The Project Team L-R - Suzanne Lester, Sandra Lawler, Jim Kilpatrick, Stephen McNair, Alison McConville

As well as supporting patients with various liver conditions the Liver Support Group also provides funding for research into liver related issues with the outcomes of said research projects ultimately helping those living with liver problems.

Just recently the Group has offered funding to Suzanne Lester, the advanced Physiotherapy  Practitioner at the RVH Liver Unit, and this is her update….


The PREPARE project began in October 2020 with an application to the Health and Social Care R&D Fellowship which was co-written by physiotherapist Suzanne Lester and 3 patients from the Northern Ireland liver transplant waiting list.  Approval was granted in February 2021, which enabled the PREPARE project to commence its 3-year journey.   The project team consists of 5 patients from the liver transplant community here in Northern Ireland, Suzanne Lester PhD Fellow and physiotherapist, Professor Judy Bradley, Dr. Bronwen Connolly and Dr. Johnny Cash.

The project aims to co-design and develop a remote prehabilitation (support) programme to help patients maintain their best health, body mass and muscle strength while on the transplant waiting list.

To achieve this the PREPARE project will deliver 4 studies.
1. Study 1 – a literature review which will consider the available literature to understand what the prehabilitation programme could include.
2. Study 2 – focus groups with patients, caregivers and clinicians.  These groups will provide an in-depth understanding of what patients’ caregivers and clinicians feel the remote prehabilitation programme should include in order to support and help patients through the transplant waiting period.
3. Study 3 – co-design workshops where Suzanne Lester the researcher together with patients, caregivers and clinicians will develop the prehabilitation programme.
4. Study 4 – delivery of the intervention to a selection of patients who are on the waiting list.

The Liver Support Group have been integral to the progress of this research to date by helping to recruit patients from both NI and the UK to the PREPARE study.  They have also very generously donated funds to provide an online programme to allow the intervention to be delivered remotely.  Their support has been invaluable and will be crucial in progressing the project to the next stage of the co-design workshops.