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The long term impact of unplanned hospital admission for people with Parkinson’s and their carers (RDF19/HLS/SER/BAKER)

  • Full or part time
    Dr K Baker
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This is a three year research studentship supported by an established supervisory team with clinical and academic expertise in Parkinson’s. This is a collaborative project between Northumbria University and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust providing the opportunity to work with a clinical population.
People with Parkinson’s have higher rates of emergency admissions, spend longer in hospital and are more likely to die while there than other patients. A UK study showed 72% of the admissions for people with Parkinson’s were unplanned. The main reasons for admission were pneumonia, motor decline, urinary tract infection and hip fractures with these conditions occurring more frequently in people with Parkinson’s than controls. A recent report by Parkinson’s UK’s Excellence Network states that urgent attention should be given to developing cost-effective interventions to reduce the burden of hospitalisation for patients, carers and healthcare systems.

The aim of this studentship is to explore the long-term impact of unplanned hospital admission on both the person with Parkinson’s and their carers. There is flexibility for the successful student to finalise the research design, bit a mixed methods, longitudinal approach to follow up people with Parkinson’s after discharge from an unplanned admission would be very appropriate. This may include quantitative measurement of disease severity, gait and balance outcomes, physical activity, function, quality of life and carer burden alongside qualitatively exploring the perceived impact of the admission and perceived health care and rehabilitation needs with both the person with Parkinson's and their carer where appropriate.

Parkinson’s disease is an established area of research within the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation within our Health and Well Being research theme. Applications from appropriately qualified nurse and other Applied Health Professionals are particularly welcome.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019

Start Date: 1 October 2019

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences
Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Principal Supervisor: Dr Katherine Baker

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa) and full fees.


Low V, Ben-Shlomo Y, Coward E, Fletcher S, Walker R, Clarke CE. Measuring the burden and mortality of hospitalisation in Parkinson's disease: A cross-sectional analysis of the English Hospital Statistics database 2009-2013. Parkinsonism Related Disorders 2015, 21(5), 449-454

Skelly R, Brown L, Fakis A, Walker RW. Hospitalization in Parkinson's disease: A survey of UK neurologists, geriatricians and Parkinson's disease nurse specialists. Parkinsonism Related Disorders 2015, 21(3), 277-281.
Hand, A., Oates, L., Gray, WK., Walker, R. (2018). Understanding the Care Needs and Profile of People Living at Home With Moderate to Advanced Stage Parkinson Disease. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. 31

Klaptocz, J., Gray, WK., Marwood, S., Agarwal, M., Ziegler, J., Webb, Z., Prabhakar, M., Hand, A., Oates, L., McDonald, C., Walker, R. (2018). The Pattern of Hospital Admissions Prior to Care Home Placement in People With Parkinson’s Disease: Evidence of a Period of Crisis for Patients and Carers. Journal of Aging and Health

Baker, K., Harvey, M., Monaghan, J. and Rochester, L. (2016) ‘Can body worn cameras help us understand the complex relationship between physical activity and falls in people with Parkinson’s?’ Movement Disorders; 31 (sup 2).

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