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To determine the impact of clinical decision support on guideline-concordant Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) treatment.
Quasi-experimental study in >50 ambulatory clinics.
Primary, specialty, and urgent-care clinics.
Adult patients were eligible for inclusion if they were diagnosed with and treated for a first episode of symptomatic CDI at an ambulatory clinic between November 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020.
An outpatient best practice advisory (BPA) was implemented to notify prescribers that “vancomycin or fidaxomicin are preferred over metronidazole for C.difficile infection” when metronidazole was prescribed to a patient with CDI.
In total, 189 patients were included in the study: 92 before the BPA and 97 after the BPA. Their median age was 59 years; 31% were male; 75% were white; 30% had CDI-related comorbidities; 35% had healthcare exposure; 65% had antibiotic exposure; 44% had gastric acid suppression therapy within 90 days of CDI diagnosis. The BPA was accepted 23 of 26 times and was used to optimize the therapy of 16 patients in 6 months. Guideline-concordant therapy increased after implementation of the BPA (72% vs 91%; P = .001). Vancomycin prescribing increased and metronidazole prescribing decreased after the BPA. There was no difference in clinical response or unplanned encounter within 14 days after treatment initiation. Fewer patients after the BPA had CDI recurrence within 14–56 days of the initial episode (27% vs 7%; P < .001).
Clinical decision support increased prescribing of guideline-concordant CDI therapy in the outpatient setting. A targeted BPA is an effective stewardship intervention and may be especially useful in settings with limited antimicrobial stewardship resources.
Background: In November 2020, bamlanivimab received emergency use authorization (EUA) to treat patients with early, mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progression. Montefiore Medical Center serves an economically underserved community of >1.4 million residents in the Bronx, New York. Montefiore’s antimicrobial stewardship team (AST) developed a multidisciplinary treatment pathway for patients meeting EUA criteria: (1) outpatients and hospital associates and (2) acute-care patients (EDs or inpatient). Methods: The Montefiore AST established a centralized process for screening high-risk COVID-19 patients 7 days a week. Referrals were sent by e-mail from occupational health, primary care practices, specialty practices, emergency departments, and urgent care centers. Patients were screened in real time and were treated in the ED or a newly established infusion center within 24 hours. After infusion, all patients received phone calls from nurses and had an infectious diseases televisit. Demographics, clinical symptoms, subsequent ED visit or hospital admission, and timing from infusion to ED or hospitalization were obtained from the electronic health record. Results: In total, 281 high-risk patients (median age, 62 years; 57% female) received bamlanivimab at the infusion center or in the acute-care setting between December 2, 2020, and January 27, 2021 (Table 1). The number of treated patients increased weekly (Figure 1). Also, 62% were Hispanic or black, and 96% met EUA criteria. Furthermore, 51 (18%) were referred from occupational health, 205 (73%) were referred from the community, and 25 (9%) were inpatients (https://www.fda.gov/media/143605/download). All patients were successfully infused without adverse reactions. In addition, 23 patients (8.2%) were hospitalized and 6 (2.1%) visited EDs within 30 days of treatment. The average number of days between symptom onset and infusion was 4.9. The median age of admitted versus nonadmitted patients was 68 years versus 61.5 years (P = .07). Conclusions: An AST-coordinated bamlanivimab treatment program successfully treated multiple high-risk COVID-19 patients and potentially reduced hospitalizations. However, the effort, personnel, and resources required are significant. Dedicated hospital investment is necessary for maximal success.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), underscoring the urgent need for simple, efficient, and inexpensive methods to decontaminate masks and respirators exposed to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We hypothesized that methylene blue (MB) photochemical treatment, which has various clinical applications, could decontaminate PPE contaminated with coronavirus.
The 2 arms of the study included (1) PPE inoculation with coronaviruses followed by MB with light (MBL) decontamination treatment and (2) PPE treatment with MBL for 5 cycles of decontamination to determine maintenance of PPE performance.
MBL treatment was used to inactivate coronaviruses on 3 N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) and 2 medical mask models. We inoculated FFR and medical mask materials with 3 coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and we treated them with 10 µM MB and exposed them to 50,000 lux of white light or 12,500 lux of red light for 30 minutes. In parallel, integrity was assessed after 5 cycles of decontamination using multiple US and international test methods, and the process was compared with the FDA-authorized vaporized hydrogen peroxide plus ozone (VHP+O3) decontamination method.
