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Many Western countries have seen an increase in the volume and importance of external consultants in the public policy process. This book is the first to investigate this phenomenon in a comparative and interdisciplinary way. The analysis shows who these consultants are, how widely and for what reasons they are used in Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands and Sweden. In doing so, the book addresses the positive and negative implications of high levels of external policy consultancy, including its implications for the nature of the state (transforming into a contractor state?) and for democratically legitimized and accountable decision-making (transforming into consultocracy?). It provides valuable new insights for students and practitioners in the fields of public administration, public policy, public management, political science and human resource management.
Introduction: Burnout includes emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA). Emergency Department (ED) staff have high levels of burnout that may be responsive to communication skills training. We surveyed ED staff perception of need and efficacy before and after an intervention using an established conflict resolution methodology. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff were surveyed at two regional hospitals using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and a communications questionnaire to establish the perceived need for communication skill training. Participants from one center were provided with a communications intervention (Crucial Conversations®, VitalSmarts®), and a refresher course 6-15 months later. The survey was then repeated at both sites and course participant feedback was elicited. Results: MBI results were high (mean EE = 25.25 (high > 25), 95% CI = 22.5-28; DP = 11.6 (high > 8), 95% CI = 10.1-13.2; PA = 35.85 (low <34), 95% CI = 34.3-37.4). Initially 82% of intervention and 77% of control site participants responded that “attending an educational session about ways to communicate better would help the participants at work”. Post intervention group responses to “The program will be helpful to me in communicating more effectively in my work environment” were: 75% “strongly agree” and 25% “agree”. No rating below “agree” was assigned by any of the participants. Participants preferred facilitated small group simulations and advocated for earlier career implementation. Conclusion: There was a perceived need for and impact from communication skills training for ED staff with high measured burnout. Training may be best implemented in small group simulated encounters and in health professional education curriculum or as part of work orientation.
Introduction: Although use of point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols for patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the Emergency Department (ED) is widespread, our previously reported SHoC-ED study showed no clear survival or length of stay benefit for patients assessed with PoCUS. In this analysis, we examine if the use of PoCUS changed fluid administration and rates of other emergency interventions between patients with different shock types. The primary comparison was between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock types. Methods: A post-hoc analysis was completed on the database from an RCT of 273 patients who presented to the ED with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP <100 or shock index > 1) and who had been randomized to receive standard care with or without PoCUS in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Shock categories and diagnoses recorded at 60 minutes after ED presentation, were used to allocate patients into subcategories of shock for analysis of treatment. We analyzed actual care delivered including initial IV fluid bolus volumes (mL), rates of inotrope use and major procedures. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: Although there were expected differences in the mean fluid bolus volume between patients with non-cardiogenic and cardiogenic shock, there was no difference in fluid bolus volume between the control and PoCUS groups (non-cardiogenic control 1878 mL (95% CI 1550 – 2206 mL) vs. non-cardiogenic PoCUS 1687 mL (1458 – 1916 mL); and cardiogenic control 768 mL (194 – 1341 mL) vs. cardiogenic PoCUS 981 mL (341 – 1620 mL). Likewise there were no differences in rates of inotrope administration, or major procedures for any of the subcategories of shock between the control group and PoCUS group patients. The most common subcategory of shock was distributive. Conclusion: Despite differences in care delivered by subcategory of shock, we did not find any significant difference in actual care delivered between patients who were examined using PoCUS and those who were not. This may help to explain the previously reported lack of outcome difference between groups.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) staff carry a high risk for the burnout syndrome of increased emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and decreased personal accomplishment. Previous research has shown that task-oriented coping skills were associated with reduced levels of burnout compared to emotion-oriented coping. ED staff at one hospital participated in an intervention to teach task-oriented coping skills. We hypothesized that the intervention would alter staff coping behaviors and ultimately reduce burnout. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff at two regional hospitals were surveyed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Surveys were performed before and after the implementation of communication and conflict resolution skills training at the intervention facility (I) consisting of a one-day course and a small group refresher 6 to 15 months later. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis assessed differences in staff burnout and coping styles compared to the control facility (C) and over time. Results: 85/143 (I) and 42/110 (C) ED staff responded to the initial survey. Post intervention 46 (I) and 23(C) responded. During the two year study period there was no statistically significant difference in CISS or MBI scores between hospitals (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .02, F(3,63) = .47, p = .71, partial η2 = .02); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .11, p = .95, partial η2 = .01)) or between pre- and post-intervention groups (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .22, p = .88, partial η2 = .01); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .09, F(3,63) = 2.15, p = .10, partial η2 = .01)). Conclusion: We were not able to measure improvement in staff coping or burnout in ED staff receiving communication skills intervention over a two year period. Burnout is a multifactorial problem and environmental rather than individual factors may be more important to address. Alternatively, to demonstrate a measurable effect on burnout may require more robust or inclusive interventions.
