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Mental health and functional difficulties are highly comorbid across neurological disorders, but supportive care options are limited. This randomised controlled trial assessed the efficacy of a novel transdiagnostic internet-delivered psychological intervention for adults with neurological disorders.
221 participants with a confirmed diagnosis of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or an acquired brain injury were allocated to either an immediate treatment group (n = 115) or treatment-as-usual waitlist control (n = 106). The intervention, the Wellbeing Neuro Course, was delivered online via the eCentreClinic website. The Course includes six lessons, based on cognitive behavioural therapy, delivered over 10 weeks with support from a psychologist via email and telephone. Primary outcomes were symptoms of depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7) and disability (WHODAS 2.0).
215 participants commenced the trial (treatment n = 111; control n = 104) and were included in intention-to-treat analysis. At post-treatment, we observed significant between-group differences in depression (PHQ-9; difference = 3.07 [95% CI 2.04–4.11], g = 0.62), anxiety (GAD-7; difference = 1.87 [0.92–2.81], g = 0.41) and disability (WHODAS 2.0 difference = 3.08 [1.09–5.06], g = 0.31), that favoured treatment (all ps < 0.001). Treatment-related effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Findings were achieved with minimal clinician time (average of 95.7 min [s.d. = 59.3] per participant), highlighting the public health potential of this approach to care. No adverse treatment events were reported.
Internet-delivered psychological interventions could be a suitable model of accessible supportive care for patients with neurological disorders.
Recently the NHS has expanded the provision of liaison mental health services (LMHS) to ensure that every acute hospital with an emergency department in England has a liaison psychiatry service. Little work has been undertaken to explore first-hand experiences of these services. The aim of this study was to capture service users’ experiences of LMHS in both emergency departments and acute inpatient wards in the UK, with a view to adapt services to better meet the needs of its users.
This cross-sectional internet survey was initially advertised from May-July 2017 using the social media platform Facebook. Due to a paucity of male respondents, it was re-run from November 2017-February 2018, specifically targeting this demographic group. 184 people responded to the survey, of which 147 were service users and 37 were service users’ accompanying partners, friends or family members. The survey featured a structured questionnaire divided into three categories: the profile of the respondent, perceived professionalism of LMHS, and overall opinion of the service. Space was available for free-text comments in each section. Descriptive analysis of quantitative data was undertaken with R statistical software V.3.2.2. Qualitative data from free-text comments were transcribed and interpreted independently by three researchers using framework analysis; familiarisation with the data was followed by identification of a thematic framework, indexing, charting, mapping and interpretation.
Opinions of the service were mixed but predominantly negative. 31% of service users and 27% of their loved ones found their overall contact with LMHS useful. Features most frequently identified as important were the provision of a 24/7 service, assessment by a variety of healthcare professionals and national standardisation of services. Respondents indicated that the least important feature was the provision of a separate service for older people. They also expressed that a desirable LMHS would include faster assessments following referral from the parent team, clearer communication about next steps and greater knowledge of local services and third sector organisations.
Our survey identified mixed responses, however service users and their loved ones perceived LMHS more frequently as negative than positive. This may be attributed to the recent governmental drive to assess, treat and discharge 95% of all patients seen in emergency departments within four hours of initial attendance. Additionally, dissatisfied service users are more likely to volunteer their opinions. The evaluation and adaptation of LMHS should be prioritised to enhance their inherent therapeutic value and improve engagement with treatment and future psychiatric care.
The majority of older adults with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Illiteracy and low educational background are common in older LMIC populations, particularly in rural areas, and cognitive screening tools developed for this setting must reflect this. This study aimed to review published validation studies of cognitive screening tools for dementia in low-literacy settings in order to determine the most appropriate tools for use.
A systematic search of major databases was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. Validation studies of brief cognitive screening tests including illiterate participants or those with elementary education were eligible. Studies were quality assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool. Good or fair quality studies were included in a bivariate random-effects meta-analysis and a hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curve constructed.
Forty-five eligible studies were quality assessed. A significant proportion utilized a case–control design, resulting in spectrum bias. The area under the ROC (AUROC) curve was 0.937 for community/low prevalence studies, 0.881 for clinic based/higher prevalence studies, and 0.869 for illiterate populations. For the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (and adaptations), the AUROC curve was 0.853.
Numerous tools for assessment of cognitive impairment in low-literacy settings have been developed, and tools developed for use in high-income countries have also been validated in low-literacy settings. Most tools have been inadequately validated, with only MMSE, cognitive abilities screening instrument (CASI), Eurotest, and Fototest having more than one published good or fair quality study in an illiterate or low-literate setting. At present no screening test can be recommended.
Recent research has suggested that understanding and addressing the high prevalence of sleep difficulties in older women requires going beyond a purely physiological focus to address the role of social contextual pressures and demands. We take a gendered lifecourse approach to explore how sleep difficulties have evolved and how their management might reflect the position of older women in society more broadly. We conducted in-depth interviews with 12 oldest-old (average age 86) community-dwelling women who currently experienced sleep difficulties. Five themes emerged from the analysis: significant life stages; contingent lives; daily concerns in relation to ageing; attitudes and responses of women and general practitioners; and stigma and sleeping pills, which provided a conceptual framework through which to explain the reality of sleep difficulties for these women. For all women, sleep difficulties were not related to physical aspects such as pain or discomfort, but were largely shaped by demands associated with family relationships at different times in the lifecourse. Furthermore, our findings suggest that responses by women themselves, and health professionals, reflect a sense of stigma around sleep difficulties and use of sleeping pills. More emphasis on the social contextual explanations underpinning sleep difficulties might lead to better prevention and treatment of such problems, and increase quality of life.
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