Occasional lectures and workshops on health economics.
Undergraduate and postgraduate project supervision.
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There are limited case-mix classification systems for primary care settings which are applicable when considering the optimal clinical skill mix to provide services.Aim
To develop a case-mix classification system (CMCS) and test its impact on analyses of patient outcomes by clinician type, using example data from physician associates’ (PAs) and GPs' consultations with same-day appointment patients.Design & setting
Secondary analysis of controlled observational data from six general practices employing PAs and six matched practices not employing PAs in England.Method
Routinely-collected patient consultation records (PA n = 932, GP n = 1154) were used to design the CMCS (combining problem codes, disease register data, and free text); to describe the case-mix; and to assess impact of statistical adjustment for the CMCS on comparison of outcomes of consultations with PAs and with GPs.Results
A CMCS was developed by extending a system that only classified 18.6% (213/1147) of the presenting problems in this study's data. The CMCS differentiated the presenting patient’s level of need or complexity as: acute, chronic, minor problem or symptom, prevention, or process of care, applied hierarchically. Combination of patient and consultation-level measures resulted in a higher classification of acuity and complexity for 639 (30.6%) of patient cases in this sample than if using consultation level alone. The CMCS was a key adjustment in modelling the study’s main outcome measure, that is rate of repeat consultation.Conclusion
This CMCS assisted in classifying the differences in case-mix between professions, thereby allowing fairer assessment of the potential for role substitution and task shifting in primary care, but it requires further validation.
Introduction care home residents have high healthcare needs not fully met by prevailing healthcare models. This study explored how healthcare configuration influences resource use. Methods a realist evaluation using qualitative and quantitative data from case studies of three UK health and social care economies selected for differing patterns of healthcare delivery to care homes. Four homes per area (12 in total) were recruited. A total of 239 residents were followed for 12 months to record resource-use. Overall, 181 participants completed 116 interviews and 13 focus groups including residents, relatives, care home staff, community nurses, allied health professionals and General Practitioners. Results context-mechanism-outcome configurations were identified explaining what supported effective working between healthcare services and care home staff: (i) investment in care home-specific work that legitimises and values work with care homes; (ii) relational working which over time builds trust between practitioners; (iii) care which ‘wraps around’ care homes; and (iv) access to specialist care for older people with dementia. Resource use was similar between sites despite differing approaches to healthcare. There was greater utilisation of GP resource where this was specifically commissioned but no difference in costs between sites. Conclusion< activities generating opportunities and an interest in healthcare and care home staff working together are integral to optimal healthcare provision in care homes. Outcomes are likely to be better where: focus and activities legitimise ongoing contact between healthcare staff and care homes at an institutional level; link with a wider system of healthcare; and provide access to dementia-specific expertise.
To explore the impact of price manipulation and healthy eating information on intended food choicesDesign:
Health information was provided to a random half of subjects (vs. information on Saudi agriculture). Each subject chose from the same lunch menu, containing two healthy and two unhealthy entrees, deserts and beverages, on five occasions. Reference case prices were 5, 3 and 2 Saudi Arabian Reals (SARs). Prices of healthy and unhealthy items were manipulated up (taxed) and down (subsidised) by 1 SAR in four menu variations (random order); subjects were given a budget enabling full choice within any menu. The number of healthy food choices were compared with different price combinations, and between information groups. Linear regression modelling explored the effect of relative prices of healthy / unhealthy options and information on number of healthy choices controlling for dietary behaviours and hunger levels.Setting:
University campus, Saudi Arabia, 2013Subjects:
99 women studentsResults:
In the reference case, 49.5% of choices were for healthy items. When the price of healthy items was reduced, 58.5% of selections were healthy; 57.2% when the price of unhealthy items rose. In regression modelling, reducing the price of healthy items and increasing the price of unhealthy items increased the number of healthy choices by 5% and 6% respectively. Students reporting a less healthy usual diet selected significantly fewer healthy items. Providing healthy eating information was not a significant influence.Conclusion:
Price manipulation offers potential for altering behaviours to combat rising youth obesity in Saudi Arabia.
This study appraises the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of consumption of plant sterol-enriched margarine-type spreads for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people with hypercholesterolemia in England, compared to a normal diet. A nested Markov model was employed using the perspective of the British National Health Service (NHS). Effectiveness outcomes were the 10-year CVD risk of individuals with mild (4–6 mmol/l) and high (above 6 mmol/l) cholesterol by gender and age groups (45–54, 55–64, 65–74, 75–85 years); CVD events avoided and QALY gains over 20 years. This study found that daily consumption of enriched spread reduces CVD risks more for men and older age groups. Assuming 50% compliance, 69 CVD events per 10,000 men and 40 CVD events per 10,000 women would be saved over 20 years. If the NHS pays the excess cost of enriched spreads, for the high-cholesterol group, the probability of enriched spreads being cost-effective is 100% for men aged over 64 years and women over 74, at £20,000/QALY threshold. Probabilities of cost-effectiveness are lower at younger ages, with mildly elevated cholesterol and over a 10-year time horizon. If consumers bear the full cost of enriched spreads, NHS savings arise from reduced CVD events.
Background: As more men survive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, alternative models of follow-up care that address men’s enduring unmet needs and are economical to deliver are needed. This paper describes the protocol for an ongoing evaluation of a nurse-led supported self-management and remote surveillance programme implemented within the secondary care setting.
