PhD 1 Year | Dementia Care Research

1 year doing a PhD – things are starting to happen!

Just over a year in, and I’m close to submitting the 3rd and final milestone of my clinical-academic PhD – it’s time for the pace to pick up!

This milestone is my research proposal, combining and justifying all the procedures and theory that underpin the research project, and laying out a plan for how it’s all going to work in action.

Milestone 3 is a great time to look back, to realise what the last year has been all about.

Learning, learning, learning!

  • Background work – hours spent on reading papers and publications, completing the University of Tasmania Understanding Dementia MOOC, attending conferences, networking events and much more!
  • Completing my literature review – something I’ve never really done to this extent before, moulding my research idea to be filling a gap, and adding new knowledge – such an exciting prospect!
  • Research training – 5 modules giving me the basis of how to be a researcher, even beginning to understand the difference between Methods and Methodology!

…the juicy bit begins

Milestone 3 is also a great time to look forward. Once I have jumped this hurdle I can start the process of Ethical Approval and then actually begin some data collection! (Fingers crossed!)

What comes next?

So, for those of you tracking my progress here’s the summary of what I plan and hope to do:

  • Observe meal times using Dementia Care Mapping (stay tuned for another blog about this amazing tool!).
    In a nutshell: it will be used to measure people’s well-being and engagement during the meal time, and to see what is going on around meal times that may impact the experience.
  • Start to build a model of areas which influence the eating process for people with dementia on acute hospital wards.This might be able to be used in future to understand what the problems may be, as well as in education and training for health care staff on hospital wards – I may as well aim high with the impact of this work!
  • Interview staff about the tools currently used to encourage eating and drinking, and what they see their roles as in this process. You will be aware of my passion to see Occupational Therapists doing more to impact nutrition care plans in acute hospitals and this part of the research will hopefully start to reveal what might be stopping that at the moment.

So to conclude, I have come to realise I’ve done a lot in the last year, and I’m super excited for what is to come!

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