Older person’s wishes in ICU

Values and preferences of older person for ICU interventions

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023


Burnie, Hobart, Launceston, Sydney

Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Advances in health care have promoted an increase in life expectancy, leading to an aging population. As a result, more older adults are admitted to intensive care units (ICU) where they are not able to voice their wishes and preferences clearly. It is important to explore and understand the older person’s values and preferences for the often invasive and lengthy ICU interventions that occur in this setting (Flaatten et al., 2017).  This also becomes more significant when it is known that even if the patient is in a state of mind to voice their wishes, they are not always asked (Guen et al., 2016, Tuesen et al., 2022). Although previous research has focused on end of life care in ICU or the elderly patients’ wishes while in the hospital, there is a paucity of literature focusing on exploring the older person’s opinion about ICU interventions while in the community.

This study focuses on exploring the older person’s wishes should they become critically unwell. The focus is on the comfort and care they wish to receive. Understandably this is influenced by culture, religion and judicial factors; however, this study aims to explore the common themes among this group in Australia. The participants will be older people living in the community or residential age care who are capable of expressing their opinion. Group concept mapping methodology will be used within a community-based participatory research approach. By engaging older people as research partners, the complexity of the phenomena of being critically ill in older age is captured, and the meaning that has not been fully explored will emerge.  The findings of this study will inform the healthcare providers’ and clinicians’ decisions in care delivery and will impact their practice when treating an older person in ICU.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Farida Saghafi


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:

  • Applications are open to Domestic applicants

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:

  • Clinical experience in ICU

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, Dr Farida Saghafi 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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