Methods/design: The evaluation is taking place within a real clinical setting, comparing the outcomes of men enrolled in the Programme with the outcomes of a pre-service change cohort of men, using a repeated measures design. Men are followed up at four and eight months post recruitment on a number of outcomes, including quality of life, unmet need, psychological wellbeing and activation for self-management. An embedded health economic analysis and qualitative evaluation of implementation processes are being undertaken.
Discussion: The evaluation will provide important information regarding the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and implementation of an integrated supported self-management follow-up care pathway within secondary care.
Physician associates (PAs) are a new type of healthcare professional to the United Kingdom; however, they are well established in the United States (where they are known as physician assistants). PAs are viewed as one potential solution to the current medical workforce doctor shortage. This study investigated the deployment of PAs within secondary care teams in England, through the use of a cross-sectional electronic, self-report survey. The findings from 14 questions are presented. Sixty-three PAs working in a range of specialties responded. A variety of work settings were reported, most frequently inpatient wards, with work generally taking place during weekdays. Both direct and non-direct patient care activities were reported, with the type of work undertaken varying at times, depending on the presence or absence of other healthcare professionals. PAs reported working within a variety of secondary care team staffing permutations, with the majority of these being interprofessional. Line management was largely provided by consultants; however day-to-day supervision varied, often relating to different work settings. A wide variation in ongoing supervision was also reported. Further research is required to understand the nature of PAs’ contribution to collaborative care within secondary care teams in England.
Background: Physician Associates are new to English general practice and set to expand in numbers. Objective: To investigate the patients’ perspective on consulting with PAs in general practice. Design: A qualitative study, using semi structured interviews, with thematic analysis. Setting and participants: Thirty volunteer patients of 430 who had consulted PAs for a same day appointment and had returned a satisfaction survey, in six general practices employing physician associates in England. Findings: Some participants only consulted once with a physician associate and others more frequently. The conditions consulted for ranged from minor illnesses to those requiring immediate hospital admission. Understanding the role of the physician associate varied from: certain and correct, to uncertain, to certain and incorrect, where the patient believed the physician associate to be a doctor. Most, but not all, reported positive experiences and outcomes of their consultation, with some choosing to consult the physician. Those with negative experiences described problems when the limits of the role was reached, requiring additional GP consultations or prescription delay. Trust and confidence in the physician associate was derived from trust in the NHS, the general practice and the individual physician associate. Willingness to consult a physician associate was contingent on the patient’s assessment of the severity or complexity of the problem and the desire for provider continuity. Conclusion: Patients saw PAs as an appropriate general practitioner substitute. Patients’ experience could inform delivery redesign.
Holistic needs assessment (HNA) and care planning is proposed to address unmet needs of people treated for cancer. We tested whether HNA and care planning by an allied health professional improved cancer-specific quality of life for women following curative treatment for stage I-III gynaecological cancer. Methods Consecutive women were invited to participate in a randomised controlled study (HNA and care planning vs. usual care) at a UK cancer centre. Data were collected by questionnaire at baseline, three and six months. The outcomes were six month change in EORTC-QLQ-C30 global score (primary), and in EORTC sub-scales, generic quality of life, self-efficacy (secondary). The study was blinded for data management and analysis. Differences in outcomes were compared between groups. Health service utilisation and Quality Adjusted Life Years (from SF-6) were gathered for a cost-effectiveness analysis. Thematic analysis was used to interpret data from an exit interview. Results 150 women consented (75 per group), ten undertook interviews. For 124 participants (61 intervention, 63 controls) with complete data, no statistically significant differences were seen between groups in the primary end-point. The majority of those interviewed reported important personal gains they attributed to the intervention which reflected trends to improvement seen in EORTC functional and symptom scales. Economic analysis suggests a 62% probability of cost-effectiveness at a £30,000/QALY threshold. Conclusion: Care plan development with an allied health professional is cost-effective, acceptable and useful for some women treated for stage 1-111 gynaecological cancer. We recommend its introduction early in the pathway to support person-centred care.
Objectives To identify information available in six European countries (England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden) that addresses the specific needs of people with young onset dementia (YOD) and their carers, and identify gaps. Methods Search of websites of organisations with potential interest in dementia. Narrative synthesis and comparative analysis. Results 21 sources of information were identified (Netherlands 6, England 6, France 3, Germany 2, Portugal 2, Sweden 2); 11 were from voluntary sector organisations. Sources dedicated to YOD were limited (4 websites, 4 books); all other YOD information was sub-entries in generic dementia sources, difficult to locate and with limited coverage of relevant topics. Gaps related to implications of living with YOD in Germany, Portugal and Sweden. Conclusion Availability of information varies among countries, some having no dedicated source and incomplete coverage of issues of importance to YOD. Practical implications Information is an important means of supporting carers; their needs change as the condition progresses. A comprehensive resource collating key information is needed so that the issues that differentiate the specific needs of people living with YOD from those of people with dementia in older age are available and easily located.
