Self-funded PhD opportunities

Implications of shock-absorbing floors on hospital patients and staff

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Health Sciences and Social Work
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr. Amy Drahota

Research Project Code - HSSW1571015

We welcome year-round applications from Home/EU/Overseas self-funded students and applicants seeking their own funding for the following project:

There is an emerging field of research and increased introduction of novel cushioned floors in clinical settings for older people, aimed at reducing fall-related injuries. The type of flooring has wider implications on the health care system however, and greater understanding is required around the implications of shock-absorbing hospital floors on the activities of patients and staff. These floors’ greater thicknesses create greater rolling resistance and increase the amount of effort required to get wheeled objects moving (which may have implications both for patients with walking aids, and staff moving equipment such as trolleys, beds, and hoists). Staff potentially have to adapt their behaviours and routines when caring for patients in environments with shock-absorbing floors. Further trade-offs to consider are sound attenuation and staff fatigue. As yet, little is understood about the implications for patients for example, when being asked to perform the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test (a commonly used clinical tool and indicator of frailty), or the repercussions of flooring type in emergency situations whereby the bed has to be quickly moved away from the wall to gain fuller access to a patient, or indeed the everyday tactics that staff may adopt to accommodate different types of flooring.

This novel area of study lends itself to a mixed methods PhD, incorporating a systematic review, a cross-over randomised trial of patients undertaking the TUG test, and observational/qualitative research exploring the various implications of flooring on patient and staff outcomes. This research project will complement further research being undertaken in the School of Health Sciences and Social Work focussed on shock-absorbing flooring for fall-related injury prevention in older inpatients.

Training will be provided in a range of research methods, and topic specific expertise. Research and skills training is also available through the University-wide Graduate School. The SHSSW research group have conducted the first robust research on shock-absorbing flooring in hospital settings for fall-related injury prevention, and are establishing themselves as world leaders in this area. This background is complemented by strong expertise in research methodologies and collaborative working. The PhD candidate will also benefit from being part of the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network (UPAN), and the associated support mechanisms offered through this cross-disciplinary network.

Enquiries: Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Amy Drahota on 02392 844432 or as well as the admissions team at

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Health Sciences and Social Work

Applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpage:

When applying please note the project code - HSSW1571015

Alternatively you may receive a hard copy by contacting the Faculty of Science, Postgraduate Admissions Office, St. Michael's Building, White Swan Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2DT. Tel: +44 (0)23 9284 5550.