Three PhDs in Gerontology

19 May 2011

Three PhDs in Gerontology Three staff from The University of Auckland’s School of Nursing graduated this month with PhDs all relating to the care of the older person.


Stephen Jacobs, John Parsons and Kathy Peri are also part of the University’s Applied Ageing Research Group which balances Gerontology teaching with research into service improvement.

Stephen, co-director of the group has been looking at a standard process for developing, implementing and managing performance of restorative home care services in New Zealand.

“We have a lot of good research available to us on how to live well as an older person but not so much information on how to implement that research. There is a demand for home care services that support people’s independence and level of functioning as long as possible so finding a methodical approach to such services for planners and funders in DHBs is a vital task,” he says.

Kathy’s research looks into the impact of individualised physical activity programmes in rest homes through her “Promoting Independent Living Study”. She found that residence enjoyed goal-setting and the programme gave many a new found sense of purpose.”

John’s research was funded by a Health Research Council Disability Research Placement PhD scholarship and has focused on maximising functional independence among people with long term conditions both in the community and within aged residential care facilities. “I investigated how assessments which considered what the older person wanted to improve in their daily life could be integrated into targeted home-based support.

“Traditionally home-based support services have a greater focus treating disease and ‘taking care’ of the older person than on helping them to regain functioning and independence. Looking at what goals a person wants to achieve means that services would become more relevant for the individual and result in significant improvements for their health-related quality of life.”

New Chair in Gerontology Matthew Parsons says: “The School of Nursing at The University of Auckland has a long tradition of undertaking strong robust and meaningful research, The Applied Ageing Research Group is one of the leading gerontology research groups in Australasia and is responsible for running large clinical trials with the aim to improve health services for older people and people with disabilities.

“The latest three doctoral completions represent some pivotal work in aged care across New Zealand.”