD research. I have been a guest lecturer on a MSc/Post-graduate Diploma in Neurology and Gerontology at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) and on the MSc. Occupational Therapy (Professional Qualification) programme at the Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick. I am a member of the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC), Dementia and Neurodegeneration Ireland (DNDI), and the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI).

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Foley G, Hynes G, Decision-making among patients and their family in ALS care: A review, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 2017 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text DOI

Hogden A, Foley G, Henderson RD, James N, Aoun SM., Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: improving care with a multidisciplinary approach, Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 10, 2017, p205 - 215 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G., Burdened by obligation: Recognising the caring roles of people with motor neurone disease, Palliative Medicine, 30, (10), 2016, p981 - 982 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., "I hate being a burden": The patient perspective on carer burden in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 17, (5-6), 2016, p351 - 357 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text DOI

Between control and surrender in terminal illness in, editor(s)Gubrium, J.F., Alm Andreassen, T., and Solvang, P.K. , Reimagining the Human Service Relationship, New York, Columbia University Press, 2016, pp123 - 139, [Foley, G. and Timonen, V.] Book Chapter, 2016 URL DOI

Foley G., Control and surrender in human services interaction: The relational contexts of living with motor neurone disease , BSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference, Birmingham, UK, Sept 07-09, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

Foley G., Cognitive and behavioural impairment in ALS: What now for the ALS patient perspective?, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 16, (5-6), 2015, p423 - 424 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V., Using grounded theory method to capture and analyze health care experiences, Health Services Research, 50, (4), 2015, p1195 - 1210 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., The impact of family on decision-making in ALS care: The patient perspective, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 26th International Symposium on ALS/MND, Orlando, Dec 11-13 2015, 16, (Suppl. 1), 2015, s12 Conference Paper, 2015 DOI

Foley G., Loss and wellbeing in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Challenging the consensus, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 15, (3-4), 2014, p161 - 162 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Exerting control and adapting to loss in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , Social Science & Medicine, 101, 2014, p113 - 119 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Acceptance and decision making in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from a life-course perspective, Qualitative Health Research, 24, (1), 2014, p67 - 77 Journal Article, 2014 DOI TARA - Full Text

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Understanding psycho-social processes underpinning engagement with services in motor neurone disease: A qualitative study, Palliative Medicine, 28, (4), 2014, p318 - 325 Journal Article, 2014 DOI TARA - Full Text

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Understanding psycho-social processes that underpin how people with ALS make decisions about care, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 25th International Symposium on ALS/MND, Brussels, Dec 05-07 2014, 15, (Suppl. 1), 2014, s122-123 Poster, 2014 DOI

Foley G., Understanding healthcare experiences among people with motor neurone disease, 13th Annual Kaleidoscope International Palliative Care Conference, Dublin, May 28-29, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Why and how do people with motor neurone disease (MND) engage with allied healthcare professionals? Findings from a qualitative study on the service user experience of healthcare services, Physical Therapy Reviews, Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Society 9th Annual Conference, Belfast, June 21 2013, 19, (1), 2014, p47 Conference Paper, 2014 DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., How and why people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis engage with healthcare services: A qualitative study of service users' experiences in Ireland, Palliative Medicine, 8th World Research Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care, Lleida, 5-7 June 2014, 28, (6), 2014, p619 Poster, 2014 DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., The meaning of loss for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Impact on decision-making in care, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, 24th International Symposium on ALS/MND, Milan, Dec 06-08 2013, 14, (Suppl. 2), 2013, s72 Poster, 2013 DOI

Foley G., Understanding how people with MND engage with healthcare services, A Guide to Management of MND - National Multidisciplinary Education Day, Beaumont Hospital Dublin, Nov 22, 2013 Invited Talk, 2013

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Life stage and perceptions of ageing in motor neurone disease, Irish Journal of Medical Sciences, 61st Annual and Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society, Dublin, Sept 20-Sept 21 2013, 182, (Suppl. 6), 2013, s291 Poster, 2013 DOI

Galvin M, Courtney E, Foley G, Staines A, Normand C, Timonen V, Perry I, McQuillan R, Tobin K, Connolly S, Hardiman O., Developing a care pathway for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Methods and principles, European Care Pathways Conference, Glasgow, June 20-21, 2013 Poster, 2013

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Acceptance and making decisions about care in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: The influence of parenthood and age, European Journal of Palliative Care, 13th World Congress of the EAPC, Prague, May 30-June 02 2013, Abstracts, Hayward Medical Communications, 2013, p119 Poster, 2013

