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Older adults experience symptoms of depression, leading to suffering and increased morbidity and mortality. Although we have effective depression therapies, physical distancing and other public health measures have severely limited access to in-person interventions.
To describe the efficacy of virtual interventions for reducing symptoms of depression in community-dwelling older adults.
We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Libraries, PsycINFO, and gray literature from inception to July 5, 2021.
Participants and interventions:
We included randomized trials (RCTs) comparing the efficacy of virtual interventions to any other virtual intervention or usual care in community-dwelling adults ≥60 years old experiencing symptoms of depression or depression as an outcome.
The primary outcome was change in symptoms of depression measured by any depression scale.
We screened 12,290 abstracts and 830 full text papers. We included 15 RCTs (3100 participants). Five RCTs examined persons with depression symptoms at baseline and ten examined depression as an outcome only. Included studies demonstrated feasibility of interventions such as internet or telephone cognitive behavioral therapy with some papers showing statistically significant improvement in depressive symptoms.
There is a paucity of studies examining virtual interventions in older adults with depression. Given difficulty in accessing in-person therapies in a pandemic and poor access for people living in rural and remote regions, there is an urgent need to explore efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation of virtual therapies.
Caregivers of persons with dementia and depression experience adverse effects associated with their role. The aim of this scoping review was to identify the challenges faced by caregivers of people with dementia and depression, along with interventions to support them. The MEDLINE®, Embase and PsycINFO databases were searched using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method. Grey literature was assessed using the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health’s Gray Matter tool.
The population consisted of caregivers of people with dementia and depression; the concept was to identify the negative impacts that caregivers experience and whether there are interventions to reduce them; the context was any study design targeting family or friends who were caregivers. A total of 12,835 citations were identified; 139 studies were included. Dementia and depression have variable impacts on outcomes experienced by caregivers, including burden/strain (n = 52), depression (n = 27), distress (n = 53), quality of life (n = 5) and health/well-being (n = 9). Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions have mixed effects. This study is important considering that depression in people with dementia is associated with caregiver distress. The use of a variety of non-pharmacological interventions could be beneficial to the latter.
Health technology reassessment (HTR) is a structured evidence-based assessment of an existing technology in comparison to its alternatives. The process results in the following four outputs: (i) increased use; (ii) decreased use; (iii) no change; or (iv) de-adoption. However, implementing these outputs remains a challenge. Knowledge translation (KT) can be applied to implement findings from the HTR process. This study sought to identify which characteristics of KT theories, models, and frameworks (TMFs) could be useful, specifically for decreasing the use of or de-adopting a technology.
A qualitative descriptive approach was used to ascertain the perspectives of international KT and HTR experts on the characteristics of KT TMFs for decreasing the use of or de-adopting a technology. One-to-one semi-structured interviews were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Themes and sub-themes were deduced from the data through framework analysis using the following five distinctive steps: familiarization; identifying an analytic framework; indexing; charting; and mapping and interpretation. Themes and sub-themes were also mapped to existing KT TMFs.
Thirteen experts participated. The following three themes emerged as ideal characteristics of a KT TMF: (i) principles foundational for HTR: evidence-based, high usability, patient-centered, and ability to apply to micro, meso, and macro levels; (ii) levers of change: characterized as positive, neutral, or negative influences for changing behavior; and (iii) steps for knowledge to action: build the case for HTR, adapt research knowledge, assess context, select, tailor, and implement interventions, and assess impact. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research had the greatest number of ideal characteristics.
Application of KT TMFs to the HTR process has not been clearly established. This is the first study to provide an understanding of characteristics within KT TMFs that could be considered by users undertaking projects to decrease or de-adopt technologies. Characteristics to be considered within a KT TMF for implementing HTR outputs were identified. Consideration of these characteristics may guide users in choosing which KT TMF(s) to use when undertaking HTR projects.
We identified quality indicators (QIs) for care during transitions of older persons (≥ 65 years of age). Through systematic literature review, we catalogued QIs related to older persons’ transitions in care among continuing care settings and between continuing care and acute care settings and back. Through two Delphi survey rounds, experts ranked relevance, feasibility, and scientific soundness of QIs. A steering committee reviewed QIs for their feasible capture in Canadian administrative databases. Our search yielded 326 QIs from 53 sources. A final set of 38 feasible indicators to measure in current practice was included. The highest proportions of indicators were for the emergency department (47%) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) quality domain of effectiveness (39.5%). Most feasible indicators were outcome indicators. Our work highlights a lack of standardized transition QI development in practice, and the limitations of current free-text documentation systems in capturing relevant and consistent data.
