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Patient assessment is a fundamental feature of community paramedicine, but the absence of a recognized standard for assessment practices contributes to uncertainty about what drives care planning and treatment decisions. Our objective was to summarize the content of assessment instruments and describe the state of current practice in community paramedicine home visit programs.
We performed an environmental scan of all community paramedicine programs in Ontario, Canada, and used content analysis to describe current assessment practices in home visit programs. The International Classification on Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) was used to categorize and compare assessments. Each item within each assessment form was classified according to the ICF taxonomy.
A total of 43 of 52 paramedic services in Ontario, Canada, participated in the environmental scan with 24 being eligible for further investigation through content analysis of intake assessment forms. Among the 24 services, 16 met inclusion criteria for content analysis. Assessment forms contained between 13 and 252 assessment items (median 116.5, IQR 134.5). Most assessments included some content from each of the domains outlined in the ICF. At the subdomain level, only assessment of impairments of the functions of the cardiovascular, hematological, immunological, and respiratory systems appeared in all assessments.
Although community paramedicine home visit programs may differ in design and aim, all complete multi-domain assessments as part of patient intake. If community paramedicine home visit programs share similar characteristics but assess patients differently, it is difficult to expect that the resulting referrals, care planning, treatments, or interventions will be similar.
Hospital evacuations of patients with special needs are extremely challenging, and it is difficult to train hospital workers for this rare event.
Researchers developed an in-situ simulation study investigating the effect of standardized checklists on the evacuation of a patient under general anesthesia from the operating room (OR) and hypothesized that checklists would improve the completion rate of critical actions and decrease evacuation time.
A vertical evacuation of the high-fidelity manikin (SimMan3G; Laerdal Inc.; Norway) was performed and participants were asked to lead the team and evacuate the manikin to the ground floor after a mock fire alarm. Participants were randomized to two groups: one was given an evacuation checklist (checklist group [CG]) and the other was not (non-checklist group [NCG]). A total of 19 scenarios were run with 28 participants.
Mean scenario time, preparation phase of evacuation, and time to transport the manikin down the stairs did not differ significantly between groups (P = .369, .462, and .935, respectively). The CG group showed significantly better performance of critical actions, including securing the airway, taking additional drug supplies, and taking additional equipment supplies (P = .047, .001, and .001, respectively). In the post-evacuation surveys, 27 out of 28 participants agreed that checklists would improve the evacuation process in a real event.
Standardized checklists increase the completion rate of pre-defined critical actions in evacuations out of the OR, which likely improves patient safety. Checklist use did not have a significant effect on total evacuation time.
Research on events and mass gatherings is hampered by a lack of standardized and central reporting of event data and metrics. While there is work currently being done on report standardization, this will require a plan for recording, storing, and safeguarding a repository of event data. A global event data registry would further the work of standardized reporting by allowing for the collection and comparison of events on a larger scale.
To characterize the considerations, challenges, and potential solutions to the implementation of a global event data registry.
A review of the academic and grey literature on the current understanding and practical considerations in the creation of data registries, with a specific focus on an application to mass gathering events.
Findings were grouped under the following domains: (1) stakeholder identification and consultation, (2) research goals and clinical objectives, (3) technological requirements (ie hosting, format, maintenance), (4) funding (budget, affiliations, sponsorships), (5) ethics (privacy, protection, jurisdictions), (5) contribution facilitation (advertising, support), and (6) data stewardship and registry access for researchers.
This work outlines key considerations for undertaking and implementing an event data registry in the mass gathering space, and compliments ongoing work on the standardization of data collected at mass gathering events. If practical and ethical considerations are appropriately identified and managed, the creation of an event data registry has the potential to make a major impact on our understanding of events and mass gatherings.
This study explored the concept of ‘giving up’ from the perspective of care staff working in care homes, and their everyday communication and hidden knowledge concerning what they think about this taboo topic and the context it reflects. Moving to a care home is a major transition where cumulative losses can pose risks to mental health in later life. If not recognised, this vulnerability can lead to depression which extends to suicide ideation and behaviours in the form of self-harm and self-neglect. Care homes are a significant place of care until death, yet a discourse of silence means that self-harm and suicide is under-reported or not attended to with specialist expertise. The layperson's concept of an older person ‘giving up’ on life is hardly discussed in the literature. This co-produced qualitative study used an inductive approach to explore this phenomenon through focus groups with 33 care staff across four care homes in South-East England. Findings paint a complex picture, highlighting tensions in providing the right support and creating spaces to respond to such challenging situations. ‘Giving up’ requires skilled detailed assessment to respond to risks alongside improved training and support for paid carers, to achieve a more holistic strategy which capitalises on significant relationships within a wider context.
