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Background: Ebola virus disease (EVD) is highly transmissible and has a high mortality rate. During outbreaks, EVD can spread across international borders. Inadequate hand hygiene places healthcare workers (HCWs) at increased risk for healthcare-associated infections, including EVD. In high-income countries, alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) can improve hand hygiene compliance among HCWs in healthcare facilities (HCF). We evaluated local production and district-wide distribution of a WHO-recommended ABHR formulation and associations between ABHR availability in HCF and HCW hand hygiene compliance. Methods: The evaluation included 30 HCF in Kabarole District, located in Western Uganda near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an EVD outbreak has been ongoing since August 2018. We recorded baseline hand hygiene practices before and after patient contact among 46 healthcare workers across 20 HCFs in August 2018. Subsequently, in late 2018, WHO/UNICEF distributed commercially produced ABHR to all 30 HCFs in Kabarole as part of Ebola preparedness efforts. In February 2019, our crossover evaluation distributed 20 L locally produced ABHR to each of 15 HCFs. From June 24–July 5, 2019, we performed follow-up observations of hand hygiene practices among 68 HCWs across all 30 HCFs. We defined hand hygiene as handwashing with soap or using ABHR. We conducted focus groups with healthcare workers at baseline and follow-up. Results: We observed hand hygiene compliance before and after 203 and 308 patient contacts at baseline and follow-up, respectively. From baseline to follow-up, hand hygiene compliance before patient contact increased for ABHR use (0% to 17%) and handwashing with soap (0% to 5%), for a total increase from 0% to 22% (P < .0001). Similarly, hand hygiene after patient contact increased from baseline to follow-up for ABHR use (from 3% to 55%), and handwashing with soap decreased (from 12% to 7%), yielding a net increase in hand hygiene compliance after patient contact from 15% to 62% (P < .0001). Focus groups found that HCWs prefer ABHR to handwashing because it is faster and more convenient. Conclusions: In an HCF in Kabarole District, the introduction of ABHR appeared to improve hand hygiene compliance. However, the confirmation of 3 EVD cases in Uganda 120 km from Kabarole District 2 weeks before our follow-up hand hygiene observations may have influenced healthcare worker behavior and hand hygiene compliance. Local production and district-wide distribution of ABHR is feasible and may contribute to improved hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers.
Disclosures: Mohammed Lamorde, Contracted Research - Janssen Pharmaceutica, ViiV, Mylan
There are a variety of causes of acute heart failure in children including myocarditis, genetic/metabolic conditions, and congenital heart defects. In cases with a structurally normal heart and a negative personal and family history, myocarditis is often presumed to be the cause, but we hypothesise that genetic disorders contribute to a significant portion of these cases. We reviewed our cases of children who presented with acute heart failure and underwent genetic testing from 2008 to 2017. Eighty-seven percent of these individuals were found to have either a genetic syndrome or pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant in a cardiac-related gene. None of these individuals had a personal or family history of cardiomyopathy that was suggestive of a genetic aetiology prior to presentation. All of these individuals either passed away or were listed for cardiac transplantation indicating genetic testing may provide important information regarding prognosis in addition to providing information critical to assessment of family members.
Westmead Hospital (WMH) recognized gaps in its preparedness to respond to the Ebola 2014 outbreak in West Africa. A fragmented system was identified. A ‘State of Bio-preparedness’ project team convened to discuss all healthcare services in the planning, training, and implementation of a biopreparedness response.
A survey targeting the staff’s competence and confidence in biologically hazardous infection management was conducted. Semi-structured interviews explored staff members’ experiences and perspectives of biopreparedness response. The collaborative team called “State of Biopreparedness” (SOB) was assembled and a clinical practice improvement project was undertaken. To assess readiness, nine simulated Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (VHF) exercises involving staff and consumers were conducted. These exercises were debriefed by the multidisciplinary committee and themes and issues were identified. These nine simulation drills then assessed readiness and evaluated performance.
A number of consistent issues continue to emerge including:
1. A standard communication pathway for notification was needed - use of the incident paging system (111 pages) to notify the hospital’s incident management team.
2. A consistent and coordinated approach to the training and maintenance of standardized and high-level Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols for frontline clinical and clinical staff was required.
3. Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities and supporting these roles by translating the VHF Control Guideline and policy into task cards and checklists.
4. Strengthening intra- and interdepartmental staff collaboration and communication.
5. Infection control measures to be taken by staff after identifying a patient with possible VHF to reduce the risk of transmission of disease to staff, other patients, and visitors.
Integrating disaster management processes with clinical protocols had a positive impact on the hospital’s biopreparedness response. Simulation exercises were a vital and practical way for staff to feel confident and competent to perform their roles.
