Ehealth and dementia: The role of online guidance for people living with dementia and their families  – MPhil Scholarship


Ehealth and dementia: The role of online guidance for people living with dementia and their families  

Aim of the project: To Understand how far an online guidance tool,  DLF’s AskSARA for Powys, supports the needs of behaviour of people living with dementia and their families.

Supervision by Professor Charles Musselwhite and Dr Val Todd at Department of Psychology, Aberystwyth University

In conjunction with the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, DLF Charity and Powys County Council.







Project ID: AUEM30001
Annual Stipend: £11,937
Application Deadline: 1st July 2022

Project Description

People living with dementia, their family and carers, often need specialist advice from a variety of Dementia Care Specialists and Occupational Therapists. This can take resulting in delays in face to face formal assessments. Shortages of staff affected by Covid has exacerbated the demand for formal needs assessments, which is where self-assessment may help some people find more rapid help.

AskSARA is an online tool, developed with Occupational Therapists by the DLF (the charity previously known as the Disabled Living Foundation), that provides a self-assessment route which signposts people living with dementia and their family and support, to impartial information, advice and guidance on equipment in order to maintain independence, safety, and dignity. If the answers provided suggest that they have more complex needs it produces a warning to seek a formal assessment and, in this way, it triages demand for those scarce resources as well as providing instant advice.

This MPhil would involve designing and running a research project to interview and analyse the responses from a sample of people who have used the advice tool. The research would involve consultation with Powys County Council who run the service and DLF who host the platform. The project is hosted in the Psychology Department at Aberystwyth University and is also supported by the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR) (see and the candidate will have opportunities to take part in networking activity associated with the centre.

The work would be of 12-month duration and would involve engaging directly with people living with dementia, their families and carers. The respondents would be recruited online by users of the website opting in to take part in the study. Additional participants may be recruited via the database of older people, those living with dementia and their carers held by the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR).

The purpose will be to carry out semi-structured interviews that help to gain insight into:

i) Examining the needs, challenges and aspirations of people living with dementia and their
carers and family including:

ii) Exploring what help they have sought in person and online and what motivated this

iii) Evaluation of the AskSARA Powys advice tool, including how far it met needs, ease of use,
how useful outputs were and whether it led to any changes in care and any purchases of

iv) Evaluation beyond the tool including how far it has changed people’s lives, for example
changes in their needs, or care, and whether it has had any financial implications etc.

v) Co-production of improvements to AskSARA Powys online tool, to improve the tool to
meet needs and fill additional gaps for products, services and solutions.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant Undergraduate degree, and be available to take up the studentship around the start of August 2022. The project is part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II Masters Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners.)

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 1st July 2022:

1. A completed Research Programme Application, an up-to-date CV and two references. Applications should be made via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal at . Here applicants can provide us with their personal details, select their chosen course and upload documents in support of their application. If you cannot find the specific course for which you wish to apply, or have any questions regarding the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office ( for further advice.

2. A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AUEM30001 in the top right-hand box of the application form) KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below. 
Please email a completed KESS II Participant proposal form to

3. A supporting statement of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description. This can be uploaded via the Postgraduate Admissions Portal at the point of application or submitted via email to

Value of Award: A stipend of £11,937. Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel,
equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II Masters Scholarship holders
do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 1 year. (Theses must be submitted 3 months after the funded year study

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for
each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the

Eligibility: Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the
successful candidate will need to be an EU national and resident in East Wales on University
registration, and must also have the right to work in the region on qualification.

East Wales means the following counties of Wales:

Vale of Glamorgan

Please do get in touch for any further information or informal enquiries to Professor Charles Musselwhite at or 01970 622929

Quote Reference: AUEM30001

Closing date for applications: 1st July 2022