The concept of frailty: individual and professional perspectives
Funded PhD Project (UK and EU students only)
School of Health and Care Professions
23 February 2020
The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (UKRI 2019/20 rate) for three years. Bursary recipients will also receive up to £1,500 per year for research project costs, as well as office space and computing facilities.
The work on this project will involve:
- Reframing professional language to ensure that healthcare professionals keep the individual at the centre of care
- Researching across organisational boundaries in partnership with our key practice learning partners
- Exploring the impact of language use on individual and family autonomy and self-care
Frailty is a frequently used term in healthcare and health records, usually to describe older people who are currently in need of increased levels of care. This biomedical, deficit-led approach has the potential to have a detrimental effect on the individual labelled as 'frail', on the family around them and on those involved in their care.
Limited research has taken place with individuals living in the community setting in the UK, despite this being increasingly preferred by individuals and their families and being promoted by the National Health Service (NHS) as a choice and as a necessity if the NHS is to cope with the ageing and more complex population in the United Kingdom.
This project will explore the concept of 'frailty' from the perspective of community-dwelling individuals, their families and healthcare professionals working with them. We are particularly interested in exploring whether and how the label of 'frailty' has an impact on discussions with individuals and their families, such as those relating to advanced care planning and resuscitation. We would also like to investigate if the label 'frailty', once introduced, is ever removed and what it means to those involved.
We would anticipate that a qualitative approach will be adopted, using semi-structured interviews to explore these different elements and perspectives with participants. In addition, there is the potential to introduce a Delphi technique to understand the meaning of the term 'frailty' from a strategic and political perspective. It is possible that part of this project will involve an exploration of the use of tools such as the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment and how this informs management of those labelled as frail.
You'll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master's degree in Nursing or a related subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
You should have an understanding of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and an interest in maintaining independence and self-care in an ageing population.
How to apply
When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our 'How to Apply' page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.
If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SHCP4761020 when applying.