Introduction: There is currently no protocol for the initiation of extra corporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Atlantic Canada. Advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform advanced cardiac life support in the prehospital setting often completing the entire resuscitation on-scene. Implementation of ECPR will present a novel intervention that is only available at the receiving hospital, altering how ACPs manage selected patients. Our objective is to determine if an educational program can improve paramedic identification of ECPR candidates. Methods: An educational program was delivered to paramedics including a short seminar and pocket card coupled with simulations of OHCA cases. A before and after study design using a case-based survey was employed. Paramedics were scored on their ability to correctly identify OHCA patients who met the inclusion criteria for our ECPR protocol. Scores before and after the education delivery were compared using a two tailed t-test. A 6-month follow-up is planned to assess knowledge retention. Qualitative data was also collected from paramedics during simulation to help identify potential barriers to implementation of our protocol in the prehospital setting. Results: Nine advanced care paramedics participated in our educational program. Mean score pre-education was 9.7/16 (61.1%) compared to 14/16 (87.5%) after education delivery. The mean difference between groups was 4.22 (CI = 2.65-5.80, p = 0.0003). There was a significant improvement in the paramedics’ ability to correctly identify ECPR candidates after completing our educational program. Conclusion: Paramedic training through a didactic session coupled with a pocket card and simulation appears to be a feasible method of knowledge translation. 6-month retention data will help ensure knowledge retention is achieved. If successful, this pilot will be expanded to train all paramedics in our prehospital system as we seek to implement an ECPR protocol at our centre.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has been reported to improve diagnosis in non-traumatic hypotensive ED patients. We compared diagnostic performance of physicians with and without PoCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive patients as part of an international prospective randomized controlled study. The primary outcome was diagnostic performance of PoCUS for cardiogenic vs. non-cardiogenic shock. Methods: SHoC-ED recruited hypotensive patients (SBP < 100 mmHg or shock index > 1) in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. We describe previously unreported secondary outcomes relating to diagnostic accuracy. Patients were randomized to standard clinical assessment (No PoCUS) or PoCUS groups. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses including shock category were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes. Final diagnosis was determined by independent blinded chart review. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: 273 patients were enrolled with follow-up for primary outcome completed for 270. Baseline demographics and perceived category of shock were similar between groups. 11% of patients were determined to have cardiogenic shock. PoCUS had a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% CI 54.8 to 93.0%), specificity 95.5% (90.0 to 98.1%), LR+ve 17.9 (7.34 to 43.8), LR-ve 0.21 (0.08 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 85.6 (18.2 to 403.6) and accuracy 93.7% (88.0 to 97.2%) for cardiogenic shock. Standard assessment without PoCUS had a sensitivity of 91.7% (64.6 to 98.5%), specificity 93.8% (87.8 to 97.0%), LR+ve 14.8 (7.1 to 30.9), LR- of 0.09 (0.01 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 166.6 (18.7 to 1481) and accuracy of 93.6% (87.8 to 97.2%). There was no significant difference in sensitivity (-11.7% (-37.8 to 18.3%)) or specificity (1.73% (-4.67 to 8.29%)). Diagnostic performance was also similar between other shock subcategories. Conclusion: As reported in other studies, PoCUS based assessment performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test. However performance was similar to standard (non-PoCUS) assessment, which was excellent in this study.
Misplacing objects is often reported as a clinically important symptom in dementia. Here we explored misplacing objects in relation to dementia type and stage in an online sample of individuals with dementia and their caregivers.
Participants were recruited from www.dementiaguide.com, a web-based tracker for common dementia symptoms. Users provided information about symptoms that they selected as important for monitoring. We analysed cross-sectional data from respondents who tracked at least three symptoms, which allowed for staging dementia severity.
