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1.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
Background
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Conclusions
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
2.  Supervised and Unsupervised Self-Testing for HIV in High- and Low-Risk Populations: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(4):e1001414.
By systematically reviewing the literature, Nitika Pant Pai and colleagues assess the evidence base for HIV self tests both with and without supervision.
Background
Stigma, discrimination, lack of privacy, and long waiting times partly explain why six out of ten individuals living with HIV do not access facility-based testing. By circumventing these barriers, self-testing offers potential for more people to know their sero-status. Recent approval of an in-home HIV self test in the US has sparked self-testing initiatives, yet data on acceptability, feasibility, and linkages to care are limited. We systematically reviewed evidence on supervised (self-testing and counselling aided by a health care professional) and unsupervised (performed by self-tester with access to phone/internet counselling) self-testing strategies.
Methods and Findings
Seven databases (Medline [via PubMed], Biosis, PsycINFO, Cinahl, African Medicus, LILACS, and EMBASE) and conference abstracts of six major HIV/sexually transmitted infections conferences were searched from 1st January 2000–30th October 2012. 1,221 citations were identified and 21 studies included for review. Seven studies evaluated an unsupervised strategy and 14 evaluated a supervised strategy. For both strategies, data on acceptability (range: 74%–96%), preference (range: 61%–91%), and partner self-testing (range: 80%–97%) were high. A high specificity (range: 99.8%–100%) was observed for both strategies, while a lower sensitivity was reported in the unsupervised (range: 92.9%–100%; one study) versus supervised (range: 97.4%–97.9%; three studies) strategy. Regarding feasibility of linkage to counselling and care, 96% (n = 102/106) of individuals testing positive for HIV stated they would seek post-test counselling (unsupervised strategy, one study). No extreme adverse events were noted. The majority of data (n = 11,019/12,402 individuals, 89%) were from high-income settings and 71% (n = 15/21) of studies were cross-sectional in design, thus limiting our analysis.
Conclusions
Both supervised and unsupervised testing strategies were highly acceptable, preferred, and more likely to result in partner self-testing. However, no studies evaluated post-test linkage with counselling and treatment outcomes and reporting quality was poor. Thus, controlled trials of high quality from diverse settings are warranted to confirm and extend these findings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 34 million people (most living in resource-limited countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and about 2.5 million people become infected with HIV every year. HIV is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner. HIV infection is usually diagnosed by looking for antibodies to HIV in blood or saliva. Early during infection, the immune system responds to HIV by beginning to make antibodies that recognize the virus and target it for destruction. “Seroconversion”—the presence of detectable amounts of antibody in the blood or saliva—usually takes 6–12 weeks. Rapid antibody-based tests, which do not require laboratory facilities, can provide a preliminary result about an individual's HIV status from a simple oral swab or finger stick sample within 20 minutes. However preliminary rapid positive results have to be confirmed in a laboratory, which may take a few days or weeks. If positive, HIV infection can be controlled but not cured by taking a daily cocktail of powerful antiretroviral drugs throughout life.
Why Was This Study Done?
To reduce the spread of HIV, it is essential that HIV-positive individuals get tested, change behaviors avoid transmitting the virus to other people by, for example, always using a condom during sex, and if positive get on to treatment that is available worldwide. Treatment also reduces transmission of virus to the partner and controls the virus in the community. However, only half the people currently living with HIV know their HIV status, a state of affairs that increases the possibility of further HIV transmission to their partners and children. HIV positive individuals are diagnosed late with advanced HIV infection that costs health care services. Although health care facility-based HIV testing has been available for decades, people worry about stigma, visibility, and social discrimination. They also dislike the lack of privacy and do not like having to wait for their test results. Self-testing (i.e., self-test conduct and interpretation) might alleviate some of these barriers to testing by allowing individuals to determine their HIV status in the privacy of their home and could, therefore, increase the number of individuals aware of their HIV status. This could possibly reduce transmission and, through seeking linkages to care, bring HIV under control in communities. In some communities and countries, stigma of HIV prevents people from taking action about their HIV status. Indeed, an oral (saliva-based) HIV self-test kit is now available in the US. But how acceptable, feasible, and accurate is self-testing by lay people, and will people who find themselves self-test positive seek counseling and treatment? In this systematic review (a study that uses pre-defined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine these issues by analyzing data from studies that have evaluated supervised self-testing (self-testing and counseling aided by a health-care professional) and unsupervised self-testing (self-testing performed without any help but with counseling available by phone or internet).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 21 eligible studies, two-thirds of which evaluated oral self-testing and a third of which evaluated blood-based self-testing. Seven studies evaluated an unsupervised self-testing strategy and 14 evaluated a supervised strategy. Most of the data (89%) came from studies undertaken in high-income settings. The study populations varied from those at high risk of HIV infection to low-risk general populations. Across the studies, acceptability (defined as the number of people who actually self-tested divided by the number who consented to self-test) ranged from 74% to 96%. With both strategies, the specificity of self-testing (the chance of an HIV-negative person receiving a negative test result is true negative) was high but the sensitivity of self-testing (the chance of an HIV-positive person receiving a positive test result is indeed a true positive) was higher for supervised than for unsupervised testing. The researchers also found evidence that people preferred self-testing to facility-based testing and oral self-testing to blood-based self testing and, in one study, 96% of participants who self-tested positive sought post-testing counseling.