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Delivering person-centred care in the community: what works for managing Long Term Conditions?

Project Description

This is an innovative project within the important area of long-term conditions (LTC). Given the ever greater constraint on resources within primary and secondary care, self-management interventions offer a way of meeting the information, education and support needs of those managing LTCs, as well as supporting the development of knowledge, skills and confidence to facilitate full engagement and participation in activities of daily living, valued life activities, and work.

There is currently a complex landscape of LTC self-management strategies situated within primary and secondary care which vary greatly throughout the United Kingdom. Given the recent emphasis on health and social care integration, particularly in Scotland, there is an increasing drive to promote models outside of the traditional health care setting (e.g. those located or co-located within the community).

Although such a wide range of different, interventions exist that help support individuals to realise better physical and psychological health, there are limited good-quality formal published evaluations of these community-located models within the area of LTCs. This is driven in part by the lack of consensus between different stakeholders (e.g. providers, patients, and third sector), the heterogeneity in design and reporting of such interventions, as well as the lack of centralised policy guidance. There is also a great need to understand the ‘active ingredient’ within such interventions that would enable an ‘effective and successful’ tailored-intervention to be ‘prescribed’ for the individual within the community.

Research Aims:
- To understand current evidence around best practice and evidence-based models of person-centred care for LTC within primary care, secondary care, social care and the community (process, outcome, evaluation) [Study 1]
- To understand the nature and architecture of stakeholders’ existing knowledge and beliefs in relation to person-centred care for LTC. [Study 2]
- To evaluate the acceptability of identified elements (‘active ingredients’) of self-management interventions / programmes / systems. [Study 3]

Following an initial systematic review of the literature and mapping exercise of current practice (Study 1), the PhD student will conduct a series of interviews and/ or Delphi or questionnaire surveys with key stakeholders to understand the nature and architecture of stakeholders’ existing knowledge and beliefs in relation to person-centred care for LTCs (Study 2). Through Study 2, the student will focus on understanding knowledge and beliefs in relation to person-centred care for self-management of LTCs; management strategies used; support received, what needs remain unmet; and views on improving the current system. Through Study 3, the student will seek to understand the acceptability and feasibility of identified mechanisms and elements (‘active ingredients’) of self-management interventions / programmes / systems.

The successful applicant will join a small expert team within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences which has strong links with NHS Grampian and Third Sector organisations within Aberdeen. Dr Kathryn Martin is Lecturer in Epidemiology whose research focuses on lifestyle factors, particularly physical activity, for the prevention and management of arthritis/musculoskeletal disease. Dr Sara Jane MacLennan is a health psychologist with a long-standing interest in the health psychology of cancer.

The successful applicant will have an undergraduate degree (at least 2:1 or academic equivalent) in a related discipline of (e.g. psychology, sociology, social work, epidemiology). A Masters degree with qualitative and/or quantitative research methods would be desirable, and previous experience in the field of cancer, arthritis/musculoskeletal disease, or pain would be an advantage.

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCE. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Health Science, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


Candidates should contact the lead supervisor to discuss the project in advance of submitting an application, as supervisors will be expected to provide a letter of support for suitable applicants. Candidates will be informed after the application deadline if they have been shortlisted for interview.

Funding Notes

This project is part of a competition funded by the Institute of Applied Health Sciences. Full funding is available to UK/EU candidates only. Overseas candidates can apply for this studentship but will have to find additional funding to cover the difference between overseas and home fees (approximately £15,680 per annum).

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a First Class Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree may be considered provided they have a Distinction at Masters level.

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