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Improving the quality of life for people living with a stoma: the interplay between food choices and sensor technology

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Chris Gill, Dr Kirsty Pourshahidi, Prof J Davis, Dr Liz Simpson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD will support a cross-disciplinary collaborative project, funded by the Medical Research Council, focused on improving quality of life of people living with a stoma. The UK expenditure on stoma pouches is approximately £350M p.a. with a third of this required for accessories to aid management and minimise the risk of leakage. Every stoma patient will experience a leak from their disposable pouch and for many, it can be almost impossible to predict when such events will occur. The possibility of leakage is recognised as a prime contributor to patient anxiety and when occurring in public, it can cause immense distress, especially in those who experience leaks frequently. The food choices of people living with leaking stoma pouches may also contribute to this issue. The composition of a person’s diet may directly effect peristomal skin irritation, exacerbating epidermal skin inflammation making it difficult for the stoma pouch to adhere and helping to sustain the problem. We have developed sensor technology to help combat this issue.

The project will validate an effective leak sensor, which coupled with a better understanding of the impact of food choices on stoma leakage, could help transform the confidence of those suffering from more frequent leakage and meaningfully improve their quality of life.

The main objectives of this PhD research will be met using a range of research methods, to:

a)systematically review the evidence on nutritional management and technological advances of stoma care;

b)utilise public and patient involvement to design the research;

c)obtain ethical approval for clinical trial(s)

d)recruit individuals living with a stoma and maintain a recruitment database;

e)conduct clinical trial(s) to test the novel leak sensor technology and analyse mixed-methods data, including food/nutrient intakes.

The PhD researcher appointed to the project will be given every opportunity to maximise on training by participating in relevant workshops, specialist skills sessions, relevant online courses, PhD researcher initiatives and personal development activities organised by the Doctoral College. In addition, the researcher will be expected and strongly encouraged to prepare and present their research findings when appropriate at national and international conferences.

Please note: Applications for more than one PhD studentship are welcome, however if you apply for more than one PhD project within Biomedical Sciences, your first application on the system will be deemed your first-choice preference and further applications will be ordered based on the sequential time of submission. If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be interviewed only on your first-choice application and ranked accordingly. Those ranked highest will be offered a PhD studentship. In the situation where you are ranked highly and your first-choice project is already allocated to someone who was ranked higher than you, you may be offered your 2nd or 3rd choice project depending on the availability of this project.


Recommended reading:
1) Down G, Vestergaard M, Ajslev TA, Boisen EB, Nielsen LF. Perception of leakage: data from the Ostomy Life Study 2019. Br J Nurs. 2021 Dec 9;30(22):S4-S12. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2021.30.22.
2) Krogsgaard M, Kristensen HØ, Furnée EJB, Verkuijl SJ, Rama NJ, Domingos H, Maciel J, Solis-Peña A, Espín-Basany E, Hidalgo-Pujol M, Biondo S, Sjövall A, Emmertsen KJ, Thyø A, Christensen P. Life with a stoma across five European countries-a cross-sectional study on long-term rectal cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer. 2022 Nov;30(11):8969-8979. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-07293-y.
3) Osborne W, White M, Aibibula M, Boisen EB, Ainsworth R, Vestergaard M. Prevalence of leakage and its negative impact on quality of life in people living with a stoma in the UK. Br J Nurs. 2022 Sep 8;31(16):S24-S38. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2022.31.16.S24.
4) Simpson EE, Pourshahidi LK, Davis J, Slevin M,,Lawther R, O’Connor G, Porrett T, Marley J, Gill CIR. Living with and without an intestinal stoma: factors that promote psychological well-being and self-care. Nursing Open (under review).
5) McLister A, Casimero C, McConville A, Taylor CM, Lawrence CL, Smith RB, Mathur A, Davis J. Design of a smart sensor mesh for the measurement of pH in ostomy applications. Journal of Materials Science, 2019, 54, 10410-10419
6) Hegarty C, McKillop S, McGlynn RJ, Smith RB, Mathur A, Davis J. Microneedle array sensors based on carbon nanoparticle composites: interfacial chemistry and electroanalytical properties, Journal of Materials Science, 2019, 54, 10705-10714
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