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To undertake a service evaluation of the pilot Lothian functional electrical stimulation (FES) clinic using both quantitative and qualitative methods and clinical practice reflection.
Clinical guidelines recommend that FES, for the management of dropped foot after stroke, is delivered by a specialist team. However, little detail is provided about the structure and composition of the specialist team or model of service delivery. A pilot Lothian FES clinic was developed to explore the clinical value of providing such a service to stroke patients with dropped foot and identify any service modifications.
Mixed methods were used to evaluate the service and included quantitative, qualitative and reflective components. Phase 1: Before and after service evaluation of patients attending the FES clinic between 2003 and 2007. Outcomes of gait velocity and cadence were recorded at initial clinic appointment and 6 months after application of FES. Phase 2: Qualitative research exploring patients with stroke and carers’ experiences of the FES clinic. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Phase 3: A reflection on the service delivery model. Participants: Phase 1: 40 consecutive out-patients with stroke; Phase 2: 13 out-patients with stroke and 9 carers; Phase 3: Three specialist physiotherapists engaged in running the FES clinic.
Statistically significant improvements (p < 0.001) were demonstrated in gait velocity and cadence. Qualitatively, one super-ordinate theme ‘The FES clinic met my needs’ emerged. Within this were four sub-themes, namely 1. ‘Getting to grips with FES wasn’t difficult’; 2. ‘It’s great to know they’re there’; 3. ‘Meeting up with others really helps’ and 4. ‘The service is great but could be better’. On reflection, minor modifications were made to the service delivery model but overall the service met user needs. This dedicated FES clinic produced positive physical outcomes and met the needs of this chronic stroke population.
Partnerships for Older People Projects (POPP) was a national initiative in England aimed at improving health, well-being and quality of life (QoL) for older people by developing local services. This development paper reports the key findings of a local evaluation in relation to quality of life, well-being and health-related QoL to provide practical understanding at the local level about what this means in relation to the schemes delivered.
To identify the impact of POPP schemes received by older people in Wigan on their QoL and well-being; and establish their feedback on services using local indicators.
Convenience samples of older people receiving services from three selected ‘community facing low level’ schemes were recruited over a two-month period. They completed a semi-structured questionnaire at baseline (T1) and at follow-up 6 weeks later (T2). Information was collected on health status and health-related QoL using the EQ-5D, biographical information, overall QoL and well-being as part of the national evaluation and a local indicator, feedback on services.
Response rates were 70% (T1 45/64, mean age 72 years) and 43% at T2 (25/58, mean age 55 years). Following receipt of these schemes improvements were found for self care, anxiety and depression, health status and QoL although these differences were not statistically significant due to the small sample size and loss to follow-up. Feedback on local service use related to schemes ‘being fit for purpose’ and ‘aspects of service delivery’.
This local evaluation illustrates a pragmatic approach to service development and delivery of preventative services, with potential to benefit health and well-being of older people and support their continued living independently in the community. It provides detail and better understanding of what this means locally to people in context of national findings.
To systematically review studies reporting the effectiveness of various models of follow-up in primary care on a range of outcomes (physical, psychological, social functioning, or quality of life) for survivors of stroke and their caregivers.
Stroke is a major cause of disability globally. Current UK policy calls for a primary care-based review of healthcare and social-care needs at six weeks and six months after hospital discharge and then annually.
Trials meeting the pre-defined inclusion criteria were identified by the systematic searching of electronic databases. Data were extracted by two independent researchers. Studies were rated using the McMaster University Quality Assessment Tool.
Nine randomised controlled trials that met the inclusion criteria were identified. These studies included interventions using stroke support workers, care coordinators or case managers. The methodological quality of the studies was variable, and models of care demonstrated inconsistent working relationships with general practitioners. Patients and caregivers receiving formal primary care-based follow-up did not show any gains in physical function, mood, or quality of life when compared with those who did not. Patients and caregivers receiving follow-up were generally more satisfied with some aspects of communication, and had a greater knowledge of stroke.
The limited quality of these studies and the lack of a sound theoretical basis for the development of interventions together highlight the urgent need for high-quality research studies in this area.
This paper describes findings from a study that evaluated the implementation and impact of case management for long-term conditions (CMLTC) in 10 primary care trusts (PCTs).
Patients who have long-term conditions and complex health and social needs may require case management to deliver and coordinate their care from a range of agencies.
A cross-sectional postal survey of managers with lead responsibility for CMLTC in each PCT is adopted to describe the implementation of services. A retrospective cohort analysis of longitudinal routinely collected admission data for patients enrolled within the CMLTC service (nine months before and nine months after the entry; n = 867) is used to measure their impact.
The organisation of case management varied between PCTs in some aspects despite a high level of coordination across the geographical area. Mean emergency admissions and associated length of stay (LOS) for patients reduced significantly in the nine months after the service entry. There were a number of fairly robust positive and negative influences on these outcome measures in the regression analysis. Most patients with a history of emergency admissions experienced a marked improvement over time. However, most of those without any or with few admissions experienced an increase in admissions and corresponding LOS. Furthermore, a proportion of frequent service users with particular diagnoses also experienced an increase or remained at a high level. A very modest effect was shown with regard to the features of case management arrangements. For each day spent in hospital before service entry, patients are predicted to experience a reduction of nearly one day after. The main contributor explaining increases in LOS for emergency admissions was the number of primary and secondary diagnoses. Each added diagnosis is associated with a 2.4-day increase in LOS, everything else being equal.
