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Deadline: 11 March 2024
Location: Belfast
This project is part of a doctoral training programme (MED-AGE) which will fund four studentships supported by the Dunhill Medical Trust. The interdisciplinary research conducted under this programme will further understanding of the importance of medicines in the lives of older people. The successful candidate will be a member of the cohort of Dunhill students funded under this programme and will be exposed to outstanding training and development opportunities. Promoting a human rights approach to living in residential care, encourages older people to be involved in when and how medications and treatments are provided and in identifying and preventing abuse associated with medication misuse. Abuse in this context includes medication errors or over sedation. There is an increasing awareness that abuse in institutional settings for older people is high and underreported (Yon et al., 2019). The extent of the problem is such that in 2002, the World Health Organization identified the mistreatment of older people living in institutional settings in almost every country which adopted the practice of institutional care (Krug et al., 2002). Abuse in residential care settings includes medication misuse. A consistent message coming from the investigation into these situations is that statutory recommendations for reform, often shaped by advocates within families and professional groups, have not been effective. Similar scenarios of abuse have been repeated across multiple settings and different times. This PhD project will contribute to an important growing body of qualitative research which examines how older adults negotiate their use of prescription medications. This mixed methods exploratory study will use coproduction methods to explore patterns of medication misuse in residential care settings and elicit perceptions of older people, care home staff and family members of how medications may be managed in this setting. Phase 1: An initial desk top review of institutional absue investigation reports and sample of registration and inspection reports will be undertaken in order to identify levels and patterns of medication abuse in registered residential homes for older people in Northern Ireland. Additionally, a scoping review of the literature will be completed. In promoting co-production, a steering group made up of key stakeholders including older person advocates from the voluntary sector will be established to oversee the project. Phase 2: These findings will be used to formulate interview schedules to explore the experiences and perceptions of older people, their family members and residential care staff through a series of individual and focus group interviews. Where possible, participants will be recruited from three residential facilities for older people: a private residential unit: a private nursing unit and a statutory residential unit.
Deadline: 11 March 2024
Location: Belfast
This project is part of a doctoral training programme (MED-AGE) which will fund four studentships supported by the Dunhill Medical Trust. The interdisciplinary research conducted under this programme will further understanding of the importance of medicines in the lives of older people. The successful candidate will be a member of the cohort of Dunhill students funded under this programme and will be exposed to outstanding training and development opportunities. Medication usage does not occur in isolation. Conversely, older adults navigate a complex set of social networks and relationships with doctors, pharmacists, spouses and carers as well as friends and adult offspring in the practice of maintaining good health. As such, medication use has been described as a socially embedded phenomenon which, in most cases, happens in private, at home (Ross and Gillett, 2021). This PhD project will contribute to an important growing body of qualitative research which examines how older adults negotiate their use of prescription drugs (Hawkins, Nickman and Ross, 2017). The ethos of this PhD project emerges from Estes (1979) classic sociology of ageing which argued that older adults’ lives are shaped by the medical industrial complex - a system which prioritises pharmaceutical over social interventions. Nevertheless, medicines are in large part responsible for extended life expectancy. We need to gain a better understanding of medicine use as a daily aspect of the social structure of later life. So, the project has two key objectives. 1) To focus on the home as socially networked site of kinship and family dynamics which frames medication usage, and 2) To employ emancipatory research methods to investigate the potential for older adults to use medication in ways that optimise their health. The student who takes on this project will have a strong interest in working with older people in a manner which helps participants to articulate their own views. They will have knowledge of social science research methods and a willingness to work across disciplines. They will use qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews in a way which will empower and inform older people about their medication use. Part of this approach will involve finding out how the views of older people can be better communicated to doctors and pharmacists. There is a wealth of research demonstrating that patients who feel supported and empowered in their healthcare decision-making have better health outcomes. So, understanding and communicating older adult’s lived experience of taking medicine at home could be a significant step forward for doctors and their patients navigation of complex pharmaceutical regimes.