Overall, MBL robustly and consistently inactivated all 3 coronaviruses with 99.8% to >99.9% virus inactivation across all FFRs and medical masks tested. FFR and medical mask integrity was maintained after 5 cycles of MBL treatment, whereas 1 FFR model failed after 5 cycles of VHP+O3.
MBL treatment decontaminated respirators and masks by inactivating 3 tested coronaviruses without compromising integrity through 5 cycles of decontamination. MBL decontamination is effective, is low cost, and does not require specialized equipment, making it applicable in low- to high-resource settings.
Early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the CDC recommended collection of a lower respiratory tract (LRT) specimen for severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing in addition to the routinely recommended upper respiratory tract (URT) testing in mechanically ventilated patients. Significant operational challenges were noted at our institution using this approach. In this report, we describe our experience with routine collection of paired URT and LRT sample testing. Our results revealed a high concordance between the 2 sources, and that all children tested for SARS-CoV-2 were appropriately diagnosed with URT testing alone. There was no added benefit to LRT testing. Based on these findings, our institutional approach was therefore adjusted to sample the URT alone for most patients, with LRT sampling reserved for patients with ongoing clinical suspicion for SARS-CoV-2 after a negative URT test.
Approved treatments for bipolar depression are limited and associated with a spectrum of undesirable side effects. Lumateperone (lumateperone tosylate, ITI−007), a mechanistically novel antipsychotic that simultaneously modulates serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate neurotransmission, is FDA-approved for the treatment of schizophrenia. Lumateperone is currently being investigated for the treatment of bipolar depression (major depressive episodes [MDE] associated with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder). This Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled multinational study (NCT03249376) investigated the efficacy and safety of lumateperone in patients with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder experiencing a MDE.
Patients (18 75 years) with a clinical diagnosis of bipolar I or bipolar II disorder who were experiencing a MDE (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS] Total score =20 and a Clinical Global Impression Scale-Bipolar Version-Severity [CGI-BP-S] score =4 at screening and baseline) were randomized to lumateperone 42mg or placebo for 6 weeks. The primary and key secondary efficacy endpoints were change from baseline to Day 43 in MADRS total score and CGI-BP-S scores, respectively. Secondary efficacy outcomes included response (MADRS improvement = 50%) and remission (MADRS total score =12) at Day 43. Safety assessments included treatment emergent adverse events, laboratory parameters, vital signs, extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), and suicidality.
In this study, 377 patients received treatment (placebo, n=189; lumateperone 42mg, n=188) and 333 completed treatment. Patients in the lumateperone 42-mg group had significantly greater mean improvement on MADRS total score change from baseline to Day 43 compared with placebo (least squares mean difference [LSMD]=-4.6; 95% confidence interval [CI]=-6.34, −2.83; effect size vs placebo [ES]=-0.56; P<.0001). Lumateperone treatment was associated with significant MADRS improvement in both patients with bipolar I (LSMD=-4.0; 95% CI=-5.92, −1.99; ES=-0.49; P<.0001) and bipolar II (LSMD=-7.0; 95% CI=-10.92, −3.16; ES=-0.81; P=.0004). The lumateperone 42-mg group also had significantly greater mean improvement in CGI-BP-S total score compared with placebo (LSMD=-0.9; 95% CI=-1.37, −0.51; ES=-0.46; P<.001). Lumateperone compared with placebo had significantly greater MADRS response rate (51.1% vs 36.7%; odds ratio=2.98; P<.001) and remission rates (P=.02) at Day 43. Lumateperone treatment was well tolerated, with minimal risk of EPS, metabolic, and prolactin side effects.
Lumateperone 42 mg significantly improved depression symptoms in both patients with bipolar I and bipolar II depression. Lumateperone was generally well tolerated. These results suggest that lumateperone 42 mg may be a promising new treatment for bipolar depression associated with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.
To address appropriateness of antibiotic use, we implemented an electronic framework to evaluate antibiotic “never events” (NEs) at 2 medical centers. Patient-level vancomycin administration records were classified as NEs or non-NEs. The objective framework allowed capture of true-positive vancomycin NEs in one-third of patients identified by the electronic strategy.
