Medication Management in Patients with Dementia

Evaluation of medication use and management among patients with dementia in Australian general practice

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Dementia is a prevalent neurodegenerative condition common in older adults and is a second leading cause of death among older Australians. Globally, 50 million people are affected by dementia, and it is postulated that this figure will rise to 131.5 million by 2050.

Regardless of ethnicity, people living with dementia often need to manage complex medication regimes. Around 70% of people with dementia live with comorbidities and are subsequently prescribed multiple medications (polypharmacy). Patients with dementia are at high risk for potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use. The use of PIM can lead to numerous adverse outcomes, including hospitalisation, cognitive and physical impairments, and mortality. The vast majority of dementia patients are expected to benefit from antidementia medications and should not be denied it unless they are intolerant to the therapy. However, evidence indicates suboptimal use of antidementia medications, and the extent of PIM use among dementia patients visiting general practitioners (GPs) is not clearly understood. Hence, investigating the prevalence, temporal trends and contributing risk factors to PIM use would be imperative to optimise medication use and prevent inappropriate polypharmacy among dementia patients visiting GPs. Studies from outside Australia have reported low adherence and persistence among dementia patients. Consequently, there is a need to investigate the level of medication adherence & persistence and associated risk factors impacting clinical outcomes among older Australians with dementia.

Medication safety is a national health priority for Australia. There is a knowledge gap on the safe and effective use of medications that improve dementia symptoms in Australia. Since dementia is a global concern, this study will generate both national and global representative evidence on identifying medication-related issues and make preventive strategies towards PIM use, polypharmacy, drug interactions and adherence-related problems using Australian primary care data  (NPS MedicineWise, MedicineInsight).

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Mohammed Salahudeen

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for a full-time PhD position subject to successfully obtaining a University Doctoral Scholarship. The successful candidate will be expected to commence as soon as possible, but no later than in mid-2022.

Please note: the position will suit a variety of backgrounds (including nursing, medical, allied health, health policy, public health, pharmaceutical, and methodologists, etc.) and involve fair bit of qualitative work. An understanding of medications is required.

Selection Criteria:

  • A degree with a substantial research project (e.g. Research Masters’ degree, Masters’ degree with treatise component, or Bachelor degree with first-class Honours)
  • Excellent analysis and writing skills, demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrate some understanding of statistical methods and proficiency with any data analysis software
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication skills and demonstrated ability to work in teams
  • Capacity to work with a range of disciplines and having prior clinical knowledge
  • Evidence of project management and organisation ability, including the ability to fulfil goals and deliver outcomes within a specified period

Your Expression of Interest should include:

  • Your CV and copy of academic transcript(s)
  • List of two or three potential academic referees and/or line managers
  • Sample of written work, ideally appropriate for an academic audience (e.g. honours thesis, peer-reviewed journal article, essay written during coursework study or similar)
  • ‘Statement of Purpose’ describing your interests, reasons for pursuing this opportunity and longer-term goals, (max. 1-2 pages)

Submit your Expression of Interest via email to: Dr Mohammed Salahudeen, School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Tasmania.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Mohammed Salahudeen, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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