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Raising quality of care and life in dementia care homes through music therapy: a cluster-randomised controlled trial

Project Description

This project is supported by colleagues in CIMTR

Our proposed cluster-randomised trial with a qualitative strand built in, addresses current challenges faced in UK’s care home sector. The study investigates why and how music therapy might raise the quality of care and life in the care homes of a large UK care provider. This PhD project will be added to the provision of a music therapy service.

Background to the study: Prevalence of dementia, increased longevity, and therefore demand for care home places in the UK, is predicted to rise by up to 150% over the next 50 years. The current market for care homes is worth an estimated £16 billion per year. However, social care in the UK faces several challenges, particularly the issue of safety. A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveals that a third of residential nursing homes are failing to provide safe levels of care. Research shows that psychosocial interventions such as music therapy can have a positive impact on staff training and caregiving if implemented successfully. However, more research is needed to understand how and why music therapy might help raise the quality of care and life in dementia care homes.

The study aims to examine the effect of individual music therapy on care home staff and residents in a number of care homes of a major care provider with which we have set up a partnership and will be receiving a large grant for music therapy delivery. The PhD student will gather data for analysis and help with the group care home PPI part of the research, interviewing participants also where possible, with ethical processes and due consent.

Anticipated quality outcomes: The study reflects the current priority to enable care homes to provide safe levels of care by increasing social care related quality of life whilst reducing medication use, safeguarding incidents and staff sickness. If the music therapy service is clinically effective, it has major implications for local and national policy- making and the future delivery of dementia services across the UK.

To discuss the research project, please contact Prof Helen Odell-Miller,

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject is desirable.


You can apply via our landing page We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 9 February. Applications missing the project reference number will be rejected as will applications for multiple studentships.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the studentships, please contact Becky Kraszewski on 01245 684920, or email .

Documentation required

You will also need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

1) Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
2) Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project
3) Passport and visa (if applicable)
4) English Language qualifications (if applicable)
5) Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s studentship awards which covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and conditions

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