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Improving quality of life through addressing communication needs for people in residential care living with dementia


Project Description

The majority of the 420,000 UK care home residents are affected by both dementia and hearing impairment. Many cases of hearing impairment in care home settings are undiagnosed and/or unsupported.

Untreated hearing impairment among those with dementia is particularly problematic because it accelerates the rate of cognitive decline in people affected by dementia, exacerbates dementia-related symptoms and adds to burden on carers. Managing hearing impairment in the care home setting is challenging but crucial.

Hearing aids are the primary intervention for hearing loss but hearing aids are often underused in care homes. In this project we will assess Personal Sound Amplifiers as a low cost, accessible therapeutic intervention to support care home residents with hearing impairment and dementia. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as Patient and Participant Involvement (PPI), the researcher will work with care home residents, relatives and care home staff to assess the impact of PSAPs in alleviating the symptomatic burden of dementia through improved quality of life, hearing, communication and social engagement in hearing-impaired care home residents with dementia.

We will develop an evidence-based intervention program for i) identification of hearing problems based on a gold-standard review of hearing screening for care home residents with dementia and ii) delivery of PSAP-based hearing support for residential care homes, including input from residents, relatives and care home staff. This project will inform services that fully meet the communication needs of hearing-impaired care home residents with dementia.

Entry Requirements
Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in psychology, audiology or other relevant subject area. A Masters degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in care homes, dementia health care or audiology is desirable.

If you are interested please make direct contact with the Supervisor to discuss the project. You MUST also submit an online application form - choose PhD Audiology. Applications will close when a suitable candidate is found so please apply as soon as possible.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the Alzheimer's Society. Studentship funding is for a duration of 3 years to commence in September 2019 and covers UK/EU tuition fees with a RCUK stipend (£15,009 for 19/20) .

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

References

Action on Hearing Loss (2012). A World of Silence: The case for tackling hearing loss in care homes. https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/~/media/Documents/Policy%20research%20and%20influencing/Research/A%20World%20of%20Silence/A0408%20Care%20Home%20report_final.ashx
(last accessed 29th August 2017)

Cohen-Mansfield, J, Taylor, JW. (2004). Hearing aid use in nursing homes. Part 1: Prevalence rates of hearing aid impairment and hearing aid use. J Am Med Dir Assoc 5: 283-288.

Haque, R, Abdelrehman, N, Alavi, Z. (2012). “There’s a monster under my bed”: Hearing aids and dementia in long-term care settings. Annals of Long-term Care 20: 28.

Mamo, SR, Nirmalasari, O., Nieman, CL, McNabney, MK, Simpson, A., Oh, ES, Lin, FR. (2017). Hearing care intervention for persons with dementia: A pilot study. Am J Geriat Psych 25:91-101.

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