Of 2,775 users with three-plus symptoms, 787 (28%) identified misplacing objects for symptom tracking. Misplacing objects was monitored by users across all stages of dementia, but was more prevalent in mild and severe dementia. Three common clinical subtypes of misplacing were investigated: lost & found (forgetting the location of items), hidden away (hiding items so others would not find them), and odd places (putting items in usual spots). Of the 787, 96% targeted lost & found, the most frequent type. Odd places (targeted in 56%) significantly increased with dementia severity (p < 0.001). Misplacing objects was most strongly associated with the symptoms of interaction with strangers (OR 4.60, 95% CI: 3.20-6.62), reading (3.68: 2.86-4.73), shopping (3.55: 2.73-4.61) and travel/vacationing (3.31: 2.54-4.31).
Misplacing objects was most often selected for tracking in mild and severe stages of dementia. As disease advances, misplacing more often reflects odd placement of objects rather than their simple loss. Misplacing objects may be a clinically important therapeutic target for improving patients’ quality of life and lessening caregiver burden.
We consider a linear operator pencil with complex parameter mapping one Hilbert space onto another. It is known that the resolvent is analytic in an open annular region of the complex plane centred at the origin if and only if the coefficients of the Laurent series satisfy a doubly-infinite set of left and right fundamental equations and are suitably bounded. If the resolvent has an isolated singularity at the origin we propose a recursive orthogonal decomposition of the domain and range spaces that enables us to construct the key nonorthogonal projections that separate the singular and regular components of the resolvent and subsequently allows us to find a formula for the basic solution to the fundamental equations. We show that each Laurent series coefficient in the singular part of the resolvent can be approximated by a weakly convergent sequence of finite-dimensional matrix operators and we show how our analysis can be extended to find a global expression for the resolvent of a linear pencil in the case where the resolvent has only a finite number of isolated singularities.
In modelling joint probability distributions it is often desirable to incorporate standard marginal distributions and match a set of key observed mixed moments. At the same time it may also be prudent to avoid additional unwarranted assumptions. The problem is to find the least ordered distribution that respects the prescribed constraints. In this paper we will construct a suitable joint probability distribution by finding the checkerboard copula of maximum entropy that allows us to incorporate the appropriate marginal distributions and match the nominated set of observed moments.
When two trains travel along the same track in the same direction, it is a common safety requirement that the trains must be separated by at least two signals. This means that there will always be at least one clear section of track between the two trains. If the safe-separation condition is violated, then the driver of the following train must adopt a revised strategy that will enable the train to stop at the next signal if necessary. One simple way to ensure safe separation is to define a prescribed set of latest allowed section exit times for the leading train and a corresponding prescribed set of earliest allowed section entry times for the following train. We will find strategies that minimize the total tractive energy required for both trains to complete their respective journeys within the overall allowed journey times and subject to the additional prescribed section clearance times. We assume that the drivers use a discrete control mechanism and show that the optimal driving strategy for each train is defined by a sequence of approximate speedholding phases at a uniquely defined optimal driving speed on each section and that the sequence of optimal driving speeds is a decreasing sequence for the leading train and an increasing sequence for the following train. We illustrate our results by finding optimal strategies and associated speed profiles for both trains in some elementary but realistic examples.
Background: Continuous video-EEG (cvEEG) monitoring is the standard of care for diagnosis and management of neonatal seizures. However, it is labour-intensive. We aimed to establish consistency in monitoring of newborns utilising NICU nurses. Methods: Neonatal nurses were trained to apply scalp electrodes, troubleshoot technical issues. Guidelines, checklists and visual training modules were developed. A central network system allowed remote access to the cvEEGs by the epileptologist for timely interpretation and feedback. We compared 100 infants with moderate to severe HIE before and after the training program. Results: 192 cvEEGs were performed. Of the 100 infants compared; time to initiate brain monitoring decreased by average of 31.5 hours, in electrographic seizure detection increased(20% compared to 34% a), seizure clinical misdiagnosis decreased (65% compared to 36% ), and Anti-Seizure burden decreased. Conclusions: Training experienced NICU nurses to set-up, start and monitor cvEEG can decrease the time to initiate cvEEG which may lead to better seizure diagnosis and management.
