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Conceptual models (CMs) are useful tools for researchers and health technology assessment bodies to understand the interplay among environmental characteristics (e.g., health care system), patient characteristics, health behaviors, and patient outcomes. The objective of this pilot study was to elicit perspectives of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and health care providers (HCPs) to develop a patient-centered CM of the AF patient experience in a US-based sample.
We developed two preliminary versions of the Andersen model of healthcare utilization (standard and patient-friendly versions) based on the published literature and the help of a patient advisor. For example, instead of describing “predisposing characteristics,” the patient-friendly CM describes, “what is it about me, or other afib patients that could impact disease or outcomes;” “enabling resources” is swapped for “helpful resources,” and “perceived need” is changed to “what impacts whether I believe I need to be treated”. Five patients from an online patient community and 10 HCPs from the University of Maryland Medical System provided feedback on the preliminary models. Audio recordings of interviews were transcribed verbatim, analyzed, and findings incorporated into a revised CM.
Interviewee additions under “what impacts whether I believe I need to be treated” included: absence of symptoms and fear of experiencing an AF episode; under “helpful resources” suggested additions include resources for navigating insurer formulary/benefits. Suggested additional outcomes of interest include anxiety, bruising, and shortness-of-breath. While patients found the patient-friendly version easy to understand, HCPs required explanation of standard-version headers, for example ‘predisposing characteristics’ and ‘enabling resources’, which had been adapted in the patient-friendly version.
Soliciting input from stakeholders ensures CMs are pragmatic, reflect the real-world experiences of patients and HCPs, and incorporate variables or other considerations not currently described in published literature. Researchers can utilize CMs to aid in selection of variables for observational studies.
There has been a growing awareness of the importance of domestic violence as a significant public health issue since the late 1990s, although women have been controlled and assaulted by their partners throughout history. Obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives have a key role in identifying women who are experiencing domestic violence, documenting the abuse, and ensuring that appropriate advice, support, and interventions can be accessed. Domestic violence is one part of a spectrum of human rights abuses against women and girls that includes rape and sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, “honor killings,” female genital mutilation, trafficking of children and women for prostitution, and systematic rape as a tool of war. Gender-based violence is predominantly inflicted by men upon women and girls; it reflects and reinforces inequalities between men and women and adversely affects the health, dignity, safety, and autonomy of survivors.
The simple calving laws currently used in ice-sheet models do not adequately reflect the complexity and diversity of calving processes. To be effective, calving laws must be grounded in a sound understanding of how calving actually works. Here, we develop a new strategy for formulating calving laws, using (a) the Helsinki Discrete Element Model (HiDEM) to explicitly model fracture and calving processes, and (b) the continuum model Elmer/Ice to identify critical stress states associated with HiDEM calving events. A range of observed calving processes emerges spontaneously from HiDEM in response to variations in ice-front buoyancy and the size of subaqueous undercuts. Calving driven by buoyancy and melt under-cutting is under-predicted by existing calving laws, but we show that the location and magnitude of HiDEM calving events can be predicted in Elmer/Ice from characteristic stress patterns. Our results open the way to developing calving laws that properly reflect the diversity of calving processes, and provide a framework for a unified theory of the calving process continuum.
This 12 month, Australian study sought to compare the Capabilities Model of Dementia Care (CMDC) with usual long-term care (LTC), in terms of (1) the effectiveness of the CMDC in assisting care staff to improve Quality Of Life (QOL) for older people with dementia; and (2) whether implementation of the CMDC improved staff attitudes towards, and experiences of working and caring for the person with dementia.
A single blind, non-randomized controlled trial design, involving CMDC intervention group (three facilities) and a comparison usual LTC practice control group (one facility), was conducted from August 2010 to September 2011. Eighty-one staff members and 48 family members of a person with dementia were recruited from these four LTC facilities. At baseline, 6 and 12 months, staff completed a modified Staff Experiences of Working with Demented Residents questionnaire (SEWDR), and families completed the Quality of Life – Alzheimer's Disease questionnaire (QOL-AD).
LTC staff in the usual care group reported significantly lower SEWDR scores (i.e. less work satisfaction) than those in the CMDC intervention group at 12 months (p = 0.005). Similarly, family members in the comparison group reported significantly lower levels of perceived QOL for their relative with dementia (QOL-AD scores) than their counterparts in the CMDC intervention group at 12 months (p = 0.012).
Although the study has a number of limitations the CMDC appears to be an effective model of dementia care – more so than usual LTC practice. The CMDC requires further evaluation with participants from a diverse range of LTC facilities and stages of cognitive impairment.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate an educational programme, ‘Diabetes Connect: Connecting Professions’, which was developed to enhance communication across primary care networks, to support best practice in clinical interventions and progress multidisciplinary team work to benefit patients in diabetes care.