Background: Therapeutic radiotherapy is an important treatment of pelvic cancers. Historically, low-fiber diets have been recommended despite a lack of evidence and potentially beneficial mechanisms of fiber. Objective: This randomized controlled trial compared low-, habitual-, and high-fiber diets for the prevention of gastrointestinal toxicity in patients undergoing pelvic radiotherapy. Design: Patients were randomly assigned to low-fiber [≤10 g nonstarch polysaccharide (NSP)/d], habitual-fiber (control), or high-fiber (≥18 g NSP/d) diets and received individualized counseling at the start of radiotherapy to achieve these targets. The primary endpoint was the difference between groups in the change in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire–Bowel Subset (IBDQ-B) score between the starting and nadir (worst) score during treatment. Other measures included macronutrient intake, stool diaries, and fecal short-chain fatty acid concentrations. Results: Patients were randomly assigned to low-fiber (n = 55), habitual-fiber (n = 55), or high-fiber (n = 56) dietary advice. Fiber intakes were significantly different between groups (P < 0.001). The difference between groups in the change in IBDQ-B scores between the start and nadir was not significant (P = 0.093). However, the change in score between the start and end of radiotherapy was smaller in the high-fiber group (mean ± SD: −3.7 ± 12.8) than in the habitual-fiber group (−10.8 ± 13.5; P = 0.011). At 1-y postradiotherapy (n = 126) the difference in IBDQ-B scores between the high-fiber (+0.1 ± 14.5) and the habitual-fiber (−8.4 ± 13.3) groups was significant (P = 0.004). No significant differences were observed in stool frequency or form or in short-chain fatty acid concentrations. Significant reductions in energy, protein, and fat intake occurred in the low- and habitual-fiber groups only.
Conclusions: Dietary advice to follow a high-fiber diet during pelvic radiotherapy resulted in reduced gastrointestinal toxicity both acutely and at 1 y compared with habitual-fiber intake. Restrictive, non–evidence-based advice to reduce fiber intake in this setting should be abandoned. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT 01170299.
Families with children with disabilities can feel isolated during school holidays and concerns exist that they face greater difficulties than families of children without disabilities in finding enriching activities for their child. In the context of national policies that encourage integrated play, local service commissioners in England require evidence on what sort of short breaks parents and children prefer. The parents of 99 children with disabilities and 43 children without disabilities attending various holiday play schemes in summer 2010 completed mailed questionnaires. Parents of children with disabilities reported more difficulty getting information, less choice of schemes and further distances to travel than parents of children without disabilities. Although 72% of parents of children without disabilities and 55.5% of parents of children with disabilities stated integrated schemes would be suitable for their child, open text comments provided weaker support. Variety of provision is required to meet all needs and preferences.
Background: Over 20 distressing gastrointestinal symptoms affect many patients after pelvic radiotherapy, but in the United Kingdom few are referred for assessment. Algorithmic-based treatment delivered by either a consultant gastroenterologist or clinical nurse specialist has been shown in a randomised trial to be statistically and clinically more effective than provision of a self-help booklet. In this study we assessed cost-effectiveness. Methods: Outcomes were measured at baseline (pre randomisation) and six months. Change in quality adjusted life years (QALY) was the primary outcome for the economic evaluation; a secondary analysis used change in the bowel subset score of the modified Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ-B). Intervention costs, British pounds 2013, covered visits with the gastroenterologist or nurse, investigations, medications and treatments. Incremental outcomes and incremental costs were estimated simultaneously using multivariate linear regression. Uncertainty was handled non-parametrically using bootstrap with replacement. Results: The mean (SD) cost of treatment was £895 (499) for the nurse, £1101 (567) for the consultant. The nurse was dominated by usual care which was cheaper and achieved better outcomes. The mean cost per QALY gained from the consultant, compared to usual care, was £250,455; comparing the consultant to the nurse, it was £25,875. Algorithmic care produced better outcomes compared to the booklet only, as reflected in the IBDQ-B results, at a cost of approximately £1,000. Conclusion: Algorithmic treatment of radiation bowel injury by consultant or nurse results in significant symptom relief for patients, but was not found to be cost-effective according to the NICE criteria.
In the UK secondary care setting, the case for physician associates is based on the cover and stability they might offer to medical teams. We assessed the extent of their adoption and deployment - that is, their current usage and the factors supporting or inhibiting their inclusion in medical teams - using an electronic, self-report survey of medical directors of acute and mental health NHS trusts in England. Physician associates - employed in small numbers, in a range of specialties, in 20 of the responding trusts - were reported to have been employed to fill gaps in medical staffing and support medical specialty trainees. Inhibiting factors were commonly a shortage of physician associates to recruit and lack of authority to prescribe, as well as a lack of evidence and colleague resistance. Our data suggest there is an appetite for employment of physician associates while practical and attitudinal barriers are yet to be fully overcome.
Purpose: To compare patient-triggered follow-up (PTFU) for curatively treated colorectal cancer against traditional outpatient follow-up (OPFU). Methods: Questionnaires were mailed at four time points over one-year post-treatment to two prospectively-recruited cohorts: A, patients entering follow-up and receiving OPFU pre-implementation of PTFU; B, patients entering follow-up (FU) and receiving either OPFU (B1) or PTFU (B2) post-implementation of PTFU. Bi-variate tests were used to compare patient characteristics and outcomes eight months after entering follow-up (generic and cancer-specific quality of life (QoL), satisfaction). Regression analysis explored associations between follow-up model and outcomes. Resource implications and costs of models were compared. Results: Patients in Cohort B1 were significantly more likely to have received chemotherapy (p<0.001), radiotherapy (p<0.05), and reported poorer QoL (p=0.001). Having a longstanding co-morbid condition was the most important determinant of QoL (p<0.001); model of care was not significant. Patients were satisfied with their follow-up care regardless of model. Health service costs were higher in PTFU over the first year Conclusions: PTFU is acceptable to patients with colorectal cancer and can be considered to be a realistic alternative to OPFU for clinically suitable patients. The initial costs are higher due to provision of a self-management (SM) programme and remote surveillance. . Further research is needed to establish long-term outcomes and costs.