Background: With the emergence of antibiotic resistant threats and the need for appropriate antibiotic use, laboratory microbiology information is important to guide clinical decision making in nursing homes, where access to such data can be limited. Susceptibility data are necessary to inform antibiotic selection and to monitor changes in resistance patterns over time. To contribute to existing data that describe antibiotic resistance among nursing home residents, we summarized antibiotic susceptibility data from organisms commonly isolated from urine cultures collected as part of the CDC multistate, Emerging Infections Program (EIP) nursing home prevalence survey. Methods: In 2017, urine culture and antibiotic susceptibility data for selected organisms were retrospectively collected from nursing home residents’ medical records by trained EIP staff. Urine culture results reported as negative (no growth) or contaminated were excluded. Susceptibility results were recorded as susceptible, non-susceptible (resistant or intermediate), or not tested. The pooled mean percentage tested and percentage non-susceptible were calculated for selected antibiotic agents and classes using available data. Susceptibility data were analyzed for organisms with ≥20 isolates. The definition for multidrug-resistance (MDR) was based on the CDC and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s interim standard definitions. Data were analyzed using SAS v 9.4 software. Results: Among 161 participating nursing homes and 15,276 residents, 300 residents (2.0%) had documentation of a urine culture at the time of the survey, and 229 (76.3%) were positive. Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella spp, and Enterococcus spp represented 73.0% of all urine isolates (N = 278). There were 215 (77.3%) isolates with reported susceptibility data (Fig. 1). Of these, data were analyzed for 187 (87.0%) (Fig. 2). All isolates tested for carbapenems were susceptible. Fluoroquinolone non-susceptibility was most prevalent among E. coli (42.9%) and P. mirabilis (55.9%). Among Klebsiella spp, the highest percentages of non-susceptibility were observed for extended-spectrum cephalosporins and folate pathway inhibitors (25.0% each). Glycopeptide non-susceptibility was 10.0% for Enterococcus spp. The percentage of isolates classified as MDR ranged from 10.1% for E. coli to 14.7% for P. mirabilis. Conclusions: Substantial levels of non-susceptibility were observed for nursing home residents’ urine isolates, with 10% to 56% reported as non-susceptible to the antibiotics assessed. Non-susceptibility was highest for fluoroquinolones, an antibiotic class commonly used in nursing homes, and ≥ 10% of selected isolates were MDR. Our findings reinforce the importance of nursing homes using susceptibility data from laboratory service providers to guide antibiotic prescribing and to monitor levels of resistance.
Background: Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in nursing homes; urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a frequent indication. Although there is no gold standard for the diagnosis of UTIs, various criteria have been developed to inform and standardize nursing home prescribing decisions, with the goal of reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. Using different published criteria designed to guide decisions on initiating treatment of UTIs (ie, symptomatic, catheter-associated, and uncomplicated cystitis), our objective was to assess the appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing among NH residents. Methods: In 2017, the CDC Emerging Infections Program (EIP) performed a prevalence survey of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic use in 161 nursing homes from 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee. EIP staff reviewed resident medical records to collect demographic and clinical information, infection signs, symptoms, and diagnostic testing documented on the day an antibiotic was initiated and 6 days prior. We applied 4 criteria to determine whether initiation of treatment for UTI was supported: (1) the Loeb minimum clinical criteria (Loeb); (2) the Suspected UTI Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation tool (UTI SBAR tool); (3) adaptation of Infectious Diseases Society of America UTI treatment guidelines for nursing home residents (Crnich & Drinka); and (4) diagnostic criteria for uncomplicated cystitis (cystitis consensus) (Fig. 1). We calculated the percentage of residents for whom initiating UTI treatment was appropriate by these criteria. Results: Of 248 residents for whom UTI treatment was initiated in the nursing home, the median age was 79 years [IQR, 19], 63% were female, and 35% were admitted for postacute care. There was substantial variability in the percentage of residents with antibiotic initiation classified as appropriate by each of the criteria, ranging from 8% for the cystitis consensus, to 27% for Loeb, to 33% for the UTI SBAR tool, to 51% for Crnich and Drinka (Fig. 2). Conclusions: Appropriate initiation of UTI treatment among nursing home residents remained low regardless of criteria used. At best only half of antibiotic treatment met published prescribing criteria. Although insufficient documentation of infection signs, symptoms and testing may have contributed to the low percentages observed, adequate documentation in the medical record to support prescribing should be standard practice, as outlined in the CDC Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for nursing homes. Standardized UTI prescribing criteria should be incorporated into nursing home stewardship activities to improve the assessment and documentation of symptomatic UTI and to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use.
