KESS Masters by Research studentship - The Quality of life of people with advanced dementia : a pilot study


The application deadline has now passed and the position appointed to.


KESS II Masters Project: The quality of life of people with advanced dementia: A pilot study

Applications are invited for a 12 month, full time KESS II Research Masters studentship based at the Dementia Services Development (DSDC) Wales at Bangor University. The Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a major European Convergence programme led by Bangor University and offers collaborative research projects (Research Masters and PhD) linked with a local company partner. This project is in partnership with Fairways Care Ltd.

Aims of the project

While there is increasing attention paid to the quality of life (QOL) and wellbeing of people with mild to moderate dementia, we understand much less about how to identify and support well-being in people with advanced dementia. This has been identified by the Alzheimer’s Society as a gap in current research. Increasingly a rights-based approach is being taken in dementia care, but little is known about how a person’s rights can be up-held when they are completely dependent on others and unable to communicate verbally.

This 12 month studentship aims to investigate quality of life (QOL) and wellbeing of people with advanced dementia and explore how a person’s rights, choice and personalised care can continue to be achieved in situations where the person is completely dependent upon others for care, and may no longer be able to verbally communicate their wishes. 

The student will work in two care home settings, Ty Cariad and Glyn Menai. They will conduct qualitative interviews with care staff and family members to explore how they monitor QOL, what assumptions are made about the capacity of people living with advanced dementia, and how they judge whether decisions they make are in the best interests of people living with advanced dementia. In addition to this, the student will spend extended periods of time getting to know residents with advanced dementia and carrying out observations of non-verbal and behavioural indicators of QOL.

The following key questions will be addressed:

1. How do care workers and family members monitor QOL in people with advanced dementia?

2. What assumptions are made about the capacity of people with advanced dementia to make decisions about their daily life, and why are these assumptions made?

3. How can family members and care staff judge that the decisions they make are in the best interests of the person with advanced dementia?  

4. How is well-being and QOL expressed in people living with advanced dementia?

The KESS II scholarship will cover UK/EU registration fees plus a maintenance stipend of around £11,000, along with a budget to support delivery of the project (equipment, travel, training etc.).

Supervisors: Professor Bob Woods, Dr Katherine Algar, & Hannah Jelley.

Eligibility: Applicants should be resident in the convergence area of Wales on appointment, and should have the right to work in the region on qualification.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact me at

Publication date: 12 August 2016