Background: Despite advances in neonatal care, neonates with moderate to severe HIE are at high risk of mortality and morbidity. we report the impact of a dedicated NNCC team on short term mortality and morbidities. Methods: A retrospective cohort study on neonates with moderate to serve HIE between July 1st 2008 and December 31st 2017. primary outcome : a composite of death and/or brain injury on MRI. Secondary outcomes: rate of cooling, length of hospital stay, anti-seizure medication burden, and use of inotropes. A regression analysis was done adjusting for gestational age, birth weight, gender, out-born status, Apgar score at 10 minutes, cord blood pH, and HIE clinical staging Results: 216 neonates were included, 109 before NNCC implementation, and 107 thereafter. NNCC program resulted in reduction in the primary outcome (AOR: 0.28, CI: 0.14-0.54, p<0.001) and brain injury (AOR: 0.28, CI: 0.14-0.55, p<0.001). It decreased average length of stay/infants by 5 days (p=0.03), improved cooling rate (73% compared to 93% , p <0.001), reduced: seizure misdiagnosis (71% compared to 23%, P <0.001), anti-seizure medication burden (P = 0.001), and inotrope use (34% compared to 53%, p=0.004) Conclusions: NNCC program decreased mortality and brain injury , shortened the length of hospital stay and improved care of neonates with significant HIE.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) staff burnout correlates with psychological coping strategies used by Emergency department health professionals (EDHPs). Staff at two urban referral EDs in New Brunswick took part in a survey of burnout and coping strategies after one ED experienced an influx of new physicians and a newly renovated ED in 2011. Six years later, ED crowding and EDHP staffing problems became prevalent at both EDs. We compared levels of burnout at two urban referral EDs to determine if burnout and coping worsened over time. Methods: An anonymous survey of all EDHPs at 2 urban referral EDs was performed in 2011 and in 2017. A demographics questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI, measuring emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment), and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS, measuring task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping styles) were collected. Descriptive statistics and linear regression models examined relationships over time and between the two hospitals. Results: Burnout scores were similar both at the two facilities and in 2011 (n=153) and 2017 (n=127). There were no differences between samples or EDs for important factors. Emotion-oriented coping was associated with higher levels of burnout, while task-oriented coping was inversely correlated with burnout. Experiencing professional stress was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion, while those working longer years in their current department had higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. By 2017, both EDs had experienced significant nursing staff turnover (50%) compared to 2011. Conclusion: Burnout scores remained consistent after 6 years at these two urban referral EDs. Given the evidence that increased years of service is associated with increased burnout, high staff turnover rate at both EDs could explain how scores remained constant. Staff turnover may represent a way these ED systems cope in a challenging environment. In 2017, task-oriented copers continued to score lower while emotionally-oriented copers showed higher burnout risk, and experiencing professional stress remains a strong predictor of burnout.
Introduction: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) patients (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) commonly present to the emergency department (ED). Presenting symptoms (swelling and pain) may be erroneously attributed to common allergic and gastrointestinal conditions resulting in major delays in diagnosis and appropriate treatment. No published tools currently exist for HAE screening and management in undiagnosed disease. The overall goal of the study was to develop a HAE-RT tool for ED settings. Methods: A two-phase mixed methods approach was used to develop the HAE-RT Tool including: Phase 1: A Delphi Study [HAE specialists (N=9) and National Patient Advocacy Group Members (N=3)] was conducted to reach consensus (80% agreement) on predictor variables to include. Phase 2: A retrospective chart review was conducted to assess the predictive findings of the predictor variables. A convenient sample of patients presenting with angioedema (with and without HAE) between January 2012 January 2017 were included in the study. Results: Of the 12 experts invited, 9 (75%) participated in the Delphi study. Of 8 HAE-specific predictive variables, 4 reached consensuses including: (1) recurrent angioedema; (2) absence of urticaria; (3) past recurrent abdominal pain/swelling; (4) response to allergic therapy. The retrospective study included 85 patients (N=46 with HAE; N=39 non-HAE; overall 72% female). HAE patients were significantly more likely to have a family history of HAE (72% vs 0%; P<0.0001); previous recurrent angioedema (96%; P<0.009); present with no hives (91%; P<0.036); previous recurrent abdominal pain (80%; P<0.0001); and only 2% responded positively to allergy treatments (P<0.0001). Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the importance of key stakeholder involvement and feedback to facilitate the prioritization of important information that must be included in the design of an HAE-RT tool. The next step is to observe the effect of the HAE-RT tool on patient triage in the ED.
The study compares experiences of workplace stressors for emergency medicine trainees and specialists in settings where the specialty is relatively well resourced and established (Canada), and where it is newer and less well resourced (South Africa, (SA)).
We conducted an online cross-sectional survey of emergency medicine trainees and physicians in both countries for six domains (demands, role, support, change, control, and relationships) using the validated Management Standards Indicator Tool (MSIT, Health, and Safety Executive, United Kingdom).