Background: Unnecessary and prolonged antibiotic use is an important driver of antimicrobial resistance, increasing patient harm and resource utilization. Antimicrobials prescribed at hospital discharge represent an important opportunity to intervene and optimize therapy. Objective: We describe the implementation of a pharmacist-led multidisciplinary antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) intervention at transition of care (TOC) to improve antibiotic selection and duration. Methods: This intervention an IRB-approved multihospital, quasi-experimental, 3-phase stepped-wedge project in a 5-hospital health system. The setting included a large, urban, academic medical center in Detroit, Michigan, and 4 community hospitals in southeastern Michigan. AMS is provided by a pharmacist and infectious diseases physician at each site. For the AMS TOC intervention, pharmacists implemented 3 strategies: (1) early identification of patients to be discharged on oral antibiotics; (2) collaborative planning and communication regarding guideline-recommended antibiotic selection and duration; and (3) facilitation of discharge antibiotic prescription with appropriate stop date. Process improvements were modified to fit the academic and community hospital practice models. The process was implemented in general and specialty practice wards at each hospital site. Prior to implementation in October 2018, pharmacists were trained on tools to standardize identification, collaboration, and documentation. Pocket cards were used to augment education and electronic medical record (EMR) templates standardized documentation. Physicians and nurses on participating units were educated on the rationale and process. Following initiation, ongoing feedback was provided regularly to pharmacists to discuss challenges and to identify solutions. Process measures included the total number of patients receiving the intervention monthly, as indicated by pharmacist AMS TOC notes placed. Protocol adherence was evaluated in 25 randomly selected patients in each study phase each month. Adherence was defined as a pharmacist preparing discharge prescriptions and a placing note in the EMR. Results: Over the study period, 1,558 patient encounters received AMS TOC facilitation by a pharmacist. Monthly protocol adherence ranged from 29% to 87% (higher in academic institutions than community) (Fig. 1). Months of low protocol adherence were associated with times of reduced staffing and onboarding a large group of new employees or trainees. Additional barriers included discharges over weekends. The most common area needing clarification was how to count days of therapy to determine the appropriate stop date. A guide of how to count days of therapy was created to assist. Conclusions: Pharmacist-led antimicrobial stewardship at discharge is a feasible intervention in both academic and community settings. Identifying potential barriers and assessing strategies with multidisciplinary healthcare teams allows for optimal implementation and intervention rollout.
Funding: This work was completed under CDC contract number 200-2018-02928.
Background: Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is recommended in hospital, postacute, and outpatient settings. Transitions of care (TOC) are important in each of these settings; however, AMS efforts during TOC have been limited. Beginning in October 2018, we sequentially implemented a pharmacist-led multidisciplinary review of oral antimicrobial therapy prescribed at hospital discharge from general and specialty medicine wards across a health system. Pharmacists facilitated data input of discharge prescriptions following early identification and collaborative discussion of patients to be discharged on oral antimicrobials The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of AMS during TOC. Methods: This project was an IRB-approved stepped-wedge, quasi-experimental study in a 5-hospital health system that included hospitalized adults with skin, urinary, intra-abdominal, and respiratory tract infections who had been discharged from general and specialty wards with oral antimicrobials. Patients with complicated infections, neutropenia, or who were transferred from an outside hospital were excluded. The primary end point was optimization of antimicrobial therapy at time of hospital discharge, defined by correct selection, dose, and duration according to institutional guidance. Outcomes were compared before and after the intervention. Results: In total, 800 patients were included: 400 in the preintervention period and 400 in the postintervention period. Among this cohort, 252 (63%) received the intervention by a pharmacist per protocol during TOC. Patients had similar comorbid conditions before and after the intervention. Preintervention patients were more likely to be discharged from community hospitals. Before the intervention, 36% of discharge regimens were considered optimized, compared to 81.5% after the intervention (P < .001); this difference was largely driven by a reduction in patients receiving a duration of therapy beyond the clinical indication (44.5 vs 10%; P < .001). We observed similar clinical resolution, 30-day readmission, and adverse drug events (ADEs) between the pre- and postintervention periods. Postdischarge antimicrobial duration of therapy was reduced from 4 days (range, 3–5) to 3 days (range, 2–4) (P < .001) Severe ADEs occurred more frequently in the preintervention group (9 vs 3.3%; P = .001), which was driven by isolation of multidrug-resistant pathogens (7 vs 2.5%; P = .003) and Clostridioides difficile (1.8 vs 0.5%; P = .094). Patients who received optimal therapy at discharge were less likely to develop an ADE (aOR, 0.530; 95% CI, 0.363–0.773). Conclusions: Implementation of an AMS TOC protocol reduced antimicrobial days, optimized therapy selection, and reduced duration. This intervention was associated with improved safety without compromise of clinical effectiveness. To increase patient safety, AMS programs should target antimicrobial optimization during TOC.
