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JO and JR Wicking PhD Scholarship for Delirium Research in Aged Care

Improving quality of life through delirium detection in residential aged care: an extension of a JO and JR Wicking Trust funded project.

Delirium is an acute disturbance in brain function, characterised by defects in attention, orientation and other cognitive tasks. 8% of older people that attend ED have delirium on arrival, and at least that many again develop delirium whilst in hospital. Hospitalised patients with delirium have up to an eight fold increase in mortality after adjusting for covariates. The single greatest risk factor for delirium is pre-existing cognitive impairment.

We have conducted prior clinical trials that reveal that preventative interventions in aged care can improve quality of life for residents, but do not reduce the rate of transfer to hospital from facilities. One clear reason was the development of acute delirium in residents went undetected until secondary morbidity (e.g. poor oral intake with dehydration, injurious falls, challenging behaviours) had become established. The successful PhD applicant will trial early detection strategies in aged care facilities to enable earlier recognition and management of acute delirium in residents. The strategies will have a clinical focus with some opportunity for basic laboratory analysis. Results will build on quality of life gains for older people already achieved, as well as reduce distressing hospital transfer, morbidity and mortality. 

An operating and research travel allowance of up to $15,000 for consumables/research expenses and research/conference travel will also be available. Operating and research travel allowance claims must be submitted during the tenure of the scholarship.

Payment type
Fortnightly Stipend and Operating Allowance
Value unit
Per annum
Basis of award
Academic Achievement

The scholarship is open to applicants who have completed an Honours degree (or equivalent) in a health science discipline.

Application process:  All applicants must submit an Expression of Interest to Associate Professor Glenn Arendts ( before 31 March 2017. This should include:

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Academic Transcripts

  • A cover letter

The selection body reserves the right to close early should a suitable applicant be identified.

Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident, New Zealand Citizen
Study area
Commencement date
Applications open
Applications close
Tenable At
University of Western Australia
Currently available
Application status