Background: Hospital-acquired Clostridioides difficile infection (HA-CDI) rates are highly variable over time, posing problems for research assessing interventions that might improve rates. By understanding seasonality in HA-CDI rates and the impacts that other factors such as influenza admissions might have on these rates, we can account for them when establishing the relationship between interventions and infection rates. We assessed whether there were seasonal trends in HA-CDI and whether they could be accounted for by influenza rates. Methods: We assessed HA-CDI rates per 10,000 patient days, and the rate of hospitalized patients with influenza per 1,000 admissions in 4 acute-care facilities (n = 2,490 beds) in Calgary, Alberta, from January 2016 to December 2018. We used 4 statistical approaches in R (version 3.5.1 software): (1) autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) to assess dependencies and trends in each of the monthly HA-CDI and influenza series; (2) cross correlation to assess dependencies between the HA-CDI and influenza series lagged over time; (3) Poisson harmonic regression models (with sine and cosine components) to assess the seasonality of the rates; and (4) Poisson regression to determine whether influenza rates accounted for seasonality in the HA-CDI rates. Results: Conventional ARIMA approaches did not detect seasonality in the HA-CDI rates, but we found strong seasonality in the influenza rates. A cross-correlation analysis revealed evidence of correlation between the series at a lag of zero (R = 0.41; 95% CI, 0.10–0.65) and provided an indication of a seasonal relationship between the series (Fig. 1). Poisson regression suggested that influenza rates predicted CDI rates (P < .01). Using harmonic regression, there was evidence of seasonality in HA-CDI rates (2 [2 df] = 6.62; P < .05) and influenza rates (2 [2 df] = 1,796.6; P < .001). In a Poisson model of HA-CDI rates with both the harmonic components and influenza admission rates, the harmonic components were no longer predictive of HA-CDI rates. Conclusions: Harmonic regression provided a sensitive means of identifying seasonality in HA-CDI rates, but the seasonality effect was accounted for by influenza admission rates. The relationship between HA-CDI and influenza rates is likely mediated by antibiotic prescriptions, which needs to be assessed. To improve precision and reduce bias, research on interventions to reduce HA-CDI rates should assess historic seasonality in HA-CDI rates and should account for influenza admissions.
Background:Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients. Probiotics have been studied as a measure to prevent CDI. Timely probiotic administration to at-risk patients receiving systemic antimicrobials presents significant challenges. We sought to determine optimal implementation methods to administer probiotics to all adult inpatients aged 55 years receiving a course of systemic antimicrobials across an entire health region. Methods: Using a randomized stepped-wedge design across 4 acute-care hospitals (n = 2,490 beds), the probiotic Bio-K+ was prescribed daily to patients receiving systemic antimicrobials and was continued for 5 days after antimicrobial discontinuation. Focus groups and interviews were conducted to identify barriers, and the implementation strategy was adapted to address the key identified barriers. The implementation strategy included clinical decision support involving a linked flag on antibiotic ordering and a 1-click order entry within the electronic medical record (EMR), provider and patient education (written/videos/in-person), and local site champions. Protocol adherence was measured by tracking the number of patients on therapeutic antimicrobials that received BioK+ based on the bedside nursing EMR medication administration records. Adherence rates were sorted by hospital and unit in 48- and 72-hour intervals with recording of percentile distribution of time (days) to receipt of the first antimicrobial. Results: In total, 340 education sessions with >1,800 key stakeholders occurred before and during implementation across the 4 involved hospitals. The overall adherence of probiotic ordering for wards with antimicrobial orders was 78% and 80% at 48 and 72 hours, respectively over 72 patient months. Individual hospital adherence rates varied between 77% and 80% at 48 hours and between 79% and 83% at 72 hours. Of 246,144 scheduled probiotic orders, 94% were administered at the bedside within a median of 0.61 days (75th percentile, 0.88), 0.47 days (75th percentile, 0.86), 0.71 days (75th percentile, 0.92) and 0.67 days (75th percentile, 0.93), respectively, at the 4 sites after receipt of first antimicrobial. The key themes from the focus groups emphasized the usefulness of the linked flag alert for probiotics on antibiotic ordering, the ease of the EMR 1-click order entry, and the importance of the education sessions. Conclusions: Electronic clinical decision support, education, and local champion support achieved a high implementation rate consistent across all sites. Use of a 1-click order entry in the EMR was considered a key component of the success of the implementation and should be considered for any implementation strategy for a stewardship initiative. Achieving high prescribing adherence allows more precision in evaluating the effectiveness of the probiotic strategy.
Funding: Partnerships for Research and Innovation in the Health System, Alberta Innovates/Health Solutions Funding: Award
Older patients with complex care needs and limited personal and social resources are heavy users of emergency department (ED) services and are often admitted when they present to the ED. Updated information is needed regarding the most effective strategies to appropriately avoid ED presentation and hospital admission among older patients.