Funding: This work was completed under CDC contract number 200-2018-02928.
The inclusion of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing, but there have been no longitudinal studies of included students in Australia. Interview data reported in this study concern primary school children with ASD enrolled in mainstream classes in South Australia and New South Wales, Australia. In order to examine perceived facilitators and barriers to inclusion, parents, teachers, and principals were asked to comment on the facilitators and barriers to inclusion relevant to each child. Data are reported about 60 students, comprising a total of 305 parent interviews, 208 teacher interviews, and 227 principal interviews collected at 6-monthly intervals over 3.5 years. The most commonly mentioned facilitator was teacher practices. The most commonly mentioned barrier was intrinsic student factors. Other factors not directly controllable by school staff, such as resource limitations, were also commonly identified by principals and teachers. Parents were more likely to mention school- or teacher-related barriers. Many of the current findings were consistent with previous studies but some differences were noted, including limited reporting of sensory issues and bullying as barriers. There was little change in the pattern of facilitators and barriers identified by respondents over time. A number of implications for practice and directions for future research are discussed.
The principal aim of this study was to optimize the diagnosis of canine neuroangiostrongyliasis (NA). In total, 92 cases were seen between 2010 and 2020. Dogs were aged from 7 weeks to 14 years (median 5 months), with 73/90 (81%) less than 6 months and 1.7 times as many males as females. The disease became more common over the study period. Most cases (86%) were seen between March and July. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was obtained from the cisterna magna in 77 dogs, the lumbar cistern in f5, and both sites in 3. Nucleated cell counts for 84 specimens ranged from 1 to 146 150 cells μL−1 (median 4500). Percentage eosinophils varied from 0 to 98% (median 83%). When both cisternal and lumbar CSF were collected, inflammation was more severe caudally. Seventy-three CSF specimens were subjected to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing for antibodies against A. cantonensis; 61 (84%) tested positive, titres ranging from <100 to ⩾12 800 (median 1600). Sixty-one CSF specimens were subjected to real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) testing using a new protocol targeting a bioinformatically-informed repetitive genetic target; 53/61 samples (87%) tested positive, CT values ranging from 23.4 to 39.5 (median 30.0). For 57 dogs, it was possible to compare CSF ELISA serology and qPCR. ELISA and qPCR were both positive in 40 dogs, in 5 dogs the ELISA was positive while the qPCR was negative, in 9 dogs the qPCR was positive but the ELISA was negative, while in 3 dogs both the ELISA and qPCR were negative. NA is an emerging infectious disease of dogs in Sydney, Australia.
Traditionally, the term androgens refers to a group of 19 carbon steroid hormones that are associated with maleness and the induction of male secondary sexual characteristics. This is as outdated as the concept of estrogen being only a female hormone. The major androgens circulate in concentrations greater than those of the estrogens in healthy women and androgens have a critical role in female physiology.
Prescribing metrics, cost, and surrogate markers are often used to describe the value of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. However, process measures are only indirectly related to clinical outcomes and may not represent the total effect of an intervention. We determined the global impact of a multifaceted AMS initiative for hospitalized adults with common infections.
Single center, quasi-experimental study.