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Experience of services as a key outcome in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) care. The case for a better understanding of patient experiences, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 29, (5), 2012, p362 - 367 Journal Article, 2012 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., Patients' perceptions of services and preferences for care in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A review, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 13, (1), 2012, p11 - 24 Journal Article, 2012 DOI TARA - Full Text

Foley G, Timonen V, Hardiman O., A systematic review of ALS patients' perceptions of services and decision making in care, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 22nd International Symposium on ALS/MND, Sydney, Nov 30-Dec 02 2011, 12, (Suppl. 1), 2011, s13 Conference Paper, 2011 DOI

Foley G., The complexity of care in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 12, (3), 2011, p160 - 161 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text DOI

Foley G, The importance of multidisciplinary care in the management of neurological conditions. In "The Future for Neurological Conditions in Ireland. A Challenge for Healthcare; an Opportunity for Change", Dublin, Neurological Alliance of Ireland, 2010, p74 - 75 Report, 2010 URL

Foley G, Murray D, Moloney R., Occupational therapy and physiotherapy at an Irish ALS clinic: An audit to review care links with community services, The Allied Professionals Forum of the 20th International Symposium on ALS / MND, Berlin, Dec 07, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Foley G., Occupational therapy in progressive neurology: A rehabilitative approach, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71, (7), 2008, p308 - 310 Journal Article, 2008 DOI

Foley G., The effect of coping strategies on QoL for people with motor neurone disease, Long Term Neurological Conditions - Implications for Occupational Therapy (College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section Neurological Practice), Newcastle, UK, Oct 02-03, 2008 Conference Paper, 2008

Foley G, O'Mahony P, Hardiman O., Perceptions of quality of life in people with ALS: effects of coping and health care, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, 8, (3), 2007, p164 - 169 Journal Article, 2007 DOI

Foley G., What are the care needs for people with motor neurone disease and how can occupational therapists respond to meet these needs?, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, (1), 2007, p32 - 34 Journal Article, 2007 DOI

Occupational therapy and post polio syndrome in, editor(s)Post Polio Support Group , Post polio syndrome. Management and treatment in primary care, Dublin, Post Polio Support Group, 2007, pp9 - 17, [Foley, G. and Nolan, R.] Book Chapter, 2007 URL

Foley G., Neurorehabilitation for people with progressive neurological disorders: What are the challenges for occupational therapy services?, MS Ireland and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland Healthcare Professional Conference - Rehabilitation and Progressive Neurological Disorders, Sligo, Sept, 2007 Invited Talk, 2007

Foley G, O'Mahony P, Hardiman O., Perceptions of quality of life for persons with motor neurone disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a qualitative study, Physical Therapy Reviews, Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Society 2nd Annual Conference, Dublin, May 26 2006, 11, (3), 2006, p209 Conference Paper, 2006 DOI

Foley G., The meaning of quality of life for patients with MND/ALS: A qualitative investigation, Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland Annual Conference, Dublin, May 17-19, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

Foley G, O'Mahony P, Hardiman O., Quality of life for people with motor neurone disease: A qualitative study, The Allied Professionals Forum of the 16th International Symposium on ALS / MND, Dublin, Dec 07, 2005 Conference Paper, 2005

Foley G., Measuring quality of life (QoL) for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / motor neurone disease: Implications for occupational therapy practice, Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland Annual Conference, Letterkenny, March 02-04, 2005 Conference Paper, 2005

Foley G., Quality of life for persons with motor neurone disease. A consideration for occupational therapists, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, (12), 2004, p551 - 553 Journal Article, 2004 DOI

Foley G, Neely F., Cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A consideration for occupational performance, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, (9), 2003, p414 - 418 Journal Article, 2003 DOI

Cahalane E, Kidney D, Foley G, Long J, McLoughlin M, Reid I, McArdle D, Zhou L, Barrett A, Hardiman O., Profile of patients attending the neurorehabilitation unit in a tertiary referral centre, European Journal of Neurology, 7th EFNS Congress, Helsinki, Aug 30-Sept 02 2003, 10, (Suppl. 1), 2003, s38 Conference Paper, 2003 DOI

Cahalane E, Kidney D, Foley G, Long J, McLoughlin M, McArdle D, Reid I, Barrett A, Zhou L, Hardiman O., Utilisation of rehabilitation services by MS patients attending a tertiary referral hospital, European Journal of Neurology, 7th EFNS Congress, Helsinki, Aug 30-Sept 02 2003, 10, (Suppl. 1), 2003, s100-101 Poster, 2003 DOI