74 SA and 430 Canadian respondents were included in our analysis. SA trainees (n=38) reported higher stressors (lower MSIT scores) than SA specialists (n=36) for demands (2.2 (95%CI 2.1-2.3) vs. 2.7 (2.5-2.8)), control (2.6 (2.4-2.7) vs. 3.5 (3.3-3.7)) and change (2.4 (2.2-2.6) vs. 3.0 (2.7-3.3)). In Canada, specialists (n=395) had higher demands (2.6 (2.6-2.7) vs. 3.0 (2.8-3.1)) and manager support stressors (3.3 (3.3-3.4) vs. 3.9 (3.6-4.1)) than trainees (n=35). Canadian trainees reported higher role stressors (4.0 (95%CI 3.8-4.1) vs. 4.2 (4.2-4.3)) than Canadian specialists. SA trainees had higher stressors on all domains than Canadian trainees. There was one domain (control) where Canadian specialists scored significantly lower than SA specialists, whereas SA specialists had significantly lower scores on peer support, relationships and role.
Work related stressor domains were different for all four groups. Perceived stressors were higher in all measured domains among SA trainees compared with Canadian trainees. The differences between the SA and Canadian specialists may reflect the developing nature of the specialty in SA, although the Canadian specialists reported less control over their work than SA counterparts.
The field of policy studies has always been interested in analyzing and improving the sets of policy tools adopted by governments to correct policy problems, and better understanding and improving processes of policy analysis and policy formulation in order to do so. Past studies have helped clarify the role of historical processes, policy capacities and design intentions in affecting policy formulation processes, and more recently in understanding how the bundling of multiple policy elements together to meet policy goals can be better understood and done. While this work has progressed, however, the discussion of what goals policy designs should serve remains disjointed. Here it is argued that a central goal, in fact, 'the' central goal, of policy design is effectiveness. Effectiveness serves as the basic goal of any design, upon which is built other goals such as efficiency or equity.
A parathyroid multidisciplinary team meeting was set up at East Sussex Healthcare Trust, from November 2014 to November 2015, in order to improve and streamline services for patients with parathyroid pathology.
Data were collected on all new referrals for hyperparathyroidism, and on the outcomes for each patient discussed at the meeting, including the number of operations and management outcomes. A survey was sent out to the members of the multidisciplinary team meeting to determine their perception of its effectiveness.
Seventy-nine new referrals were discussed throughout the year; 43 per cent were recommended for surgery, 41 per cent had a trial of conservative or medical management before re-discussion, and 16 per cent required further imaging. Ninety-two per cent of patients underwent an ultrasound, single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography or nuclear medicine (sestamibi) scan prior to the meeting. All ultrasound scans were performed by a consultant radiologist.
The multidisciplinary team meeting has been successful, with perceived benefits for patients, improved imaging evaluation and efficiency of referral pathways, leading to more appropriate patient management.
Background: Functional neurological symptoms (FNS) are considered non-volitional and often very disabling, but are not explainable by neurological disease or structural abnormalities. Brief Augmented Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (BAPIT) was adapted to treat the putative emotion processing deficits thought to be central to FNS aetiology and maintenance. BAPIT for FNS has previously been shown to improve levels of distress and functioning, but it is unknown whether improvements on such measures correlate with changes in emotion processing ‒ which this treatment focuses on. Aim: To determine (a) whether the recently developed Emotional Processing Scale-25 can be used to demonstrate BAPIT-associated changes in patients with FNS, and (b) whether changes in the EPS-25 are associated with changes in previously validated outcome measures. Method: 44 patients with FNS completed questionnaires including the EPS-25 and measures of clinical symptomology (health-related quality of life (SF-36), somatic symptoms (PHQ-15), psychological distress (CORE-10) and illness understanding (BIPQ)) pre- and post-therapy. Results: At group level, emotion processing improved following therapy (p = .049). Some measures of clinical symptomology also improved, namely health-related quality of life (p = .02) and illness understanding (p = .01). Improvements in the EPS-25 correlated with improvements in mental health-related quality of life and psychological distress. Conclusions: Emotion processing and some measures of clinical symptomology improved in patients with FNS following BAPIT. The EPS-25 demonstrated changes that correlated with previously validated outcome measures. The EPS-25 is a suitable measure of psychotherapy-associated change in the FNS patient population.