Background/Aims: Use of placebo is the ideal for comparison in clinical trials to reduce biases. With digital technology being used more frequently in healthcare interventions, how do we determine the placebo effect where interventions exploit technology? If placebo in medicine is traditionally defined by a lack of pharmacological agents, how might we begin to move towards controlling for effects of digital technology?
Method: This paper explores the traditional placebo effect and discusses its impact in healthcare contexts with digital technology with reference to a particular trial. Different meanings of placebo in the context of evaluating technology suggest new challenges and positive consequences.
Results: Methodological considerations are discussed, which enabled the development of a placebo-controlled evaluation of a digital technology in healthcare and rehabilitation.
Conclusion: Digital placebo was controlled in our trial by employing technology across all groups in the absence of evidence-based practice and shows how to control for unknown and hidden effects of technology.
Introduction: We conducted a survey amongst families of children with cerebral palsy to ascertain the ownership and therapeutic use and potential of commercial games consoles to improve motor function. Method: Three hundred families in South East England were identified through clinical records, and were requested to complete an anonymised questionnaire. Results: A total of 61 families (20% response) returned a completed questionnaire with 41 (68%) identified males and 19 (32%) identified females with cerebral palsy, with a mean age of 11 years 5 months (SD 3Y 7M). The large majority of families, 59 (97%), owned a commercial console and the child used this for 50–300 minutes a week. Returns by severity of motor impairment were: Gross Motor Function Classification System I (22%), II (32%), III (13%), IV (15%), V (18%). Consoles were used regularly for play across all Gross Motor Function Classification System categories. Conclusion: The potential of games consoles, as home-based virtual reality therapy, in improving the motor function of children with cerebral palsy should be appropriately tested in a randomised controlled trial. Wide ownership, and the relative ease with which children engage in the use of commercially-based virtual reality therapy systems, suggests potential as a means of augmenting therapy protocols, taking advantage of interest and participation patterns of families.
Objective: Typically, attention focuses on how nutrition affects physical health. The present study investigated the importance that parents attach to the impact of diet on mental performance when choosing food for their child. Design: Questionnaire. Setting: Four European countries. Subjects: Parents of children aged 4–10 years (n 1574): England (n 397), Germany (n 389), Hungary (n 398) and Spain (n 390). Results: Most parents (80–85 %) considered the effect of food on four elements of mental performance (child’s ability to learn, attention, behaviour, mood) to be moderately, very, extremely (v. slightly, not at all) important in food choices; over 90% considered healthiness of food and making food appealing to their child important; 79·8% cost; 76·8% convenience. Belief that food affects mental performance was 57·4% (ability to learn), 60·5% (attention); less than 40% of parents agreed they were aware which foods had an effect. Parents with lower general interest in healthy eating were less likely to consider the effect of food on mental performance elements as important. Respondents from Germany were more likely to rate mental performance as important (except behaviour); those in Hungary less likely. The most important influence on parents’ decisions about feeding their child was their own experience, except Spain, where family/friends/ health professionals were more important. Conclusions: Nutrition affects brain development and cognitive functioning. Low prioritisation of the effect of food on mental performance indicates potential for educating parents.
This article aims to investigate associations between perceived control and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) with dietary changes after prostate cancer diagnosis and to explore General Practitioners’ (GPs) perceptions on the role of diet in prostate cancer post-diagnosis. Ninety-five prostate cancer patients completed measures of dietary change, one for after diagnosis and another for after therapy. They also scored their HRQOL and perceived control. There were discrepancies in dietary changes reported between a general question (28.4% no dietary changes) and a specific (42.1%– 51.5% range of no change for various food items). Most patients initiated healthy changes. Patients who changed their diet after diagnosis had lower cognitive functioning and external locus of control (doctors). Patients who changed their diet after therapy had lower cognitive and emotional functioning, quality of life and external locus of control (doctors). Then, fourty-four GPs responded to an online survey. Their open-ended responses were analysed using Content Analysis. They reported interest in the role of diet in cancer but also lack of relevant knowledge. They were skeptical on providing information. Clinical interventions should consider patients’ cognitive ability, their relationship with their health professional and their wellbeing. Also, GPs’ confidence to provide dietary advice needs to be addressed.
Background: Published evaluations of successful interventions to prevent falls in people with sight impairment (SI) are limited. The aim of this feasibility study is to optimise the design and investigation of home safety (HS) and home exercise (HE) programmes to prevent falls in older people with SI. Methods: A community-based feasibility study in north-west England comprising a three-arm randomised controlled trial (RCT) allocated participants to (1) a control group receiving usual care and social visits, (2) an experimental group receiving the HS programme and (3) an experimental group receiving the HS + HE programme. Participants were community-dwelling, aged 65 years and older and sight impaired. Primary outcome data on falls were collected continuously over 6 months. Secondary outcomes on physical activity (self-report and instrumented) and adherence were collected at baseline and 3 and 6 months for HE and at 6 months for the HS programme. Costs for the HS and HS + HE groups were calculated from logs of time spent on home visits, telephone calls and travel. The research assistant and statistician were blinded to group allocation. Results: Altogether, 49 people were recruited over a 9-month period (randomised: 16 to control, 16 to HS, 17 to HS + HE). The interventions were implemented over 6 months by an occupational therapist at a cost per person (pounds sterling, 2011) of £249 (HS) and £674 (HS + HE). Eighty-eight percent (43/49) completed the trial and 6-month follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, 100 % reported partially or completely adhering to HS recommendations but evidence for adherence to HE was equivocal. Although self-reported physical activity increased, instrumented monitoring showed a decrease in walking activity. There were no statistically significant differences in falls between the groups; however, the study was not powered to detect a difference. Conclusion: It is feasible and acceptable for an occupational therapist to deliver HS and HE falls prevention programmes to people with SI living independently in the community. Future studies could access Local Authority Registers of people with SI to improve recruitment rates. Further research is required to identify how to improve adherence to HE and to measure changes in physical activity before conducting a definitive RCT. Trial registration: ISRCTN53433311, registered on 8 May 2014.