Hospitalized adults with urinary, skin, and respiratory tract infections discharged from family medicine and internal medicine wards before (January 2017–June 2017) and after (January 2018–June 2018) an AMS initiative on a family medicine ward were included. A series of AMS-focused initiatives comprised the development and dissemination of: handheld prescribing tools, AMS positive feedback cases, and academic modules. We compared the effect on an ordinal end point consisting of clinical resolution, adverse drug events, and antimicrobial optimization between the preintervention and postintervention periods.
In total, 256 subjects were included before and after an AMS intervention. Excessive durations of therapy were reduced from 40.3% to 22% (P < .001). Patients without an optimized antimicrobial course were more likely to experience clinical failure (OR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.17–4.72). The likelihood of a better global outcome was greater in the family medicine intervention arm (62.0%, 95% CI, 59.6–67.1) than in the preintervention family medicine arm.
Collaborative, targeted feedback with prescribing metrics, AMS cases, and education improved global outcomes for hospitalized adults on a family medicine ward.
Engagement of frontline staff, along with senior leadership, in competition-style healthcare-associated infection reduction efforts, combined with electronic clinical decision support tools, appeared to reduce antibiotic regimen initiations for urinary tract infections (P = .01). Mean monthly standardized infection and device utilization ratios also decreased (P < .003 and P < .0001, respectively).
This applied experimental research tested the effectiveness of a universal, student-focused intervention (‘Memory Mates’), specifically focused on supporting students to use attention and working memory strategies within academic contexts, unlike computer-based programs. Memory Mates is presented in the form of icons and explanations, with the strategies embedded within the classroom. Analyses compared the impact of the intervention over 8 months in three schools with three control schools, comprising 13 Year 4 primary school classes. The intervention group students showed a significant improvement in mathematics and spelling; however, there was no differential effect on reading comprehension or academic engagement. Based on the present results, it is contended that implementing Memory Mates within classroom contexts demonstrated promising potential as a new approach to supporting academic progress.
Acute change in mental status (ACMS), defined by the Confusion Assessment Method, is used to identify infections in nursing home residents. A medical record review revealed that none of 15,276 residents had an ACMS documented. Using the revised McGeer criteria with a possible ACMS definition, we identified 296 residents and 21 additional infections. The use of a possible ACMS definition should be considered for retrospective nursing home infection surveillance.
Person-centred care is recognized as best practice in dementia care. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a stakeholder engagement practice change initiative aimed at increasing the provision of person-centred mealtimes in a residential care home (RCH). A single-group, time series design was used to assess the impact of the practice change initiative on mealtime environment across four time periods (pre-intervention, 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up). Statistically significant improvements were noted in all mealtime environment scales by 6 months, including the physical environment (z = -3.06, p = 0.013), social environment (z = -3.69, p = 0.001), relationship and person-centred scale (z = -3.51, p = 0.003), and overall environment scale (z = -3.60, p = 0.002). This practice change initiative, which focused on enhancing stakeholder engagement, provided a feasible method for increasing the practice of person-centred care during mealtimes in an RCH through the application of supportive leadership, collaborative decision making, and staff engagement.
Home care for older people in England is commissioned through local authorities working predominantly with independent providers of care. Commissioners operate in a market model, planning and procuring home care services for local populations. Their role involves ‘managing’ and ‘shaping’ the market to ensure an adequate supply of care providers. Another imperative, emerging from the principles of personalisation, is the drive to achieve user outcomes rather than ‘time and task’ objectives. Little formal research has investigated the way commissioners reconcile these different requirements and organise commissioning. This study investigated commissioning approaches using qualitative telephone interviews with ten commissioners from different local authorities in England. The characteristics of commissioning were analysed thematically. Findings indicated (a) commissioning involved complex systems and processes, uniquely shaped for the local context, but frequently changed, suggesting a constant need for reframing commissioning arrangements; (b) partnerships with providers were mainly transactional, with occasional examples of collaborative models, that were considered to facilitate flexible services more appropriate for commissioning for personalised outcomes; and (c) only a small number of commissioners had attempted to reconcile the competing and incompatible goals of tightly prescribed contracting and working collaboratively with providers. A better understanding of flexible contracting arrangements and the hallmarks of a trusting collaboration is required to move beyond the procedural elements of contracting and commissioning.