Little is known about the prevalence of mental health outcomes in UK personnel at the end of the British involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
We examined the prevalence of mental disorders and alcohol misuse, whether this differed between serving and ex-serving regular personnel and by deployment status.
This is the third phase of a military cohort study (2014–2016; n = 8093). The sample was based on participants from previous phases (2004–2006 and 2007–2009) and a new randomly selected sample of those who had joined the UK armed forces since 2009.
The prevalence was 6.2% for probable post-traumatic stress disorder, 21.9% for common mental disorders and 10.0% for alcohol misuse. Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and a combat role during deployment were associated with significantly worse mental health outcomes and alcohol misuse in ex-serving regular personnel but not in currently serving regular personnel.
The findings highlight an increasing prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder and a lowering prevalence of alcohol misuse compared with our previous findings and stresses the importance of continued surveillance during service and beyond.
Declaration of interest:
All authors are based at King's College London which, for the purpose of this study and other military-related studies, receives funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). S.A.M.S., M.J., L.H., D.P., S.M. and R.J.R. salaries were totally or partially paid by the UK MoD. The UK MoD provides support to the Academic Department of Military Mental Health, and the salaries of N.J., N.G. and N.T.F. are covered totally or partly by this contribution. D.Mu. is employed by Combat Stress, a national UK charity that provides clinical mental health services to veterans. D.MacM. is the lead consultant for an NHS Veteran Mental Health Service. N.G. is the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Lead for Military and Veterans’ Health, a trustee of Walking with the Wounded, and an independent director at the Forces in Mind Trust; however, he was not directed by these organisations in any way in relation to his contribution to this paper. N.J. is a full-time member of the armed forces seconded to King's College London. N.T.F. reports grants from the US Department of Defense and the UK MoD, is a trustee (unpaid) of The Warrior Programme and an independent advisor to the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). S.W. is a trustee (unpaid) of Combat Stress and Honorary Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry for the British Army (unpaid). S.W. is affiliated to the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England, in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR, the Department of Health, Public Health England or the UK MoD.
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.
Training for the clinical research workforce does not sufficiently prepare workers for today’s scientific complexity; deficiencies may be ameliorated with training. The Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications developed competency standards for principal investigators and clinical research coordinators.
Clinical and Translational Science Awards representatives refined competency statements. Working groups developed assessments, identified training, and highlighted gaps.
Forty-eight competency statements in 8 domains were developed.
Training is primarily investigator focused with few programs for clinical research coordinators. Lack of training is felt in new technologies and data management. There are no standardized assessments of competence.
The translation of discoveries to drugs, devices, and behavioral interventions requires well-prepared study teams. Execution of clinical trials remains suboptimal due to varied quality in design, execution, analysis, and reporting. A critical impediment is inconsistent, or even absent, competency-based training for clinical trial personnel.
In 2014, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) funded the project, Enhancing Clinical Research Professionals’ Training and Qualifications (ECRPTQ), aimed at addressing this deficit. The goal was to ensure all personnel are competent to execute clinical trials. A phased structure was utilized.
This paper focuses on training recommendations in Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Leveraging input from all Clinical and Translational Science Award hubs, the following was recommended to NCATS: all investigators and study coordinators executing a clinical trial should understand GCP principles and undergo training every 3 years, with the training method meeting the minimum criteria identified by the International Conference on Harmonisation GCP.
We anticipate that industry sponsors will acknowledge such training, eliminating redundant training requests. We proposed metrics to be tracked that required further study. A separate task force was composed to define recommendations for metrics to be reported to NCATS.
In many jurisdictions, legislation requires long-term care (LTC) facilities to have a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Although considerable research exists on LTC nurse staffing intensity, no empirical research on this requirement exists. Our retrospective observational study in Saskatchewan compared facilities with 24/7 RN coverage to facilities with less coverage supplemented with various night-shift staffing models. Adjusted for nurse staffing intensity and other potential confounders, risk ratios associated with less-than-24/7 RN coverage supplemented with licensed practical nurse night-shift staffing were 1.17, 95% CI [0.91, 1.50] and 1.00, 95% CI [0.72, 1.39]; and with less-than-24/7 RN coverage supplemented with care aide night-shift staffing, risk ratios were 1.46, 95% CI [1.11, 1.91] and 1.11, 95% CI [0.78, 1.58], for inpatient hospital admissions and Emergency Department visits respectively. Findings suggest that acute services utilization may be negatively influenced by the absence of 24/7 RN coverage.