Current plans in the English National Health Service are to replace block contracts for mental health providers with a single tariff for each 'cluster' of conditions. A single tariff will not take into account the potential additional complexity and costs inherent in caring for older people. To examine the basis for a uniform tariff, differences in service utilisation and costs between working age adults and older adults in two populous clusters (non-psychotic, psychotic) were investigated across five mental health healthcare providers in and around London.Retrospective review of records over 3 months assessing service utilisation and costs using the Client Services Receipt Inventory.Records of 362 patients were reviewed, 179 older adults (90 non-psychotic, 89 psychotic) and 183 adults of working age (83 non-psychotic, 100 psychotic). Older adults in both clusters had more tests, assessments and home visits. Overall costs of care of older adults were significantly higher in the non-psychotic cluster (£5634, vs £4405 psychotic, p = 0.044).An appropriate age-related tariff is required for each cluster. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
To calculate the prevalence of long term catheter use in the community in two areas in the south and west of England.People in England register with general practices to access health care through a National Health Service. Catheters are provided by prescription free of charge. In 2008, patients using urinary catheters for over 3 months were identified, and demographic information collected, from databases of general practices, using catheter prescribing records. The age and sex distributions of people in each practice were obtained from capitation claims. Overall, and age and sex-specific prevalence were calculated separately for each area, and compared.A total of 583 long term catheter users (329 south, 254 west) were identified from 404,328 people registered with practices. The overall population prevalence is similar in both locations (0.146% southern, 0.141% western). Extrapolating for the United Kingdom, this is over 90,000 long term catheter users. Prevalence increases with age (0.732% in over 70 years, 1.224% over 80), especially amongst men. Overall, higher proportions have neurological (vs. non-neurological) reasons (62.9% vs. 37.1%) and use urethral (vs. suprapubic) catheters (59.7% vs. 40.3%). Compared to men, more women tend to use suprapubic (56.4% vs. 29.3%) and have a catheter for neurological reasons (71.8% vs. 56.2%, P = 0.053).Previous evidence on prevalence of long term catheter use is sparse, and of variable quality. The strength of this study is utilisation of a reliable source of data (catheter prescriptions) from a large population of patients. Neurourol. Urodynam. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Although the impact of diet on physical health is an important public health issue, less attention has been devoted to the relationship between nutrition and children's mental development. The views of parents and teachers about the extent to which diet affects physical and mental development of children were compared in four European countries. An online questionnaire (developed in English and translated) was circulated through a market research agency. Participants were parents or teachers of children aged 4-10 years without learning or behavioural issues. Questionnaires were returned by 1606 parents (401 in England, Germany and Hungary; 403 in Spain) and 403 teachers (100 in each country, except for 103 in Hungary). Teachers were older than parents (35·3 % v. 18·3 % over 45 years; P<0·001) and less likely to smoke (15·9 % v. 26·3 %, P<0·001). There was no difference between the proportions of parents and teachers who felt that a child's physical development depended very much/extremely (v. moderately/slightly/not at all) on diet (overall 79·8 %). Lower proportions of both groups thought that mental development was very much/extremely influenced by diet (67·4 %). In the regression modelling, believing that physical and mental performance was greatly influenced by diet was significantly and positively associated with living in Hungary, scoring higher on a measure of General Health Interest and (parents only) level of education attained. Differences existed among countries in most views. Lower levels of awareness of the importance of diet for brain development and cognition (compared with physical health outcomes) indicate the potential for educating consumers, especially parents with lower educational attainment.
Background Many people with a terminal illness would prefer to die at home. A new palliative rapid response service (RRS) provided by a large hospice provider in South East England was evaluated (2010) to provide evidence of impact on achieving preferred place of death and costs. The RRS was delivered by a team of trained health care assistants and available 24/7. The purpose of this study was to (i) compare the characteristics of RRS users and non-users, (ii) explore differences in the proportions of users and non-users dying in the place of their choice, (iii) monitor the whole system service utilisation of users and non-users, and compare costs. Methods All hospice patients who died with a preferred place of death recorded during an 18 month period were included. Data (demographic, preferences for place of death) were obtained from hospice records. Dying in preferred place was modelled using stepwise logistic regression analysis. Service use data (period between referral to hospice and death) were obtained from general practitioners, community providers, hospitals, social services, hospice, and costs calculated using validated national tariffs. Results Of 688 patients referred to the hospice when the RRS was operational, 247 (35.9 %) used it. Higher proportions of RRS users than non-users lived in their own homes with a co-resident carer (40.3 % vs. 23.7 %); more non-users lived alone or in residential care (58.8 % vs. 76.3 %). Chances of dying in the preferred place were enhanced 2.1 times by being a RRS user, compared to a non-user, and 1.5 times by having a co-resident carer, compared to living at home alone or in a care home. Total service costs did not differ between users and non-users, except when referred to hospice very close to death (users had higher costs). Conclusions Use of the RRS was associated with increased likelihood of dying in the preferred place. The RRS is cost neutral.
