PhD Study : Development of a tailored advance care planning education intervention for Health Care Assistants in the community

Summary

Aim:

Guided by the new MRC (Medical Research Council) framework for complex interventions, to co-produce a novel ACP (Advance Care Planning) educational intervention for palliative care Health Care Assistants in the community.

Objectives:

1.To synthesize evidence and policy and underpinning educational theories relating to ACP provision and associated education programs for palliative care HCAs.

2.To identify factors surrounding HCAs implementation of ACP.

3.To determine levels of knowledge and attitudes towards ACP, identify educational needs, explore content of the ACP resource, and agree core aims and learning, teaching, and assessment approaches.

4.To deliver a co-design workshop to develop intervention content and articulate programme theory and a logic model for the intervention, aligned to aims and learning, teaching, and assessment approach.

Method and Design:

A sequential mixed methods design.

Phase 1: Evidence base. Comprised of three components: (1)A scoping policy/evidence review to examine current ACP educational palliative care programmes and policy guiding HCA practice. (2)A series of semi-structured interviews with a p[urpisve sample of HCAs, nursing managers and other staff (N=25-30) to gather information on their understanding of ACP, their roles within ACP and their experience of ACP in practice. (3)An online survey with hospice HCAs across the UK (n=150) will determine the knowledge, attitude and skills needed, preferred learning styles, and delivery modes as well as reviewing the barriers and facilitators associated with the provision of and educational intervention.

Phase 2: Co-production intervention development: (1)Informed by phase 1 co-design group with representation of key stakeholders (AIIHPC, PCRS UK) will be invited to take part in a series of facilitated workshops (n=3-6). This will obtain feedback the key components of the educational intervention, delivery model and mechanisms to access effectiveness. (2)We will consult a range of stakeholders including patients and caregivers, HCAs, RNS and managers of hospices to refine the programme theory, ensuring that the intervention components are acceptable, implementable, and fit for purpose.

Team:

The team will be led by Dr Hasson and supported by two academic/ clinical experts in palliative care and advance care planning (Prof McIlfatrick & Dr Beck). Dr Slater a quantitative methodological expert will provide direct guidance on the conduct and analysis of the survey and the analysis of the workshop data.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Masters at 65%
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

1.Dixon, J., Knapp, M. Whose job? The staffing of advance care planning support in twelve international healthcare organizations: a qualitative interview study. BMC Palliat Care 17, 78 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-018-0333-1

2.McGuinness, K. & Hasson F.  Healthcare assistant role in advance care planning discussion: a qualtiatvie study informed by the theory of planned behaviour.  Ulster University, MSc thesis, unpublished, 2021.

3.Hasson, F., McIlfatrick S., Fee A., Shannon C., Slater P., McConnell T. & Payne S.  Ensuring proactive efficient and effective out of horus pllataive c reprovision,: examining the role, contribution and impact of the HCA: initial findings.  Marie Curie UK, Report, 2021.

4.Patynowska, K., McConnell T. & Hasson F.  Exploration of 24/7 lone working practices, support, and educational needs of Marie Curie Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) providing palliative care in the community across the UK. Marie Curie, UK, Report, 2021.

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 6 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
20th - 22nd March 2023

Preferred student start date
18th September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Felicity Hasson

Other supervisors

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