We examined the management of depression by general practitioners (GPs), through the use of case vignettes, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe osteoarthritis and depressive symptoms alone.
Depression is common in patients with COPD. Untreated depression leads to poor compliance with medical treatment and increases health-care utilisation.
We surveyed a random sample of GPs (n = 3956) in England using a postal questionnaire. The questionnaire explored how GPs would approach the management of emotional distress in patients with and without a chronic condition and gauged their views of and experiences with depression in patients with COPD.
A total of 864 completed responses were received (22%). In the vignettes, a significantly greater percentage of GPs reported that they would explore or offer the diagnosis of depression in a patient with COPD (95.4%) compared with patients with either severe osteoarthritis (88.3%) or depressive symptoms alone (86.3%). In each case, the vast majority of GPs reported that they would explore a diagnosis of depression using a clinical diagnostic tool. The preferred method of treatment, if offered, in all three cases was a combination of anti-depressant drugs and psychological therapy. GPs endorsed the importance of routinely screening for depression in patients who have COPD and acknowledged that depression impairs patient self-management of COPD.
In conclusion, GPs in England were able to diagnose depression from the vignettes and plan appropriate treatment strategies in patients with chronic diseases. This should be complemented with thorough physical examination by GPs to rule out other factors such as the impact of physical illness. GPs believe depression interferes with patient self-management of COPD.
To assess whether a print-based intervention led to increased contact with consumer health organisations (CHOs) by general practice patients with chronic disease.
CHOs can enhance people's capacity to manage chronic illness by providing information, education and psychosocial support. However, these organisations appear to be grossly under-utilised by patients and clinicians.
A total of 276 patients completed a computer-assisted telephone interview before randomisation to an intervention (n = 141) or control (n = 135) group. The intervention consisted of mailed printed materials designed to encourage contact with a CHO relevant to the patient's main diagnosed chronic condition. Follow-up interviews were conducted 4 and 12 months later.
Patients with conditions other than diabetes who received the intervention were twice as likely as those in the control group to contact a consumer health organisation during the 12-month study period: 41% versus 21% (P < 0.001). No such effect was found for diabetes patients, probably because of pre-existing high levels of contact with diabetes organisations. The intervention package received strong patient endorsement. Low-intensity interventions may be effective in improving access to CHOs for patients with chronic disease.
Depression is common among older people but more common among those living in care homes. Depression is not easily detected among older adults because of the presentation, and the tendency for older people not to complain of depression, particularly those living in care homes. In general, care home staff have limited training in recognising depression. Depression is undertreated and residents may not receive a therapeutic dose of antidepressant. The true prevalence of depression among care home residents is uncertain.
This feasibility study aimed to explore the level of depression among older people in care homes by comparing the outcome of an assessment by care home staff with the outcome of a diagnostic clinical interview, using ICD-10 criteria and the 30-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), conducted by a psychiatrist.
In all, 47 older people from four care homes were interviewed by a psychiatrist. Of them, 39.1% (18/46) of residents were prescribed an antidepressant and were no longer depressed; 8.7% (4/46) were prescribed an antidepressant and remained depressed; and 6.5% (3/46) of residents assessed as being depressed, had not been prescribed an antidepressant. That is, 54% (25/46) of residents had been or were currently depressed. Using ICD-10 criteria, the sensitivity of the GDS at a threshold of 10 and 11 was 100%. In total, 89.4% of residents received a correct diagnosis (presence or absence of depression) using the GDS at the 11 threshold.
The prevalence of depression in these homes was 54%. Of the residents with depression, 72% (18/25) were managed with an antidepressant and 28% (7/25) were receiving ineffective or no treatment. The 30-item GDS can provide more useful information than a home care staff assessment for identifying depression. More research should explore the value of training home care staff to administer the 30-item GDS to optimise the management of depression in older people in care homes.
To evaluate the effects of Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) community training on breastfeeding rates, staff and mothers in a large Primary Care Trust (PCT).
UK Government policy promotes the adoption and implementation of the World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund BFI as the best evidence to raise breastfeeding initiation and prevalence.
A total of 141 health visitors and nursery nurses were trained on mandatory three-day BFI courses during 2008; 137 staff (100 health visitors, 37 nursery nurses) took part in the evaluation. Breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge and staff confidence in helping mothers to breastfeed were measured using a validated Breastfeeding Questionnaire and a self-efficacy tool at three time points before and after training.
Breastfeeding rates at eight weeks increased significantly, and a baby born in 2009 was 1.57 times more likely to be breastfed than one born in 2006. Statistically significant improvements in staff breastfeeding attitudes, knowledge and self-efficacy were seen after attending the course, in addition to increases in the appropriate management of breastfeeding problems.
Process evaluation interviews with 43 health visitors, nursery nurses and managers explored views of the training and changes in practice. The response to the course was overwhelmingly positive and felt to be extremely worthwhile. It has led to renewed enthusiasm, improved the consistency of advice among team members and raised confidence levels of all staff who help mothers with breastfeeding. Health visitors felt confident about enabling nursery nurses to take a greater role in breastfeeding support. A small survey of mothers reported increases in exclusive breastfeeding and signs of increased breastfeeding self-efficacy.
Making the training mandatory across the whole PCT has improved the consistency of breastfeeding advice and confidence of all health-care staff who help breastfeeding mothers.