Background: Rapid response services operating 24 h a day have been advocated in UK health policy to support dying patients at home, though there is limited evidence of their effectiveness. Aim: To assess the impact of a rapid response hospice at home service (intervention) on people dying in their preferred place, and carer quality of life, compared to usual care (control). Design: Quasi-experimental multi-centred controlled evaluation. Patient data were collected from hospice records; carers completed postal questionnaires to report quality of life, anxiety and depression. Setting and participants: Community served by one hospice (three contiguous sites) in South East England; 953 patients who died with a preferred place of death recorded and 64 carers who completed questionnaires. Results: There was no significant difference between control and intervention groups in proportions achieving preferred place of death (61.9% vs 63.0% (odds ratio: 0.949; 95% confidence interval: 0.788–1.142)). People living at home alone were less likely to die where they wanted (0.541; 95% confidence interval: 0.438–0.667). Carers in the intervention group reported worse mental health component summary scores (short form-12, p = 0.03) than those in the control group; there were no differences in other carer outcomes. Conclusion: The addition of a rapid response hospice at home service did not have a significant impact on helping patients to die where they wanted in an area already well served by community palliative care. Recording preferences, and changes over time, is difficult and presented challenges for this study.
Objective To compare the performance of three continence management devices and absorbent pads used by men with persistent urinary incontinence (>1 year) after treatment for prostate cancer. Patients and Methods Randomised, controlled trial of 56 men with 1-year follow-up. Three devices were tested for 3 weeks each: sheath drainage system, body-worn urinal (BWU) and penile clamp. Device and pad performance were assessed. Quality of life (QoL) was measured at baseline and follow-up with the King's Health Questionnaire. Stated (intended use) and revealed (actual use) preference for products were assessed. Value-for-money was gathered. Results Substantial and significant differences in performance were found. The sheath was rated as ‘good’ for extended use (e.g. golf and travel) when pad changing is difficult; for keeping skin dry, not leaking, not smelling and convenient for storage and travel. The BWU was generally rated worse than the sheath and was mainly used for similar activities but by men who could not use a sheath (e.g. retracted penis) and was not good for seated activities. The clamp was good for short vigorous activities like swimming/exercise; it was the most secure, least likely to leak, most discreet but almost all men described it as uncomfortable or painful. The pads were good for everyday activities and best for night-time use; most easy to use, comfortable when dry but most likely to leak and most uncomfortable when wet. There was a preference for having a mixture of products to meet daytime needs; around two-thirds of men were using a combination of pads and devices after testing compared with baseline. Conclusions This is the first trial to systematically compare different continence management devices for men. Pads and devices have different strengths, which make them particularly suited to certain circumstances and activities. Most men prefer to use pads at night but would choose a mixture of pads and devices during the day. Device limitations were important but may be overcome by better design.
Background Older people living in care homes often have limited life expectancy. Practitioners and policymakers are increasingly questioning the appropriateness of many acute hospital admissions and the quality of end-of-life care provided in care homes.Aim To describe care home residents’ trajectories to death and care provision in their final weeks of life.Design and setting Prospective study of residents in six residential care homes in three sociodemographically varied English localities: Hertfordshire, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. Method Case note reviews and interviews with residents, care home staff, and healthcare professionals.Results Twenty-three out of 121 recruited residents died during the study period. Four trajectories to death were identified: ‘anticipated dying’ with an identifiable end-of-life care period and death in the care home (n = 9); ‘unexpected dying’ with death in the care home that was not anticipated and often sudden (n = 3); ‘uncertain dying’ with a period of diagnostic uncertainty or difficult symptom management leading to hospital admission and inpatient death (n = 7); and ‘unpredictable dying’ with an unexpected event leading to hospital admission and inpatient death (n = 4). End-of-life care tools were rarely used. Most residents who had had one or more acute hospital admission were still alive at the end of the study.Conclusion For some care home residents there was an identifiable period when they were approaching the end-of-life and planned care was put in place. For others, death came unexpectedly or during a period of considerable uncertainty, with care largely unplanned and reactive to events.
© 2014 Jordan et al.Methods: Participants were recruited in 2006-2007 in a district general hospital in the south of England; those with a diagnosis of cancer or polyps were included in the analysis. Quality of life data were collected using EQ-5D, on alternate days after surgery for 4 weeks. Costs per patient, from a National Health Service perspective (in British pounds, 2006) comprised the sum of operative, hospital, and community costs. Missing data were filled using multiple imputation methods. The difference in mean quality adjusted life years and costs between surgery groups were estimated simultaneously using a multivariate regression model applied to 20 imputed datasets. The probability that laparoscopic surgery is cost-effective compared to open surgery for a given societal willingness-to-pay threshold is illustrated using a cost-effectiveness acceptability curve.Background: Available evidence that compares outcomes from laparoscopic and open surgery for colorectal cancer shows no difference in disease free or survival time, or in health-related quality of life outcomes, but does not capture the short term benefits of laparoscopic methods in the early postoperative period.Aim: To explore the cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic colorectal surgery, compared to open methods, using quality of life data gathered in the first 6 weeks after surgery.Results: The sample comprised 68 laparoscopic and 27 open surgery patients. At 28 days, the incremental cost per quality adjusted life year gained from laparoscopic surgery was £12,375. At a societal willingness-to-pay of £30,000, the probability that laparoscopic surgery is cost-effective, exceeds 65% (at £20,000 ≈60%). In sensitivity analyses, laparoscopic surgery remained cost-effective compared to open surgery, provided it results in a saving £699 in hospital bed days and takes no more than 8 minutes longer to perform.Conclusion: The study provides formal evidence of the cost-effectiveness of laparoscopic approaches and supports current guidelines that promote use of laparoscopy where suitably trained surgeons are available.