Infestations of Italian ryegrass are problematic in both conventional and organic wheat production systems. The development of wheat cultivars with superior competitive ability against Italian ryegrass could play a role in maintaining acceptable yields and suppressing weed populations. Research was conducted in North Carolina to identify indirect methods of selection for Italian ryegrass suppressive ability (hereafter referred to as weed suppressive ability) of winter wheat cultivars that correlate well with Italian ryegrass-to-wheat biomass ratios. Two winter wheat cultivars (Dyna-Gro Baldwin and Dyna-Gro Dominion) and one experimental wheat line (NC05-19684) with differing morphological traits were overseeded with varying densities of Italian ryegrass. Wheat height measured throughout the growing season in weed-free plots was strongly associated with weed suppressive ability, but high wheat tillering capacity had no significant effect on weed suppressive ability in the lines tested in this study. Italian ryegrass seed head density during grain fill was strongly correlated (r = 0.94) with Italian ryegrass-to-wheat biomass ratio, the generally accepted measure of weed suppressive ability. Visual estimates of percent Italian ryegrass biomass relative to the plot with the highest level of Italian ryegrass infestation in each replicate were also strongly correlated with weed suppressive ability at all growth stages, especially during heading (r = 0.87) (Zadoks growth stage [GS] 55). Measurements from nonimaging spectrophotometers and overhead photographs taken from tillering (Zadoks 23 to 25) to early dough development (Zadoks 80) were unreliable estimates of end-of-season Italian ryegrass-to-wheat biomass ratios because they failed to account for wheat cultivar differences in biomass, color, and growth habit. Italian ryegrass seed head density and visual estimates of Italian ryegrass biomass during grain fill are appropriate indirect methods of selection for weed suppressive ability in breeding programs.
Objectives: The Secondary Prevention of Heart disEase in geneRal practicE (SPHERE) trial has recently reported. This study examines the cost-effectiveness of the SPHERE intervention in both healthcare systems on the island of Ireland.
Methods: Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis. A probabilistic model was developed to combine within-trial and beyond-trial impacts of treatment to estimate the lifetime costs and benefits of two secondary prevention strategies: Intervention - tailored practice and patient care plans; and Control - standardized usual care.
Results: The intervention strategy resulted in mean cost savings per patient of €512.77 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], −1086.46–91.98) and an increase in mean quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) per patient of 0.0051 (95 percent CI, −0.0101–0.0200), when compared with the control strategy. The probability of the intervention being cost-effective was 94 percent if decision makers are willing to pay €45,000 per additional QALY.
Conclusions: Decision makers in both settings must determine whether the level of evidence presented is sufficient to justify the adoption of the SPHERE intervention in clinical practice.
This study aimed to explore how the views of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) could inform the design of an information booklet aimed at providing patients and practitioners with a resource to help influence positive health behavioural outcomes.
Coronary heart disease has major consequences in terms of patient suffering and economic costs, with morbidity and mortality figures in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland among the highest in Europe. Lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise are strongly associated with an increased CHD risk, and practitioners report that health education materials are used in practice to help advise and educate patients about the consequences of their lifestyle.
Opinions of patients with CHD were explored concerning their information needs, particularly lifestyle advice, using a qualitative approach in four general practices. This information was used to design a booklet for a pilot study aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours and medication adherence among people with CHD. Focus group discussions explored patients’ opinions about the booklet’s ‘fitness for purpose’; semi-structured interviews with practitioners examined their views on the booklet’s usefulness.
In initial focus groups, patients identified gaps in their information provision regarding coping with stress, available local community support and medication purpose. Previously published literature was modified to address these gaps. Patients in the pilot study were satisfied with the re-designed booklet. Practitioners reported that its use in consultations enabled change implementation and facilitated patients’ understanding of connections between lifestyle and health outcomes.
Acknowledging the opinions of CHD patients in producing health information booklets emphasized a patient-centred approach and therefore supported practitioner–patient partnerships for choosing healthy lifestyle choices.
Deployment to the 2003 Iraq War was associated with ill health in reserve armed forces personnel.
To investigate reasons for the excess of ill health in reservists.
UK personnel who were deployed to the 2003 Iraq War completed a health survey about experiences on deployment to Iraq. Health status was measured using self-report of common mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), fatigue, physical symptoms and well-being.
Reservists were older and of higher rank than the regular forces. They reported higher exposure to traumatic experiences, lower unit cohesion, more problems adjusting to homecoming and lower marital satisfaction. Most health outcomes could be explained by role, experience of traumatic events or unit cohesion in theatre. PTSD symptoms were the one exception and were paradoxically most powerfully affected by differences in problems at home rather than events in Iraq.
The increased ill-health of reservists appears to be due to experiences on deployment and difficulties with homecoming.