A 24-year-old woman with a history of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy status post heart transplant gave birth to a healthy term female infant. At 5 months of age, the infant was diagnosed with severe left ventricular dysfunction with an ejection fraction of 18% and moderate non-compaction of the left ventricle. She received a heart transplant at 7 months of age. Familial dilated cardiomyopathy was diagnosed. Genetic testing revealed a likely pathogenic variant in the TPM1 gene. Fetal cardiac screening is critical for offspring of heart transplant recipients, especially when the reason for transplant was cardiomyopathy. Early genetic consultation and counselling is necessary for all heart transplant recipients, preferably prenatally. Postnatal screening of offspring is essential at birth, at 3-month intervals until 1 year of age, and then annually until the risk for familial cardiomyopathy is assessed.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate intakes and serum levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and related compounds in a cohort of maternal–infant pairs in the Midwestern USA in relation to measures of health disparities. Concentrations of carotenoids and tocopherols in maternal serum were measured using HPLC and measures of socio-economic status, including food security and food desert residence, were obtained in 180 mothers upon admission to a Midwestern Academic Medical Center labour and delivery unit. The Kruskal–Wallis and independent-samples t tests were used to compare measures between groups; logistic regression models were used to adjust for relevant confounders. P < 0·05 was considered statistically significant. The odds of vitamin A insufficiency/deficiency were 2·17 times higher for non-whites when compared with whites (95 % CI 1·16, 4·05; P = 0·01) after adjustment for relevant confounders. Similarly, the odds of being vitamin E deficient were 3·52 times higher for non-whites (95 % CI 1·51, 8·10; P = 0·003). Those with public health insurance had lower serum lutein concentrations compared with those with private health insurance (P = 0·05), and living in a food desert was associated with lower serum concentrations of β-carotene (P = 0·02), after adjustment for confounders. Subjects with low/marginal food security had higher serum levels of lutein and β-cryptoxanthin compared with those with high food security (P = 0·004 and 0·02 for lutein and β-cryptoxanthin). Diet quality may be a public health concern in economically disadvantaged populations of industrialised societies leading to nutritional disadvantages as well.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
To date no studies have explored the effectiveness of written cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) resources for low mood and stress delivered via a course of self-help classes in a community setting.
To assess the effectiveness of an 8-week community-based CBT self-help group classes on symptoms of depression, anxiety and social function at 6 months (trial registration: ISRCTN86292664).
In total, 142 participants were randomly allocated to immediate (n = 71) or delayed access to a low-intensity CBT intervention (n = 71). Measures of depression, anxiety and social function were collected at baseline and 6 months.
There was a significant improvement for the primary outcome of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) score (mean between-group difference: –3.64, 95% CI –6.06 to –1.23; P = 0.004). The percentage of participants reducing their PHQ-9 score between baseline and 6 months by 50% or more was 17.9% for the delayed access group and 43.8% for the immediate access group. Secondary outcomes also improved including anxiety and social function. The intervention was cost neutral. The probabilities of a net benefit at willingness to pay thresholds of £20 000, £25 000 or £30 000 were 0.928, 0.944 and 0.955, respectively.
Low-intensity class-based CBT delivered within a community setting is effective for reducing depression, anxiety and impaired social function at little additional cost.
Declaration of interest
C.W. is president of British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) – the lead body for CBT in the UK. He is also author of a range of CBT-based resources available commercially. He is developer of the LLTTF classes evaluated in this study. He receives royalty, and is shareholder and director of a company that commercialises these resources.
Patients who experience Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) should be assessed and treated in a specialist clinic to reduce risk of further TIA or stroke. But referrals are often delayed. We aimed to identify published studies describing pathways for emergency assessment and referral of patients with suspected TIA at first medical contact: primary care; ambulance services; and emergency department.
We conducted a scoping literature review. We searched four databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus). We screened studies for eligibility. We extracted and analysed data to describe setting, assessment and referral processes reported in primary research on referral of suspected TIA patients directly to specialist outpatient services.
We identified eight studies in nine papers from five countries: 1/9 randomized trial; 6/9 before-and-after designs; 2/9 descriptive account. Five pathways were used by family doctors and three by Emergency Department (ED) physicians. None were used by paramedics. Clinicians identified TIA patients using a checklist incorporating the ABCD2 tool to describe risk of further stroke, online decision support tool or clinical judgement. They referred to a specialist clinic, either directly or via a telephone helpline. Anti-platelet medication was often given, usually aspirin unless contraindicated. Some patients underwent neurological and blood tests before referral and discharge. Five studies reported reduced incident of stroke at 90 days, from 6–10 percent predicted rate to 1.2-2.1 percent actual rate. Between 44 percent and 83 percent of suspected TIA cases in these studies were directly referred to stroke clinics through the pathways.
Research literature has focused on assessment and referral by family doctors and ED physicians to reduce hospitalization of TIA patients. No pathways for paramedic use were reported. Since many suspected TIA patients present to ambulance services, effective pre-hospital assessment and referral pathways are needed. We will use review results to develop a paramedic referral pathway to test in a feasibility trial.
