Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of Research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care (NCARE)
  • Print

PhD students and opportunities

The School of Health Science offers a vibrant and stimulating environment for research students. In the latest Research Excellence Framework, we were commended for the quality of our lectures, mentoring and support.

Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of Research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care (NCARE) welcomes PhD proposals in line with our specific research themes.

How to apply

If you’re interested in specific topics, please contact the designated supervisor and include a CV and brief synopsis (maximum two pages) of the project you propose. Please direct other enquiries about potential projects to Kristian Pollock

Frail older people (including those with dementia) and their families

Family carers’ experiences and preferences for place of death for people dying with dementia

Topics could include:

  • Developing in-depth understandings of how family carers experience the death of relatives with dementia in different places: home, residential care or hospital, and how they assess the relative pros and cons of each location.
  • What are the most important factors in determining place of death for persons with dementia? In particular, do family care givers believe they have, or desire, a ‘choice’?
  • What are the implications for end-of-life care policy to improve the experience of patients dying with dementia, and support for family carers, and how can these be applied in practice?

Management of repetitive calling out by patients with dementia on acute hospital wards.

Topics could include:

  • Developing in-depth understandings of the phenomenon of repetitive calling out on acute older person wards.
  • What is the impact of calling out on the care and wellbeing of other patients and the sentimental order of the ward? How do staff and family understand such behaviour and how could and should it be managed?
  • Can we model appropriate and inappropriate staff responses to calling out?

Family experiences of death and dying within their everyday lives

Topics could include:

  • An ethnographic investigation into the everyday ‘doing’ of family and family-like relationships (however those are defined by participants) during a time when a close relative is approaching the end of life and/or has subsequently died.
  • Family support in end-of-life care is often presented as a crucial component of care along with assumptions that families come together when someone is dying in supportive harmonious ways. But what tensions and ambivalence might arise and what could be done to a) support families better and b) support healthcare professionals dealing with families in conflict?
  • How do policy ideals of choice and preference in terms of place of care and death map out against family experiences when a relative is dying?

Sibling deaths (in young and old age)

  • This research topic area could open up many questions to explore and we welcome discussions from applicants about any particular interests in these areas.

Communication and decision making (including advance care planning)

The communication and support needs of young people living with a parent with a terminal prognosis 

Topics could include:

  • What are young people’s perceptions of barriers to talking about their situation and support needs (to parents, peers, other adults at school, etc) when living with a parent receiving end-of-life care?
  • What communication and support do young people identify may be useful when facing parental bereavement in their everyday social contexts?
  • What strategies and resources can we develop to meet these needs (possibly interventions to be tested in future research)?

Critical perspectives on policy and practice (across settings)

Emotional labour in caring for the dying in different settings

Topics could include:

  • How do staff view the emotional aspects of the relationships formed with their work settings? How does this impact on them outside of work as well as in their work context? To what extent is emotional labour acknowledged and recognised?
  • What support is available to staff when a patient or resident dies?

Dying alone in institutional settings

Topics could include:

  • How do family members experience the death of their relative when this takes place while their relative is alone in an institutional setting?
  • How does such a death impact upon other residents or patients in different care settings?
  • How do staff perceive and manage deaths which occur when their resident or patient is alone?

Caring for the dead/mortuaries, last offices

Topics could include:

  • How do nurses carry out last offices and how do they make sense of their task?
  • What are the roles of mortuary staff and how do they experience their work?
  • How do the families and friends of people who die in hospital experience and understand the post-death processes that takes place?

Find out about some of our current and former PhD students and projects.

Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of Research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care (NCARE)

The University of Nottingham
School of Health Sciences
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA