What do older adults think about being labelled 'Frail'?

Project code:  MHS079

Department

Geriatric Medicine

Location

Auckland

Frailty is currently a ‘hot topic’, not only within geriatric medicine, but also subspecialty medicine and surgery. Frail individuals are more likely to be admitted to hospital, move to residential care, suffer complications of surgical or other procedures, and have increased risk of death. Identification of the presence of frailty in a person can assist with directing assessment and decision making about appropriate treatment and management. However, despite international interest in this topic, we do not know how older people feel about being labelled ‘frail’, other than anecdote suggesting older fit individuals do not like it. International researchers are now realising we need to address this issue. We would like to undertake a survey of older adults assessing their attitudes towards this term. This would be a pilot study used to potentially inform a larger mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) study. If successful, students would be based at North Shore Hospital University campus.

Skills

  • Questionnaire development
  • Data handling, analysis and interpretation
  • Communication skills – both from working within a research group and liaising with older adults
  • Understanding the impact of research
  • Report writing

Barriers to Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) form completion

Project code:  MHS080

Department

Geriatric Medicine

Location

Auckland

Despite improvement in the design of locally used CPR forms, completion of forms by hospital doctors remains inadequate. In addition, where forms are completed resuscitation decisions are often made without knowing the wishes of the patient (personal audit, unpublished). This has potential legal ramifications, as the British case of Janet Tracey who died in 2011 illustrates. Mrs Tracey’s family won a claim that her rights were violated when an order not to attempt resuscitation was put on her medical records without consultation. There is now to be a law change in Britain making it illegal to complete CPR forms without discussion with patient/family. There is research showing older adults wish to be involved with, and informed of resuscitation decisions. We wish to undertake a study investigating potential barriers to CPR completion locally. This study would involve a literature review and then the development and dissemination of, a questionnaire to assess attitudes and thoughts of hospital doctors at Waitemata District Health Board. If successful, students would be based at North Shore Hospital University campus.

Skills

  • Literature review
  • Questionnaire development
  • Data handling, analysis and interpretation
  • Communication skills – working within a larger research group and with hospital based clinicians
  • Report writing

Moving into residential aged care – risk factors

Project code:  MHS097

Department

Geriatric Medicine

Location

Takapuna

Supervisor

Joanna Broad

A University of Auckland cohort study of people in advanced age (LiLACS) collected much information about the 937 participants at baseline: demographic, functional, medical history and supports. Follow-up interviews and other tracking have provided additional information. Some residents moved into long-term residential care during the six-year period of follow-up. This project will investigate the literature then combine data from this study and from residential aged care, to understand better the characteristics that predict entry into care. They will prepare a draft research paper.

An interest in health of older people, competence in data management and analysis, and an ability to read and understand research papers will be required and developed.

Support will be available for data management, statistical methods and for clinical understandings.

The studentship will be located in the Freemasons’ Department of Geriatric Medicine near North Shore Hospital.

Skills

Learnings will include

  • extended data management skills
  • research-centred statistical analysis
  • literature searching
  • preparation of scientific papers.