Older person's wishes in ICU

Values and preferences of older person for ICU interventions

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023


Hobart, Sydney

Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Advances in health care have promoted an increase in life expectancy leading to an ageing 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 able 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 ICUs or the older person's 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 the comfort and care they wish to receive. Understandably this is influenced by culture, religion and legislative 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 aged 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 can be captured.  The findings of this study will inform the healthcare providers' and clinicians' decisions in care delivery and how they engage older people and their families in decision making 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus
  • Applications are open to domestic applicants
  • Applications are open to applications from a nursing discipline background only
  • English language score must be above the minimum entry requirements for this project

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:

  • Experience as a nurse in Intensive Care Unit

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Currently working in an Intensive Care Unit

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Farida Saghafi to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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