Intercropping with functionally diverse crops can reduce the availability of resources that could otherwise be used by weeds. An experiment was conducted across 6 site-years in New York and Maryland in 2013 and 2014 to examine the effects of functional diversity and crop species richness on weed suppression. We compared four annual crop species that differed in stature and nitrogen acquisition traits: (1) pearl millet, (2) sorghum sudangrass, (3) cowpea, and (4) sunn hemp. Crops were seeded in monoculture and in three- and four-species mixtures using a replacement design in which monoculture seeding rates were divided by the number of species in the intercrop. Crop and weed biomass were sampled at ~45 and 90 d after planting. At the first sampling date, intercrops produced more crop biomass than monocultures in all but 1 site-year; however, weed biomass in intercrops was lower than monocultures in only 1 site-year. By the second sampling date, crop biomass was consistently greater in the intercrops than in the monocultures, and weed biomass was lower in the intercrops than in monocultures in 2 site-years. Although we observed several negative relationships between crop species richness and weed biomass, crop biomass was a more important factor than species richness for suppressing weeds. Despite the weak weed suppression from the two legumes compared with the two grasses, legume crops can provide other benefits, including increased forage quality, soil nitrogen for subsequent crops, and resources for pollinators if allowed to flower. On the other hand, if weed suppression is the top priority, our results suggest that monocultures of high biomass–producing grasses will provide more effective suppression at a lower seed cost than functionally diverse intercrops that include low biomass–producing legumes in warm-season intercrops.
We used a web-based mixed methods survey (HowsYourHealth – Frail) to explore the health of frail older (78% age 80 or older) adults enrolled in a home-based primary care program in Vancouver, Canada. Sixty per cent of eligible respondents participated, representing over one quarter (92/350, 26.2%) of all individuals receiving the service. Despite high levels of co-morbidity and functional dependence, 50 per cent rated their health as good, very good, or excellent. Adjusted odds ratios for positive self-rated health were 7.50, 95 per cent CI [1.09, 51.81] and 4.85, 95 per cent CI [1.02, 22.95] for absence of bothersome symptoms and being able to talk to family or friends respectively. Narrative responses to questions about end of life and living with illness are also described. Results suggest that greater focus on symptom management, and supporting social contact, may improve frail seniors’ health.
This mixed-methods study identified the personal and workplace characteristics that drive the job satisfaction of home support workers (HSWs) providing assistance to elderly clients. Data were based on a standardized measure of job satisfaction, along with in-depth qualitative interviews with 176 home support workers from three Canadian provincial jurisdictions (British Columbia, n = 108; Ontario, n = 28; Nova Scotia, n = 40). We anticipated that variability in demographic profiles between the three groups of workers and different job descriptions would be associated with differences in perceived job satisfaction. This was not the case. Results from the qualitative analysis highlight key areas that contributed to job satisfaction. These are job (scheduling, travel, and safety), economic (income security), and organizational (communication, support, and respect) factors. Given these findings, we recommend improvements to workplace communication, increased travel time allowance between clients, and wage parity with equivalent positions in long-term care facilities.
To develop a risk score to predict probability of bloodstream infections (BSIs) due to extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBLE).
Retrospective case-control study.
Two large community hospitals.
Hospitalized adults with Enterobacteriaceae BSI between January 1, 2010, and June 30, 2015.
Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent risk factors for ESBLE BSI. Point allocation in extended-spectrum β-lactamase prediction score (ESBL-PS) was based on regression coefficients.
Among 910 patients with Enterobacteriaceae BSI, 42 (4.6%) had ESBLE bloodstream isolates. Most ESBLE BSIs were community onset (33 of 42; 79%), and 25 (60%) were due to Escherichia coli. Independent risk factors for ESBLE BSI and point allocation in ESBL-PS included outpatient procedures within 1 month (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 8.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1–22.9; 1 point), prior infections or colonization with ESBLE within 12 months (aOR, 26.8; 95% CI, 7.0–108.2; 4 points), and number of prior courses of β-lactams and/or fluoroquinolones used within 3 months of BSI: 1 course (aOR, 6.3; 95% CI, 2.7–14.7; 1 point), ≥2 courses (aOR, 22.0; 95% CI, 8.6–57.1; 3 points). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the ESBL-PS model was 0.86. Patients with ESBL-PSs of 0, 1, 3, and 4 had estimated probabilities of ESBLE BSI of 0.7%, 5%, 24%, and 44%, respectively. Using ESBL-PS ≥3 to indicate high risk provided a negative predictive value of 97%.
ESBL-PS estimated patient-specific risk of ESBLE BSI with high discrimination. Incorporation of ESBL-PS with acute severity of illness may improve adequacy of empirical antimicrobial therapy and reduce carbapenem utilization.