Summary

Project Summary (Max 500 words)It is recognised internationally that people with learning (intellectual) disabilities have poorer health than people in the wider general population.  Such poor health may be compounded by difficulties in accessing timely investigation and treatment, as well as the necessary follow up action. In particular, challenges for people with learning disabilities have been identified internationally in relation to accessing general hospital services. It has been argued that this contributes to the higher levels of premature and avoidable deaths among people with learning disabilities (Heslop, et al., 2013).

The major issues that have been identified are the failure to make ‘reasonable’ adjustments to facilitate the access to services and difficulties in communication within and between people and services involved. In order to improve the effective communication between people with learning disabilities, family members and staff within general hospital services, a Regional HSC Hospital Passport for people with learning disabilities was launched in Northern Ireland by the Public Health Agency in May 2017. The development of this Passport was led by Professor Owen Barr on behalf of PHA. The aim of this project is to establish the impact of the HSC Hospital Passport for people with learning disabilities in achieving reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities using general hospital services.

This project will examine:

i) how people with learning disabilities obtain a HSC Hospital Passport

ii) the experience of people with learning disabilities in completing their HSC Hospital Passport

iii) the use staff in general hospitals make of the HSC Hospital Passport as perceived by people with learning disabilities, family and other carers, and staff in general hospital services

iv) evidence of ‘reasonable adjustments’ make to support people with learning disabilities use general hospital services as perceived by people with learning disabilities, family and other carers, and staff in general hospital services.

At present, it is expected that the project will use a mixed methods approach and include:

i) Qualitative interviews with service users; using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al. 2009),

ii) Qualitative interviews or focus groups with service providers and family and other carers using thematic analysis (Newell and Burnard 2011),

iii) Quantitative surveys of service providers to examine their understanding of the health needs of people with learning disabilities, the requirement for reasonable adjustments and their views on caring for people with learning disabilities in general hospitals.

Participants in this project will be recruited through Health and Social Care Trust learning disability and general hospitals services and major regional voluntary groups supporting people with learning disabilities and their families. The project will also be overseen by a steering group comprising the stakeholders, including Mencap, Inspire, and Association for Real Change (ARC).


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

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.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Relevant professional qualification and/or a Degree in a Health or Health related area

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for 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 £15,000 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.

    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 £7,500 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.

    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.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


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