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Frailty and its impact on older people’s views about ‘quality of life’ and ‘quantity of life’

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Edinburgh United Kingdom Data Analysis Health Psychology Other Social Work

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency. Our alumni will become leaders in across a diverse range of pioneering and influential roles in the public, private and third sectors.

Our goal is to determine the association between frailty and older people’s views about ‘quality of life’ and ‘quantity of life’. 

  • What is the relationship between older people’s perception of whether they are frail, and their e-frailty index? 
  • Which high technology interventions do older people desire-in their current state of health; and in different hypothetical clinical scenarios?
  • How does the desire for high technology interventions relate to current frailty?
  • Why do mismatches exist between frailty and desire for high technology interventions? 

Frailty is a state of vulnerability to poor resolution of homeostasis following a stress. It can be quantified using an e-frailty index.

Clinicians often use frailty as a criterion for making decisions about ‘ceilings of care’ and the use of high technology interventions or not, but little is known about older people’s views of their own frailty and how these views influence plans for future care.

This project seeks to understand the complex interrelationships between older people’s e-frailty index and their desire for ‘quality of life’ over ‘quantity of life; through a survey of older people and then in-depth interviews.

This project will align to work package 4 (Understanding the person in context), and will explore how older people view different models of care, high technology interventions (e.g. ventilation, intensive care) and how their own level of frailty might influence their views about their ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity’ of life.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry stipend for the full 4 year period.

The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:
View Website

Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:
View Website


ACRC Academy Video:

1. Gawande A. Being mortal. Illness, medicine and What Matters in the End. 2014. Wellcome Collection
2. Mead GE, O'Keeffe ST, Jack CIA, Maestri A, Playfer JR, Lye M What factors influence patient preferences regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation? J R Coll Physicians Lond 1995;29:295-298
3. Electronic frailty index (accessed 22.09.2020)
4. Age UK and British Geriatrics Society . Frailty, Language and Perceptions. June 2015
5. Frailty Hub. British Geriatrics Society website (accessed 22.09.2020)

Key words: frailty, high technology interventions, older people

Prof G Mead
Prof H Wilkinson
Dr A Anand

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