MPhil Scholarship: Cared for and Carer experiences and acceptability of ‘Care Messenger’ to facilitate social inclusion and well-being

Working in collaboration with Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB), Aberystwyth University’s Psychology Department, SolvaCare and HAHAV, Solutions4Health is seeking an evaluation of ‘Care Messenger’; a novel technology to support frail and vulnerable older adults and their informal care givers.
This research project would explore the experiences of cared for older adults, family members, volunteers and service providers using Care Messenger in Mid West Wales.
The study would utilise an ideographic qualitative approach to analyse the interview data of cared for older adults who are accessing voluntary support through SolvaCare or Hospice at Home Aberystwyth Volunteers (HAHAV), two charitable organisations in Solva (Pembrokeshire) and in Aberystwyth (Ceredigion) respectively, providing community support to older residents in need of support. Phase 1 would include:
• Baseline interviews with cared for older adults who are socially isolated, to explore how they communicate with family and wider society and how being an isolated older adult (either through rurality or frailty/disability) impacts on their sense of isolation and wellbeing.
Individuals would be provided with Care Messenger for 6 weeks enabling the cared for individual to engage with nominated family, friends, volunteers and services.
Phase 2 would involve:
• Interviews with older adults who have been using the system to determine acceptability and experiences of Care Messenger to support their well-being and communication with others.
• Focus groups with a sample of family/friends, volunteers and service providers who had used Care Messenger to explore user experiences and impact on their own sense of connectedness and well-being.
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.
The successful candidate will need to be resident in the convergence area on registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification. The successful applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree, have good qualitative skills, an awareness of the ethical requirements of working with older and vulnerable adults and be available to take up the studentship by 1st October 2017. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II PhD scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners).
To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 1st September 2017:
1. A completed Research Programme Application Form, two references. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/
2. A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AUM30002 in the top right hand box of the application form) and an up-to-date CV. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below.
http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/rbi/staff-students/knowledge-economy-skillsscholarships/currentscholarshipvacanciesandapplicationforms/
3. A MPhil proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.

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