My first degree was in English Literature followed by a conversion degree in Psychology, leading to MScs in Research Methods and Applied Social Psychology and eventually a PhD focused on the Psychology of creative processes. I have since been building experience in research work, specialising in qualitative research methods and investigating topics as diverse as Food Labelling, Responsible Research and Innovation, ethics in social care, adoption of mobile health devices and marine plastic pollution. The bulk of my time is now devoted to exploring the world of non-medical prescribing, in particular amongst dietitians and radiographers.
Objective: Health claims on food packaging are regulated to inform and protect consumers, however many consumers do not accurately interpret the meaning of the claims. Whilst research has shown different types of misinterpretation, it is not clear how those interpretations are formed. The aim of this study is to elicit the causal beliefs and causal models about food and health held by consumers, i.e. their understanding of the causal relationships between nutrients, health outcomes and the causal pathways connecting them, and investigate how well this knowledge explains the variation in inferences they draw about health benefits from health claims.
Method: 400 participants from Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, and the UK were presented with 7 authorised health claims and drew inferences about the health benefits of consuming nutrients specified in the claim. Then their personal causal models of health were elicited along with their belief in the truth and familiarity with the claims.
Results: The strength of inferences about health benefits that participants drew from the claims were predicted independently by the strength of the relevant causal pathways within the causal model, and belief in the truth of the claim, but not familiarity with the claim. Participants drew inferences about overall health benefits of the nutrients by extrapolating from their causal models of health.
Conclusion: Consumers? interpretation of claims is associated with their belief in the claim and their causal models of health. This prior knowledge is used to interpret the claim and draw inferences about overall health benefits that go beyond the information in the claim. Therefore efforts to improve consumers? understanding and interpretation of health claims must address both their wider causal models of health and their knowledge of specific claims.
This paper discusses findings from an immersive simulation pilot project whereby six domiciliary care-givers took on the profile of people receiving domiciliary care. Five domiciliary care-givers received care in their own homes and one received care in the training area of their domiciliary care company. Care was delivered by 2nd and 3rd year student nurses with support from a registered nurse. The following themes from post-intervention interviews and a focus group with the care-givers who assumed the profile of a care-recipient (simulants) are discussed: Recognising the need for stimulation; Reflecting on the importance of person-centred communication; The value of companionship and confidence in care-givers; Understanding boundaries and vulnerabilities; and Empathy and practice changes.
After the experience most participants reported viewing care differently and being more attuned to the wishes of care-recipients.
The rise in use of food supplements based on botanical ingredients (herbal supplements) is depicted as part of a trend empowering consumers to manage their day-to-day health needs, which presupposes access to clear and accurate information to make effective choices. Evidence regarding herbal supplement efficacy is extremely variable so recent regulations eliminating unsubstantiated claims about potential effects leave producers able to provide very little information about their products. Medical practitioners are rarely educated about herbal supplements and most users learn about them via word-of-mouth, allowing dangerous misconceptions to thrive, chief among them the assumption that natural products are inherently safe. Print media is prolific among the information channels still able to freely discuss herbal supplements.
This study thematically analyses how 76 newspaper/magazine articles from the UK, Romania and Italy portray the potential risks and benefits of herbal supplements.
Most articles referenced both risks and benefits and were factually accurate but often lacked context and impartiality. More telling was how the risks and benefits were framed in service of a chosen narrative, the paucity of authoritative information allowing journalists leeway to recontextualise herbal supplements in ways that serviced the goals and values of their specific publications and readerships.
Providing sufficient information to empower consumers should not be the responsibility of print media, instead an accessible source of objective information is required.
Methods: A suite of user needs studies was conducted in 4 European countries (Greece, Italy, Slovenia, the UK) prior to the development of PD_Manager, a mHealth-based CDSS designed for Parkinson?s Disease, using wireless technology. Study 1 undertook Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) including elicitation of user needs, cognitive demands and perceived risks/benefits (ethical considerations) associated with the proposed CDSS, through structured interviews of prescribing clinicians (N=47). Study 2 carried out computational modelling of prescribing clinicians? (N=12) decision strategies based on social judgment theory. Study 3 was a vignette study of prescribing clinicians? (N=18) willingness to change treatment based on either self-reported symptoms data, devices-generated symptoms data or combinations of both.
Results: Study 1 indicated that system development should move away from the traditional silos of ?motor? and ?non-motor? symptom evaluations and suggest that presenting data on symptoms according to goal-based domains would be the most beneficial approach, the most important being patients? overall Quality of Life (QoL). The computational modelling in Study 2 extrapolated different factor combinations when making judgements about different questions. Study 3 indicated that the clinicians were equally likely to change the care plan based on information about the change in the patient?s condition from the patient?s self-report and the wearable devices.
Conclusions: Based on our approach, we could formulate the following principles of mHealth design: 1) enabling shared decision making between the clinician, patient and the carer; 2) flexibility that accounts for diagnostic and treatment variation among clinicians; 3) monitoring of information integration from multiple sources. Our approach highlighted the central importance of the patient-clinician relationship in clinical decision making and the relevance of theoretical as opposed to algorithm (technology)-based modelling of human judgment.