Foley G., Cognitive dysfunction in motor neurone disease, Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland Annual Conference, Killarney, March 26-29, 2003 Conference Paper, 2003

Foley G, McDermott M., Cognition in multiple sclerosis. A literature review, Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 31, (1&2), 2001, p47 - 52 Journal Article, 2001

Foley G., Client-centred practice for assistive technology users, Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 30, (1), 2000, p2 - 7 Journal Article, 2000

Foley G, A review of a workshop on standardised assessments used by occupational therapists in physical settings, Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 28, (2), 1998, p26 - 29 Journal Article, 1998

Research Expertise

Description

My research has, to date, been focused primarily in the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) / motor neurone disease (MND) field. My early work/publications investigated and reported on ALS patients' quality of life (Qol) and on their experiences of and preferences for care. Since 2011, my research has developed significantly and has become more widely read and impactful. I was successful in obtaining a highly prestigious HRB (Health Research Board) Research Fellowship for Healthcare Professionals 2011-2014 (€204,583.41) to investigate ALS patients' understanding and use of healthcare services. My HRB-funded research was the first to identify in substantive terms, key psycho-social processes that underpin how people with ALS engage with health and social care services. My current work is focused on how ALS patients and their family interrelate in the decision-making processes pertaining to care. I am an internationally recognised academic in my field (Google Scholar: h-index 8, i10index 7, 233 citations). I am an active member of Trinity College's Inclusive Society Research group. I am focused on using qualitative methods to explore processes and interactions in healthcare (with a strong orientation towards palliative and neuro-rehabilitative care) at both the micro and macro level. My expertise is in qualitative methods and I have acquired extensive qualitative research expertise at international-based research centres (for example, the Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford and the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta, Canada). I specialise in the Grounded Theory method and I have published on the application of the Grounded Theory method. I collaborate with qualitative methodologists in the social sciences on the application of qualitative methods. I have presented my work at multiple national and international forums including for example, International ALS/MND Symposia, the British Sociological Association (BSA) Medical Sociology Conference, and the World Research Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care. I have published my work in highly reputable ISI-ranked international journals including for instance, Social Science & Medicine, Health Services Research, Palliative Medicine, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration (ALS & FTD), and Qualitative Health Research. I peer review on a regular basis for ALS & FTD. I have also acted as reviewer for Health Services Research, Qualitative Health Research, Journal of Palliative Care, BMC Palliative Care, BMC Neurology, and other important journals. My capacity to engage with international authorities is illustrated by invitations to contribute to scholarly publication (e.g. Columbia University Press). To illustrate my capacity for interdisciplinary research activity, I have collaborated on a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) research programme. The purpose of my collaboration was to assist in developing an ALS care pathway, derived in part from the ALS patient experience. I have established collaborative relations with international-based researchers in the ALS and palliative care fields.