A total of 26 workshops were successfully delivered for 309 primary care professionals across the state of Queensland in Australia from November 2011. It consists of two separate, but complementary training elements: a series of online clinical education training modules and state-wide interprofessional learning workshops developed to enhance professional competencies. The evaluation design included completion of online surveys by the participants at two time points: first upon registering for the online modules or workshops; second, one week after attending a workshop. The survey included questions to evaluate the change in role performance measures.
Overall, significant increases in participants’ current knowledge, perceived ability to adopt this knowledge at work and willingness to change professional behaviour in the short term were observed.
The study suggests that for maximum benefit both, workshop and online training, should be combined and made available widely. Future programmes should use a randomised trial design to test the delivery model.
Genetic factors can play a key role in the multiple level of analyses approach to understanding the development of child psychopathology. The present study examined gene–environment correlations and Gene × Environment interactions for polymorphisms of three target genes, the serotonin transporter gene, the D4 dopamine receptor gene, and the monoamine oxidase A gene in relation to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and oppositional behavior. Saliva samples were collected from 175 non-Hispanic White, 4-year-old children. Psychosocial risk factors included socioeconomic status, life stress, caretaker depression, parental support, hostility, and scaffolding skills. In comparison with the short forms (s/s, s/l) of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic repeat, the long form (l/l) was associated with greater increases in symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder in interaction with family stress and with greater increases in symptoms of child depression and anxiety in interaction with caretaker depression, family conflict, and socioeconomic status. In boys, low-activity monoamine oxidase A gene was associated with increases in child anxiety and depression in interaction with caretaker depression, hostility, family conflict, and family stress. The results highlight the important of gene–environment interplay in the development of symptoms of child psychopathology in young children.
Recent Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have identified four low-penetrance ovarian cancer susceptibility loci. We hypothesized that further moderate- or low-penetrance variants exist among the subset of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) not well tagged by the genotyping arrays used in the previous studies, which would account for some of the remaining risk. We therefore conducted a time- and cost-effective stage 1 GWAS on 342 invasive serous cases and 643 controls genotyped on pooled DNA using the high-density Illumina 1M-Duo array. We followed up 20 of the most significantly associated SNPs, which are not well tagged by the lower density arrays used by the published GWAS, and genotyping them on individual DNA. Most of the top 20 SNPs were clearly validated by individually genotyping the samples used in the pools. However, none of the 20 SNPs replicated when tested for association in a much larger stage 2 set of 4,651 cases and 6,966 controls from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium. Given that most of the top 20 SNPs from pooling were validated in the same samples by individual genotyping, the lack of replication is likely to be due to the relatively small sample size in our stage 1 GWAS rather than due to problems with the pooling approach. We conclude that there are unlikely to be any moderate or large effects on ovarian cancer risk untagged by less dense arrays. However, our study lacked power to make clear statements on the existence of hitherto untagged small-effect variants.
The recording and analysis of a burnt mound and adjacent palaeochannel deposits on the floodplain of the River Soar in Leicestershire revealed that the burnt mound was in use, possibly for a number of different purposes, at the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. An extensive radiocarbon dating programme indicated that the site was revisited. Human remains from the palaeochannel comprised the remains of three individuals, two of whom pre-dated the burnt mound by several centuries while the partial remains of a third, dating from the Late Bronze Age, provided evidence that this individual had met a violent death. These finds, along with animal bones dating to the Iron Age, and the remains of a bridge from the early medieval period, suggest that people were drawn to this location over a long period of time.
To describe the rates of several key outcomes and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) among hospitals that participated in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON).
Design and Setting.
Prospective, observational cohort study of patients admitted to 24 community hospitals from 2003 through 2009.
The following data were collected and analyzed: incidence of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), and HAIs caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); employee exposures to bloodborne pathogens (EBBPs); physician EBBPs; patient-days; central line-days; ventilator-days; and urinary catheter-days. Poisson regression was used to determine whether incidence rates of these HAIs and exposures changed during the first 5 and 7 years of participation in DICON; nonrandom clustering of each outcome was controlled for. Cost saved and lives saved were calculated on the basis of published estimates.
In total, we analyzed 6.5 million patient-days, 4,783 EBPPs, 2,948 HAIs due to MRSA, and 2,076 device-related infections. Rates of employee EBBPs, HAIs due to MRSA, and device-related infections decreased significantly during the first 5 years of participation in DICON (P < .05 for all models; average decrease was approximately 50%); in contrast, physician EBBPs remained unchanged. In aggregate, 210 CLABSIs, 312 cases of VAP, 332 CAUTIs, 1,042 HAIs due to MRSA, and 1,016 employee EBBPs were prevented. Each hospital saved approximately $100,000 per year of participation, and collectively the hospitals may have prevented 52-105 deaths from CLABSI or VAP. The 7-year analysis demonstrated that these trends continued with further participation.