Background/Objectives: Several factors affect the mental performance of children. The importance that parents attribute to food-related determinants, compared with genetic, socio-economic and school environment, was investigated.
Subjects/Methods: Parents of school children (aged 4–11) were recruited through state primary schools in four European countries. Interviews were conducted in which participants were asked to sort 18 cards representing possible determinants of four elements of mental performance (attention, learning, mood and behaviour) according to perceived strength of effect. Determinants were identified from the literature and grouped in six categories: food-related, school environment, physical, social, psychological and biological. Effects were scored: 0=none; 1=moderate; and 2=strong. Views were compared between and within countries.
Results: Two hundred parents took part (England: 53; Germany: 45; Hungary: 52; Spain: 50). Differences existed between countries in the proportions reporting university education and being in employment. Taking all countries together, parents consider the food category (mean 1.33) to have a lower impact on a child’s mental performance than physical (activity and sleep, 1.77), psychological (mood and behaviour, 1.69) and school environment (1.57). Social (1.12) and biological (0.91) determinants were ranked lower than food. Of determinants in the food category, parents thought regularity of meals had more influence on mental performance (1.58) than what a child eats now (1.36), food at school (1.35), nutrition as a baby/infant (1.02).
Conclusion: Scope exists to improve parental awareness of the repercussions of their dietary choices for the mental performance of their children.
Background: While most people faced with a terminal illness would prefer to die at home, less than a third in England are enabled to do so with many dying in National Health Service hospitals. Patients are more likely to die at home if their carers receive professional support. Hospice rapid response teams, which provide specialist palliative care at home on a 24/7 on-call basis, are proposed as an effective way to help terminally ill patients die in their preferred place, usually at home. However, the effectiveness of rapid response teams has not been rigorously evaluated in terms of patient, carer and cost outcomes. Methods/Design: The study is a pragmatic quasi-experimental controlled trial. The primary outcome for the quantitative evaluation for patients is dying in their preferred place of death. Carers quality of life will be evaluated using postal questionnaires sent at patient intake to the hospice service and eight months later. Carers perceptions of care received and the patients death will be assessed in one to one interviews at 6 to 8 months post bereavement. Service utilisation costs including the rapid response intervention will be compared to those of usual care. Discussion: The study will contribute to the development of the evidence base on outcomes for patients and carers and costs of hospice rapid response teams operating in the community. Trial registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN32119670. © 2012 Butler et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:Infant feeding decisions made by new parents have significant health implications. The study aimed to investigate: influences on infant feeding decisions; characteristics of mothers reporting reliance on alternative information sources; associations between reliance on different sources and intentions to exclusively breastfeed and introduce complementary foods later; and subsequent breastfeeding and weaning behaviours.SUBJECTS/ METHODS:First-time mothers in five European countries (England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain) completed questionnaires about the importance of 17 influences on infant feeding choices at birth and 8 months later, during 2007-2008. Use of individual sources and reliance on four categories (family and friends, health professionals, written materials, audio-visual media) were compared between countries. Associations between information sources used and mother characteristics, feeding intentions and behaviours were investigated using appropriate statistical tests.RESULTS:In all, 2071 first-time mothers provided baseline data; 78% at 8 months. Variation exists between countries in the influence of different sources on feeding decisions of first-time mothers. Across all countries, the most important influences at both time points were books, partner and antenatal midwife. Mothers in higher income quintiles and remaining at school beyond age 16 years reported greater reliance on written sources (P0.0005). Mothers relying most on written sources reported longer exclusive breastfeeding (P0.002), and a tendency to introduce foods other than milk later (P0.079) than mothers relying most on personal or professional contacts.CONCLUSION:Further research is required about which dissemination strategies are most effective at improving infant feeding behaviours in varied cultural settings, and for different socio-economic groups. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited.
Aims: To (i) compare the views of general practitioners (GPs) and parents about the causes, consequences and management of childhood overweight/obesity; and (ii) explore the extent to which they can identify overweight/obesity in children. Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all GPs in one Primary Care Trust and all parents in one primary school in southern England, 2008. Information was gathered on socio-demographic background, views about causes, consequences and management of childhood overweight/obesity; judgements about the weight status of 14 images of children (seven boys, seven girls) in the Children's Body Image Scale (CBIS). Comparisons were made between GP and parents' responses using unpaired bivariate tests. Results: The response rate was 33%. Differences exist between the views of GPs and parents about childhood weight management: 86.4% of parents felt GPs should be involved, compared to 73.3% of GPs (P < 0.001). Parents thought GPs should be more proactive than the GPs stated they would be. GPs were significantly more likely than parents to see a role for school nurses and dieticians. One third of respondents thought GPs lacked expertise in child weight management. Most GPs and parents correctly identified obese children from the images, but inaccuracies occurred at category margins. Conclusions: Childhood overweight/obesity is a serious public health concern, and primary care has a role to play in tackling it. GPs in England need more training in childhood overweight/obesity management. Their role needs to be clarified in the context of multiagency approaches.
