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Investigating Older Adults’ Experiences with Multimorbidity and How Digital Health Strategies Can Shape, Enable or Hinder Better Trajectories of Care [Self-Funded Students Only]


   Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

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  Dr N Verdezoto Dias, Dr Katarzyna Stawarz, Dr Carolina Fuentes Toro, Dr J Hewitt  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project Highlights:

•       Understand the socio-cultural, environmental and infrastructural challenges that influence multimorbidity and older adults’ lived experiences negotiating and navigating care

•       Co-design digital strategies with multiple stakeholders (families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, etc.) to explore, create and evaluate innovative socio-technical prototypes to address uncovered challenges

•       Explore existing theoretical frameworks for integrating psychosocial care into healthcare services and how these can be enhanced through digital-mediated practices

Multimorbidity is a global health concern affecting more than a fifth of the world’s population, in particular older adults, women and people living in poor socioeconomic circumstances. It is often defined as the presence of two or more long-term chronic conditions that impact the individual’s quality of life by increasing the chances of disability, the risk of mental health disorders, and the complexity of care management.

Hence, people with multimorbidity are often frequent users of healthcare services, increasing the complexity of care coordination among multiple stakeholders (e.g., patients, family caregivers, different healthcare professionals, etc.) with competing demands and perspectives. Yet, many health inequalities still remain as healthcare systems are typically implemented to cope with single diseases and poorly designed to account for the everyday experiences of people with multimorbidity. COVID-19 has exacerbated health inequalities, especially among older people from disadvantaged communities who are at high psycho-social risk of isolation.

Most research has focused on the epidemiology of multimorbidity and clinical aspects, rather than investigating the socio-cultural, environmental and infrastructural aspects that influence older adults (and their caregivers) experiences with multimorbidity, and their access and uptake of healthcare services and digital-mediated care practices. While digital health technologies are creating opportunities to support the self-care management of chronic conditions, most technologies are designed to target individual aspects (e.g., medication) of particular conditions (e.g., diabetes), rather than taking a holistic and collaborative approach to care management. 

Taking a socio-technical lens, this PhD project aims to get an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of older adults with multimorbidity, and how they and their caregivers practically cope with multiple care needs, safety concerns and how they navigate and negotiate across different care trajectories.

The project combines qualitative studies (e.g., observations, interviews, focus groups, etc.) with co-design methods to create, implement and evaluate socio-technical prototypes to further understand the experiences of technology-enabled collaborative care practices and how these can shape the care trajectories of multimorbidity, and enhance older adults’ and caregivers’ health and wellbeing.

Academic criteria: A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject.  Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to apply:

Please contact the supervisors of the project prior to submitting your application to discuss and develop an individual research proposal that builds on the information provided in this advert. Once you have developed the proposal with support from the supervisors, please submit your application following the instructions provided below

This project is accepting applications all year round, for self-funded candidates via https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/computer-science-and-informatics 

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to and upload your Individual research proposal, as mentioned above in BOLD
  • Qualification certificates and Transcripts
  • Proof of Funding. For example, a letter of intent from your sponsor or confirmation of self-funded status (In the funding field of your application, insert Self-Funded)
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Verdezoto Dias, [Email Address Removed]

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact [Email Address Removed]


Funding Notes

This project is offered for self-funded students only, or those with their own sponsorship or scholarship award.

References

[1] Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research. The Academy of Medical Science. April 2018. https://acmedsci.ac.uk/file-download/82222577
[2] Nunes, F., Verdezoto, N., Fitzpatrick, G., Kyng, M., Grönvall, E., & Storni, C. (2015). Self-care technologies in HCI: Trends, tensions, and opportunities. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 22(6), 33.
[3] Julie Doyle, Emma Murphy, Janneke Kuiper, Suzanne Smith, Caoimhe Hannigan, An Jacobs, and John Dinsmore. 2019. Managing Multimorbidity: Identifying Design Requirements for a Digital Self-Management Tool to Support Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Paper 399, 1–14. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300629
[4] Berry, A. B., Lim, C. Y., Hirsch, T., Hartzler, A. L., Kiel, L. M., Bermet, Z. A., & Ralston, J. D. (2019, May). Supporting communication about values between people with multiple chronic conditions and their providers. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-14).
[5] Caldeira, C., Gui, X., Reynolds, T. L., Bietz, M., & Chen, Y. (2021). Managing healthcare conflicts when living with multiple chronic conditions. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 145, 102494.
[6] Grönvall, E., & Verdezoto, N. (2013, September). Beyond self-monitoring: understanding non-functional aspects of home-based healthcare technology. In Proceedings of the 2013 ACM international joint conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing (pp. 587-596).
[7] Dalgaard, L. G., Grönvall, E., & Verdezoto, N. (2013, September). MediFrame: a tablet application to plan, inform, remind and sustain older adults' medication intake. In 2013 IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (pp. 36-45). IEEE.

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