Projects

  • Title
    • Living and dying with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A population-based analysis of palliative needs, services and outcomes in non-malignant terminal illness
  • Summary
    • The project will examine the palliative needs, services and outcomes for those living with motor neurone disease (MND) in Ireland. International best practice recommends early palliative care intervention from time of diagnosis of MND. However, in Ireland access to palliative care is limited and the clinical indications for specialist palliative intervention are not clearly defined. The aim of this project is to identify the deficits in current palliative management of people with MND by comparing existing practice with best practice guidelines, and to develop a structured framework based on a multidisciplinary approach towards the palliative management of people with MND. Prospective longitudinal clinical, health service, quality of life and burden of illness data relating to the patient journey of 100 patients in Ireland with MND and their caregivers will be available for analysis. Access to and utilisation of palliative care services will be assessed and comparison between current management and best practice will be evaluated. A multifaceted care framework will be developed and piloted with health care professional and users. Service providers' perspective will be captured and the perceived utility of the service evaluated from a patient and carer perspective. On completion the project will provide a road map for palliative services intervention for MND, and will assist in the future development of palliative services in Ireland. Lead-PI Prof. O Hardiman, Co-PIs: Prof. C Normand, Prof. I Perry, Prof. A Staines, Prof. V Timonen, Dr. R McQuillan
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Research Board, Ireland
  • Date From
    • 2013
  • Date To
    • 2016
  • Title
    • Understanding and Use of Healthcare Services by People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Motor Neurone Disease
  • Summary
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as motor neurone disease (MND) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system. Care needs are both complex and challenging and services provided should be user-orientated to meet care needs. However, research has shown that there may be a discrepancy between service users' and providers' understanding of services which can directly influence how service users make decisions about and experience care. There is a dearth of evidence on how those with ALS understand their services and engage with care. Equally, there is a dearth of research on how those with ALS make decisions about care. Hence, the aims of this study are to identify how ALS service users understand, decide on, use and experience health care services. A grounded theory approach will be used in order to explore participants' experiences of care. Theoretical sampling of ALS patients will be undertaken whereby participants are selected on the basis of emerging themes within the data. Data collection will consist of qualitative interviews with ALS service users. Data from interviews will be analysed using open, axial and selective coding to develop an understanding and explanation of participants' experiences of health care services. The research findings will be organised into core categories or themes; analysis of the relationship between categories will enable the formulation of a substantive theory about how ALS service users understand and use services. Conclusions will consist of recommendations about how best to provide services for people with ALS/MND in the context of service user experience and decision making.
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Research Board, Ireland. Grant amount: €204,583.41
  • Date From
    • September 2011
  • Date To
    • August 2014
  • Title
    • Perceptions of quality of life for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Summary
    • Few studies have explored the 'meaning' of life experiences for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This study aimed to identify the meaning of QoL for people with ALS, and to consider how their experience of health care affected perceived wellbeing, using qualitative methods. People with ALS were purposively sampled from the Irish ALS population-based register and interviewed on two occasions. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using inductive content analysis. Themes that emerged included: importance of faith, search for control, importance of dignity, desire to maintain identity, importance of family, a sense of loss, importance of altruism and support, fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and appreciation of life. All participants felt that professional services contributed to their well-being. QoL was individual and multi-dimensional, and was shaped by the cognitive and behavioural strategies participants used to cope with ALS. The findings of this study further our understanding of how people with ALS adapt to terminal illness.
  • Funding Agency
    • Beaumont Hospital Dublin
  • Date From
    • September 2003
  • Date To
    • August 2005

Keywords

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Motor Neurone Disease; Biographical disruption; Chronic Illness; End-of-life care; Grounded Theory; Life course perspective; Neurodegenerative Diseases/Disorders; Neurological disorders; Neuromuscular Disorders; Neuropalliative care; Neurorehabilitation; Occupational Therapy - Neurological Disorders; PALLIATIVE CARE; Patient experience; Patient preference; Qualitative research methods; Quality of life (QoL); Terminal illness

Recognition

Representations

Member of the Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee, TCD 2017 -

Expert reviewer for National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Ministry of Health, Singapore 2016

Expert reviewer for Cancer Research UK (Marie Curie Cancer Care) 2015

Member of the International Scientific Committee of the Italian Foundation for ALS Research (AriSLA) Ice Bucket Call Challenge for Assistive Technology Projects (2015) and member of the expert consensus group for the research call. 2015

Reviewer for the following journals: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Frontotemporal Degeneration, Qualitative Health Research, Palliative Medicine, Health Services Research, Health & Social Care in the Community, Journal of Palliative Care, BMC Palliative Care, Disability & Rehabilitation, American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, BMC Neurology, BMC Health Services Research, BMJ Open, Plos One, BMC Women's Health, Patient Preference & Adherance, International Journal of Palliative Nursing

Committee member of the Rehabilitation & Therapy Research Society (RTRS) 2007-2013

Treasurer, Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Society (RTRS) 2009-2013

Member of the Occupational Therapy Clinical Specialist Competencies Working Group. Therapy Project Office, Health Service Executive 2008

Member of the National Neuroscience Steering Group (Health Service Executive, Ireland) - Strategic Review of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology Services in Ireland (2006-2007) 2006-2007

Board member Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) 2006

Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) Validation Committee 2003-2004

Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) Council - Tasked with advising on the executive and strategic functions of AOTI. 1998-2000

Awards and Honours

Trinity College Dublin Institutional Strategic Support (ISSF) funding 2017

HRB Research Fellowship for Healthcare Professionals 2011. Grant amount: €204,583.41 2011-2014

Irish Gerontological Society (IGS) Presidents medal for best poster presentation at IGS Conference 2013 2013

Member of the MS multidisciplinary team at Beaumont Hospital Dublin awarded the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society UK Measuring Success Winner Award 2001. Category - Outstanding initiative outside the UK 2001

Memberships

European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) 2017 - – Present

Dementia and Neurodegeneration Ireland (DNDI) 2015 - – Present

Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) 1997 - – Present

Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Society, Ireland (RTRS) 2006 - – Present

College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Neurological Practice, UK 2002 – 2009