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Developing a dehydration risk assessment tool for older people in acute and social care settings (BunnDU18SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Bunn
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Background and Aims: Low-intake dehydration, due to drinking insufficiently to replace obligatory fluid losses, is prevalent amongst older people. Whereas there is evidence to suggest that dehydration is associated with increased risk of hospital admission and mortality, evidence confirming associations with other comorbidities is less robust. Identifying dehydration as a risk factor, cause or a consequence of comorbidities has important implications for healthcare. Key questions include:

(i) what is the evidence for dehydration as a cause, risk factor or consequence of other comorbidities;
(ii) what implications does this have on healthcare;
(iii) is a valid dehydration risk assessment tool for use in care homes and/or acute hospital settings needed, and what would an effective and user-friendly tool look like;
(iv) how can we develop an effective and user-friendly dehydration risk assessment tool.

PhD objectives:

These will be developed in consultation with the candidate and will address one or more of the questions described above. Research will be predominately quantitative with qualitative components. A systematic review will comprise the initial piece of work, and some of the candidate’s program may involve analysis of secondary data sources.

Supervision and training:

The candidate will join an established research team in the School of Health Sciences where their PhD project will contribute to, and benefit from, other related research projects in long-term care, including hydration care specifically. The supervisory team will be multidisciplinary. A tailored training program in research and professional skills is available.

This project is suitable for candidates with experience/interest in care of older people. A degree in public health, nursing, allied health, or other health-related discipline is essential.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

The type of programme: PHD

Project Start Date: 2018/19

Full-time or Part-time

Entry Requirements: This project is suitable for someone with a good first degree (at least 2:1) in a related topic area, such as Nursing, allied health, other health-related discipline.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at


(i) Bunn, D., Abdelhamid, A., Copley, M., et al. (2016). Effectiveness of interventions to indirectly support food and drink intake in people with dementia: systematic review. BMC Geriatr, 16(89).
(ii) Bunn, D., Jimoh, F., Howard Wilsher, S., & Hooper, L. (2015). Increasing fluid intake and reducing dehydration risk in older people living in long-term care: a systematic review. J Am Med Dir Assoc, 16(2), 101–113.
(iii) Hooper, L., & Bunn, D. (2015). Detecting dehydration in older people: useful tests. Nurs Times, 111(32/33), 12–16.
(iv) Hooper, L., Bunn, D. K., Abdelhamid, A., et al. (2016). Water-loss (intracellular) dehydration assessed using urinary tests : how well do they work? Diagnostic accuracy in older people. Am J Clin Nutr, 104, 121–131.
(v) Hooper, L., Bunn, D. K., Downing, A., et al. (2016). Which frail older people are dehydrated? The UK DRIE study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 71(10), 1341–7.

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