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Antimicrobial prescribing in hospice and palliative care


School of Pharmacy

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Dr C Parsons , Dr D Gilpin Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Terminally ill patients are at high risk of infections and antimicrobial exposure near the end of life. However, the evidence-base to guide prescribers in the use of antibiotics for the treatment of infections in patients receiving hospice and palliative care is currently lacking. Balancing treatment goals against the potential risks and benefits from antimicrobial therapy can be difficult and can make the decision-making process in initiating, withholding or withdrawing antimicrobials complex. Further, there have been some reports in the literature that antibiotic prescribing is not always appropriate; some studies have suggested that antimicrobials are commonly prescribed to dying patients in the absence of adequate clinical symptoms to support a diagnosis of bacterial infection.
This research project will examine prevalence of infection and antibiotic use in people receiving palliative care in community, hospice or hospital palliative care settings. The current practices, policies and rationale for, and appropriateness of, antibiotic therapy and the factors which influence prescribers’ decisions, will be examined. Research methods utilised will include quantitative methods of data collection such as questionnaires and review of medication records and prescribing data, and qualitative methods such as interviews and focus groups.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant
subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical
Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a
closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s
degree may also be considered, but the School reserves the right to shortlist for
interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment
to date
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