Why a PhD could make a difference


Written by Professor Jennifer Tieman, Matthew Flinders Fellow, College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Death is a universal experience but each person’s death and dying is shaped by their society, their community, their geography and their circumstances. Most people will die expected deaths. We will age or become ill with a disease or several diseases that cannot be cured. The process of dying affects not only the person but family, friends, neighbours, workmates and others in their social network. Care for a dying person is commonly provided by family and friends alongside health care and community care providers. The importance of palliative care has been increasingly recognised by governments around the world as populations age and as the pattern of disease and disease burdens change.

Health is a knowledge intensive industry and we need to expand out evidence base to be able to provide guidance to underpin care in the home, in aged care and in hospitals. Research needs to address not just medical care but identify effective systems and approaches and support equity in access and outcome. It also needs to recognise and respond to the human experience of the person approaching death as well as those providing care and those who are grieving.

PhDs are an essential part of the knowledge economy and provide a way to develop a skilled workforce that can examine and address critical end of life issues being experienced by people, communities and systems. The Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying (RePADD) is offering two PhD scholarships. Applications close at the end of January and we invite you to contact us and discuss how you can make a contribution to care at the end of life in Australia.

PhD Scholarship 1: Ageing and Dying
Aged care has an increasingly important role to play in providing care for older Australians coming to the end of their life. Over two thirds of Australians who die are aged over 75 years, and most have used aged care services before they die. This scholarship will look at how home care services recognise and address end of life issues for older people living in the community within a consumer directed framework.

PhD Scholarship 2: Allied Health
Palliative care is evidence-based multidisciplinary care provided to people with a life limiting illness. Palliative care offers impeccable assessment and management of the physical, psychosocial and spiritual concerns of the person approaching the end of their life. The project will examine an area of palliative care clinical practice that is of relevance to allied health. This project may be discipline specific or more general in nature.

To find out more visit the RePaDD website or email repadd@flinders.edu.au

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