This systematic review aimed to identify interventions that have demonstrated effectiveness in decreasing ED use and hospital admissions in older patients. We conducted a comprehensive literature search within Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from database inception to July 2019 with no language restrictions. Interventional study designs conducted in populations of 65 years and older were included. Primary outcomes were ED visits and hospital admissions. Secondary outcomes included hospital readmission, mortality, cost, and patient-reported outcomes.
Of 7,943 citations reviewed for eligibility, 53 studies were included in our qualitative synthesis, including 26 randomized controlled trials (RCT), 8 cluster-RCTs, and 19 controlled before-after studies. Data characterization revealed that community-based strategies reduced ED visits, particularly those that included comprehensive geriatric assessments and home visits. These strategies reported decreases in mean ED use (for interventions versus controls) ranging from -0.12 to -1.32 visits/patient. Interventions that included home visits also showed reductions in hospital admissions ranging from -6% to -14%. There was, however, considerable variability across individual studies with respect to outcome reporting, statistical analyses, and risk of bias, which limited our ability to further quantify the effect of these interventions.
Various interventional strategies to avoid ED presentations and hospital admissions for older patients have been studied. While models of care that include comprehensive geriatric assessments and home visits may reduce acute care utilization, the standardization of outcome measures is needed to further delineate which parts of these complex interventions are contributing to efficacy. The potential effects of multidisciplinary team composition on patient outcomes also warrant further investigation.
This study is aimed at developing a Rural Primary Health Care (PHC) Model for delivering comprehensive PHC for dementia in rural settings and addressing the gap in knowledge about disseminating and implementing evidence-based dementia care in a rural PHC context.
Limited access to specialists and services in rural areas leads to increased responsibility for dementia diagnosis and management in PHC, yet a gap exists in evidence-based best practices for rural dementia care.
Elements of the Rural PHC Model for Dementia were based on seven principles of effective PHC for dementia identified from published research and organized into three domains: team-based care, decision support, and specialist-to-provider support. Since 2013 the researchers have collaborated with a rural PHC team in a community of 1000 people in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan to operationalize these elements in ways that were feasible in the local context. The five-step approach included: building relationships; conducting a problem analysis/needs assessment; identifying core and adaptable elements of a decision support tool embedded in the model and resolving applicability issues; implementing and adapting the intervention with local stakeholders; and sustaining the model while incrementally scaling up.
Developing and sustaining relationships at regional and PHC team levels was critical. A comprehensive needs assessment identified challenges related to all domains of the Rural PHC Model. An existing decision support tool for dementia diagnosis and management was adapted and embedded in the team’s electronic medical record. Strategies for operationalizing other model elements included integrating team-based care co-ordination into the decision support tool and family-centered case conferences. Research team specialists provided educational sessions on topics identified by the PHC team. This paper provides an example of a community-based process for adapting evidence-based practice principles to a real-world setting.
Currently, 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia. This number will continue to rise as the population ages. Family physicians play an integral role in the diagnosis and management of dementia patients. Although studies have looked at family physician perspectives on dementia care in the urban setting, much less is known about challenges in rural areas. This study aimed to explore rural family physicians’ experiences in caring for patients with dementia in rural Alberta, Canada. We conducted three semi-structured focus groups with 16 family physicians to evaluate barriers and facilitators to providing care to persons with dementia in three rural communities. We developed focus group questions based on the theoretical domains framework (TDF) and analysed them using a framework approach. Physician capabilities, opportunities, and motivations appear to play important roles in caring for these patients. These research findings can be used to advance quality of care for rural dementia patients.
Our primary objective was to understand the barriers and facilitators associated with the implementation of high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for depression and anxiety in patients with dementia or Parkinson’s disease (PD). We conducted focus groups or interviews with participants experiencing dementia or PD, their caregivers, and physicians in Calgary, Alberta, and applied the theoretical domains framework and behaviour change wheel to guide data collection and perform a framework analysis. Thirty-three physicians and seven PD patients/caregivers participated. We report barriers and facilitators to the implementation of guideline recommendations for diagnosis, management, and the use of the guidelines. An overarching theme was the lack of evidence for depression or anxiety disorders in dementia or PD, which was prominent for anxiety versus depression. Patients noted difficulties with communicating symptoms and accessing services. Although guidelines are available, physicians have difficulty implementing certain recommendations due primarily to a lack of evidence regarding efficacy.
This study sought to develop frailty “identification rules” using population-based health administrative data that can be readily applied across jurisdictions for living and deceased persons. Three frailty identification rules were developed based on accepted definitions of frailty, markers of service utilization, and expert consultation, and were limited to variables within two common population-based administrative health databases: hospital discharge abstracts and physician claims data. These rules were used to identify persons with frailty from both decedent and living populations across five Canadian provinces. Participants included persons who had died and were aged 66 years or older at the time of death (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia) and living persons 65 years or older (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec). Descriptive statistics were computed for persons identified using each rule. The proportion of persons identified as frail ranged from 58.2-78.1 per cent (decedents) and 5.1-14.7 per cent (living persons).