Objective: To compare two approaches to providing training to care assistants in Parkinson's disease.Design: Pragmatic parallel arm controlled trial.Setting: Training either by an interactive training day at a local medical education establishment or self study.Subjects: Care assistants recruited from local health and social care providers.Interventions: The content of both interventions was similar, covering causes, symptoms, diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, multidisciplinary management, mobility, communication, swallowing, and involving 5 hours of study time.Main measures: Knowledge about Parkinson's (assessed by true/false quizzes and identifying 'four facts' about Parkinson's) immediately post training and six weeks later; views on training methods of care assistants and employers/managers.Results: Thirty-seven employers nominated 100 care staff who were allocated to interactive training (49) and self study (51). Training completion rates (retained to six-week follow-up) were lower for self study (42.1% vs. 83.7% training day). There were no significant differences between groups on quiz or 'four facts' scores at baseline or six-week follow-up. Immediately post training, the self-study group (with access to written materials) had significantly higher quiz scores than the training day group (no access to materials at test). Within-group comparisons showed improvements post training. Although interactive training may be preferred, obtaining release from duties can be problematic.Conclusions: Both approaches have similar effects on knowledge of care assistants without prior specific training. Providing a variety of approaches will cater for all preferences. The findings may be generalizable to training the care workforce for other specific roles. © The Author(s) 2011.
Purpose: To investigate clinical, demographic and dietary factors associated with constipation in a sample of community dwelling people with Parkinson's disease, recruited through a specialist outpatient clinic. Partners/carers provided a convenience control group. Scope: Participants completed a baseline questionnaire (background information, diet and exercise, activities of daily living: mobility and manual dexterity, health-related quality of life (SF-12), stool frequency and characteristics, extent of concern due to constipation, laxative taking), and a four-week stool diary. The Rome criterion was used to determine constipation status. Multiple regression methods were used to explore the correlates of constipation. Baseline data were provided by 121 people with Parkinson's, (54 controls), of whom 73% (25%) met the Rome criterion. Prospective diary data from 106 people with Parkinson's (43 controls) showed lower proportions: 35% (7%) meeting the Rome criterion. Among all study subjects, i.e. Parkinson's patients and controls taken together, the presence of constipation is predicted by having Parkinson's disease (p=.003; odds ratio 4.80, 95% CI 1.64-14.04) and mobility score (p=.04; odds ratio 1.15, 95% CI 1.01-1.31), but not by dietary factors. Amongst people with Parkinson's constipation is predicted by number of medications (p=.027). Laxative taking masks constipation, and is significantly associated with wearing protection against bowel incontinence (p=.009; odds ratio 4.80, 95% CI: 1.48-15.52). Conclusions: Constipation is disease-related, not a lifestyle factor. More research is needed on optimal management and laxative use. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Health and social care agencies in the UK. have been under pressure for some time to reduce delayed transfers of older people from hospital because they absorb scarce health service resources and incur a human cost through inappropriate placement. A local study based on an analysis of records and interviews with managers showed that delays reflect the complex needs of older people, and arise from financing and organisational problems at both the planning and implementation stages of a discharge. Family resistance may also be a factor. Budgetary constraints result in delays in confirming public support for some clients. Shortages of professional staff and care assistants limit the provision of domiciliary packages. The contraction of the residential sector has reduced the availability of beds and increased the cost of care home placements. Scope exists for expediting administrative aspects of transfers by coordinating health and social services. More recent legislation that imposes fines on social service departments for delayed transfers does not address underlying causes.
Background: Care homes are the institutional providers of long-term care for older people. The OPTIMAL study argued that it is probable that there are key activities within different models of health-care provision that are important for residents’ health care.
Objectives: To understand ‘what works, for whom, why and in what circumstances?’. Study questions focused on how different mechanisms within the various models of service delivery act as the ‘active ingredients’ associated with positive health-related outcomes for care home residents.
Methods: Using realist methods we focused on five outcomes: (1) medication use and review; (2) use of out-of-hours services; (3) hospital admissions, including emergency department attendances and length of hospital stay; (4) resource use; and (5) user satisfaction. Phase 1: interviewed stakeholders and reviewed the evidence to develop an explanatory theory of what supported good health-care provision for further testing in phase 2. Phase 2 developed a minimum data set of resident characteristics and tracked their care for 12 months. We also interviewed residents, family and staff receiving and providing health care to residents. The 12 study care homes were located on the south coast, the Midlands and the east of England. Health-care provision to care homes was distinctive in each site.
Findings: Phase 1 found that health-care provision to care homes is reactive and inequitable. The realist review argued that incentives or sanctions, agreed protocols, clinical expertise and structured approaches to assessment and care planning could support improved health-related outcomes; however, to achieve change NHS professionals and care home staff needed to work together from the outset to identify, co-design and implement agreed approaches to health care. Phase 2 tested this further and found that, although there were few differences between the sites in residents’ use of resources, the differences in service integration between the NHS and care homes did reflect how these institutions approached activities that supported relational working. Key to this was how much time NHS staff and care home staff had had to learn how to work together and if the work was seen as legitimate, requiring ongoing investment by commissioners and engagement from practitioners. Residents appreciated the general practitioner (GP) input and, when supported by other care home-specific NHS services, GPs reported that it wa
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