Hospitals with long-term participation in an infection control network decreased rates of significant HAIs by approximately 50%, decreased costs, and saved lives.
Decadal samples of dendrochronologically dated pine (Lagorostrobos franklinii) from the Stanley River basin, Tasmania, have been radiocarbon dated between 2120–850 yr BP. This data set overlaps and extends the current Southern Hemisphere record, which covers the period 110–995 yr BP. There is good agreement between the 2 records between 995–850 yr BP, between sample replicates and with consensus values for standards. As in the younger data set, we find evidence for a distinct but variable offset between the Southern Hemisphere data and IntCal04; although this is likely due to real temporal variability in the interhemispheric offset, further work is planned to rule out possible laboratory or sample preparation differences.
Most debate on home ownership and risk has focused on the management of mortgage debt. But there are other risks for home buyers in settings where housing dominates people's wealth portfolios: where the investment dimensions of property are at a premium; and where housing wealth is, de facto, an asset base for welfare. This article draws from qualitative research with 150 UK mortgage holders to assess the character, extent and possible mitigation of this wider risk regime. The analysis first explores the value home buyers attach to the financial returns on housing. Next we document the extent to which home equity is earmarked and used as a financial buffer. Finally, reflecting on the merits and limitations of this tactic, we conclude by asking whether – in the interests of housing and social policy, as well as with a view to managing the economy – there is any need, scope or appetite for more actively sharing the financial risks and investment gains of housing systems anchored on owner-occupation.
Trent Focus, a Research and Development Support Unit, have introduced the ‘Designated Research Team’ (DRT) approach to building research capacity. This approach funds protected time to develop research ideas and skills for a team with limited research experience. This paper uses the example of a successful team of podiatry researchers to illustrate the approach to, and outcomes of, a DRT. It draws on documentary analysis of meeting notes and annual reports, and team members' views collected during a recorded reflective session of the team at the end of the funding period. The DRT were successful in achieving agreed outcomes, including completing the project, submitting and publishing in peer reviewed journals, and presenting at conferences. They were also able to attract further funding, and engage with international collaborations and research activity. The unique contribution of this paper is that it focuses on facilitating factors to building research capacity based on a practice example. These include: enabling protected time, effective managerial support, applied and timely research training at relevant levels to expertise, immediate access to supervision and mentorship, a critical mass of research expertise within the team, and an encouraging workplace environment. Importantly, research undertaken was seen as a means to improve practice and the status of the professional group. ‘Accessible’ academic support including outreach work and attitudes of the team members and supervisors towards teaching and learning were important. Process factors enabling success include the use of project management techniques, clear delegation of tasks, effective lines of communication and accountability, and high levels of social capital and commitment between team members. The paper highlights ways forward to using these facilitating factors to build further research capacity, and to use this approach to highlight other areas of research capacity outcome measures.
The UK Food Standards Agency convened a group of expert scientists to review current research investigating diet and carriers of genetic mutations associated with hereditary haemochromatosis. The workshop concluded that individuals who are heterozygous for the C282Y mutation of the HFE gene do not appear to respond abnormally to dietary Fe and therefore do not need to change their diet to prevent accumulation of body Fe.
Seven species of introduced Carabidae are newly reported in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Trechus quadristriatus (Schrank), Amara ovata (Fabricius), and Harpalus rubripes (Duftschmid) are newly recorded in Atlantic Canada as a whole. Possible modes of introduction of these species to the region are discussed. Several may have been introduced in association with dry ballast shipments. Some may have arrived via natural dispersion from neighbouring areas; others appear to have been present and undetected for a considerable time. The possible impact of such introductions is also discussed. Synanthropic environments have higher proportions of introduced species than relatively undisturbed, native habitats. Some adventive species do become widespread in native environments; however, negative impacts on native species may not be readily apparent.
This study explored possible neural mechanisms that contribute to improvements in balance control produced by reactive balance training in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Six children with CP (four males, two females; mean age 9y 4mo), two with spastic hemiplegia (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level I) and four with spastic diplegia (GMFCS level II,) were given 5 days of intensive training in reactive balance control (100 perturbations per day on a moveable force platform). Surface electromyography was used to characterize changes in neuromuscular responses pretraining, immediately posttraining, and 1 month posttraining. Training in reactive balance control resulted in improvements in directional specificity of responses (a basic level of response organization) and other spatial/temporal characteristics including: (1) faster activation of muscle contraction after training, allowing children to recover stability faster; (2) emergence of a distal–proximal muscle sequence; and (3) improved ability to modulate the amplitude of muscle activity (increased amplitude of agonist and decreased amplitude of antagonist, reducing coactivation). Each child with spastic hemiplegia or diplegia showed a different combination of factors that contributed to improved performance; the level of change in neural factors depended on the severity of involvement of the child: hemiplegia vs diplegia, and level of involvement within each diagnostic category.