Co-designed frailty indicators

What is the role of frailty indicators in co-designing quality of life care for older people?

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Frailty is a syndrome of physiological decline that occurs later in the life trajectory associated with increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes (Wryko 2015). Frailty identification and subsequent management has implications for individuals, clinical practice, and public health. As the population of older people increases, frailty is recognised as a growing health burden with increased health concerns, including poor quality of life, increased falls and poor mobility, admission to residential care or hospitalisation. Evidence based frailty screening tools are available, but their usability and relationship to caregivers is not known. This project will use a co-design mixed methods research study to examine the factors that contribute toward generation of frailty scores and how they can be adapted for use by caregivers and the elderly to escalate decisions for quality-of-life care.

Frailty screening and assessment tools use similar classification or scoring systems that require either self-reported, deficit scoring or health practitioner clinical judgement on the degree of frailty. This then may be used to infer care delivery or end of life decision making. Frailty scores can assist to identify older people at high risk who can then receive targeted interventions to delay admission to residential aged care (Khadka et al. 2020). There is a paucity of research focussed on frailty in aged care facilities despite the high population of frail older people. The input that the client/patient or family/caregiver has in terms of determining the frailty score and then, at what point care is escalated or deescalated is unknown. The use of personalised frailty tools in older persons care organisations is unclear, and the co-contribution that caregivers including family members has into the design and use of such tools is not known. A co-designed project is anticipated to address the care planning for individuals at risk of the consequences of frailty.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Melanie Greenwood


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Registered Nurse

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in caring for older people

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Melanie Greenwood to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 2 x 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 by the advertised outcome date.

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