Family caregivers are an integral and increasingly overburdened part of the health care system. There is a gap between what research evidence shows is beneficial to caregivers and what is actually provided. Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, a stakeholder meeting was held among researchers, family caregivers, caregiver associations, clinicians, health care administrators, and policy makers. The objectives of the meeting were to review current research evidence and conduct multi-stakeholder dialogue on the potential gaps, facilitators, and barriers to the provision of caregiver supports. A two-day meeting was attended by 123 individuals. Three target populations of family caregivers were identified for discussion: caregivers of seniors with dementia, caregivers in end-of-life care, and caregivers of frail seniors with complex health needs. The results of this meeting can and are being used to inform the development of implementation research endeavours and policies targeted at providing evidence-informed caregiver supports.
Dementia is a common neurological condition affecting many older individuals that leads to a loss of independence, diminished quality of life, premature mortality, caregiver burden and high levels of healthcare utilization and cost. This is an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of the worldwide prevalence and incidence of dementia.
The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for relevant studies published between 2000 (1985 for Canadian papers) and July of 2012. Papers selected for full-text review were included in the systematic review if they provided an original population-based estimate for the incidence and/or prevalence of dementia. The reference lists of included articles were also searched for additional studies. Two individuals independently performed abstract and full-text review, data extraction, and quality assessment of the papers. Random-effects models and/or meta-regression were used to generate pooled estimates by age, sex, setting (i.e., community, institution, both), diagnostic criteria utilized, location (i.e., continent) and year of data collection.
Of 16,066 abstracts screened, 707 articles were selected for full-text review. A total of 160 studies met the inclusion criteria. Among individuals 60 and over residing in the community, the pooled point and annual period prevalence estimates of dementia were 48.62 (CI95%: 41.98-56.32) and 69.07 (CI95%: 52.36-91.11) per 1000 persons, respectively. The respective pooled incidence rate (same age and setting) was 17.18 (CI95%: 13.90-21.23) per 1000 person-years, while the annual incidence proportion was 52.85 (CI95%: 33.08-84.42) per 1,000 persons. Increasing participant age was associated with a higher dementia prevalence and incidence. Annual period prevalence was higher in North America than in South America, Europe and Asia (in order of decreasing period prevalence) and higher in institutional compared to community and combined settings. Sex, diagnostic criteria (except for incidence proportion) and year of data collection were not associated with statistically significant different estimates of prevalence or incidence, though estimates were consistently higher for females than males.
Dementia is a common neurological condition in older individuals. Significant gaps in knowledge about its epidemiology were identified, particularly with regard to the incidence of dementia in low- and middle-income countries. Accurate estimates of prevalence and incidence of dementia are needed to plan for the health and social services that will be required to deal with an aging population.
As Canada’s population ages, frailty – with its increased risk of functional decline, deterioration in health status, and death – will become increasingly common. The physiology of frailty reflects its multisystem, multi-organ origins. About a quarter of Canadians over age 65 are frail, increasing to over half in those older than 85. Our health care system is organized around single-organ systems, impairing our ability to effectively treat people having multiple disorders and functional limitations. To address frailty, we must recognize when it occurs, increase awareness of its significance, develop holistic models of care, and generate better evidence for its treatment. Recognizing how frailty impacts lifespan will allow for integration of care goals into treatment options. Different settings in the Canadian health care system will require different strategies and tools to assess frailty. Given the magnitude of challenges frailty poses for the health care system as currently organized, policy changes will be essential.
Hip fractures are a common source of acute pain amongst the frail elderly. One potential technique to adequately manage pain in this population is the femoral nerve block. The objective of this systematic review was to provide updated evidence for the use of femoral nerve blocks as a pain management technique for older hip fracture patients in the emergency department (ED).
Searches of Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were conducted between December 2010 and May 2014. The reference list of a previous systematic review was also searched.
We included randomized control trials examining the use of femoral nerve blocks in the ED among older adults (65 years of age or older) with acute hip fracture.
Among 93 citations reviewed, seven trials were included. Four studies employed a single femoral nerve block, while three studies employed continuous (catheter-placed) femoral blocks. All but one of the studies were found to have a high risk of bias.
All studies reported reductions in pain intensity with femoral nerve blocks. All but one study reported decreased rescue analgesia requirements. There were no adverse effects found to be associated with the femoral block procedure; rather, two studies found a decreased risk of adverse events such as respiratory and cardiac complications.
Femoral nerve blocks appear to have benefits both in terms of decreasing the pain experienced by older patients, as well as limiting the amount of systemic opioids administered to this population.
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