Developing and evaluating the impact of pre-meal activity on intake, and wellbeing in people with dementia in a care home setting

   Faculty of Health Studies

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  Dr Catherine Quinn, Dr Janet McNally  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Dementia can have a negative effect on people’s ability to eat and drink. This issue becomes more apparent as the dementia progresses and people with dementia have a decline in their functional abilities. This potentially leaves people with the condition at risk of weight loss and dehydration. People with dementia may also experience increased stress and anxiety at mealtimes, which will have an impact of their ability to eat/drink. However, it is possible that by offering appropriate stimulation before the meal this may encourage people with dementia to eat and drink. There is preliminary evidence from some pilot work undertaken at a care home that pre-meal activities can be beneficial for people with dementia. We want to know if taking part in a short pre-meal activity will encourage people with dementia to eat and drink more in a care home setting. We also want to know if taking part in such an activity will help people to eat more independently, experience less distress and to communicate and interact more during meals.

The main aims of the PhD project are to:

  1. Work with care home staff, people living with dementia and their supporters to co-produce suitable pre-meal activities.
  2. To identify barriers and facilitators to the use of pre-meal activities in people with dementia in care home settings.
  3. To evaluate the impact of engaging in pre-meal activities on eating, drinking, interaction and wellbeing in people living with dementia.

We have a pre-existing collaboration with a care home in the North-West of England where the PhD student can undertake the work. We would consider requests for this PhD project to be studied by Distance Learning if the student can identify suitable care homes within their local area.  

We are looking for applicants with a good Bachelors degree (2:1 or above) and/or a Masters degree in social or health sciences, who can demonstrate knowledge of mixed methods research, including the use of structured observations, statistical and qualitative analysis. Experience of working - in a paid or voluntary capacity - with people with dementia is desirable as would be experience of working within care home settings.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. UK students may be able to access the Doctoral Loan from Student Finance.

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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