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide new but limited information about the feasibility, acceptability, and accuracy of HIV self-testing. They suggest that it is feasible to implement both supervised and unsupervised self-testing, that both strategies are preferred to facility-based testing, but that the accuracy of self-testing is variable. However, most of the evidence considered by the researchers came from high-income countries and from observational studies of varying quality, and data on whether people self-testing positive sought post-testing counseling (linkage to care) were only available from one evaluation of unsupervised self-testing in the US. Consequently, although these findings suggest that self-testing could engage individuals in finding our their HIV status and thereby help modify behavior thus, reduce HIV transmission in the community, by increasing the proportion of people living with HIV who know their HIV status. The researchers suggested that more data from diverse settings and preferably from controlled randomized trials must be collected before any initiatives for global scale-up of self-testing for HIV infection are implemented.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001414.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV testing, and on HIV transmission and testing (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about all aspects of HIV and AIDS; a “behind the headlines” article provides details about the 2012 US approval for an over-the-counter HIV home-use test
The 2012 World AIDS Day Report provides information about the percentage of people living with HIV who are aware of their HIV status in various African countries, as well as up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV, including stories about getting a diagnosis
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001414
PMCID: PMC3614510  PMID: 23565066
3.  Oral health care education and its effect on caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices: A randomized controlled trial 
Background:
The population of older people as well as the number of dependent older people is steadily increasing. Those unable to live independently at home are being cared for in a range of settings. Practical training for nurses and auxiliary care staff has frequently been recommended as a way of improving oral health care for functionally dependent elderly.
Aim:
To evaluate an oral health education program for the caretakers of institutionalized elderly.
Materials and Methods:
The study was a cluster randomized intervention trial with an elderly home as the unit of randomization. Seven out of 65 elderly homes accommodating a total of 78 caretakers and 462 elderly residents were selected in Bangalore city, India, out of which 3 elderly homes were assigned to the intervention group and 4 to the control group. Oral health knowledge of caretakers was assessed using a pre-tested proforma; later, oral health education was provided to the caretakers of the intervention group. Oral health education was given at the end of 6 months to the caretakers of the control group. Chi-square test, Fisher exact test, and paired proportion test were used for statistical analysis.
Results:
There was significant improvement in the oral health knowledge of the caretakers from baseline in the interventional group.
Conclusion:
The results of the present study showed that there was a significant improvement in the oral health knowledge among the caretakers. Educating the caretakers for assisting or enabling residents for maintaining oral hygiene is essential.
doi:10.4103/2231-0762.139843
PMCID: PMC4170545  PMID: 25254198
Caregivers; caretakers; nursing staff; oral health education; oral health promotion
4.  The Uptake and Accuracy of Oral Kits for HIV Self-Testing in High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Cross-Sectional Feasibility Study in Blantyre, Malawi 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001102.
Augustine Choko and colleagues assess the uptake and acceptability of home-based supervised oral HIV self-testing in Malawi, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach in a high-prevalence, low-income environment.
Background
Although HIV testing and counseling (HTC) uptake has increased dramatically in Africa, facility-based services are unlikely to ever meet ongoing need to the full. A major constraint in scaling up community and home-based HTC services is the unacceptability of receiving HTC from a provider known personally to prospective clients. We investigated the potential of supervised oral HIV self-testing from this perspective.
Methods and Findings
Adult members of 60 households and 72 members of community peer groups in urban Blantyre, Malawi, were selected using population-weighted random cluster sampling. Participants were offered self-testing plus confirmatory HTC (parallel testing with two rapid finger-prick blood tests), standard HTC alone, or no testing. 283 (95.6%) of 298 selected adults participated, including 136 (48.0%) men. 175 (61.8%) had previously tested (19 known HIV positive), although only 64 (21.5%) within the last year. HIV prevalence was 18.5%. Among 260 (91.9%) who opted to self-test after brief demonstration and illustrated instructions, accuracy was 99.2% (two false negatives). Although 98.5% rated the test “not hard at all to do,” 10.0% made minor procedural errors, and 10.0% required extra help. Most participants indicated willingness to accept self-test kits, but not HTC, from a neighbor (acceptability 94.5% versus 46.8%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions
Oral supervised self-testing was highly acceptable and accurate, although minor errors and need for supervisory support were common. This novel option has potential for high uptake at local community level if it can be supervised and safely linked to counseling and care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
According to the World Health Organization, despite the dramatic increase in the acceptability of HIV testing, more than 60% of people living with HIV do not know their status—a factor that is seriously hampering the global response to the HIV epidemic. The inconvenience and cost involved in visiting services in addition to a general aversion to visiting health facilities appear to be major barriers. Home-based HIV-testing services bypass these obstacles and are being adopted as national policy in a number of countries. However, given the tension between confidentiality and convenience, many people do not want to be counseled and tested by someone they know well, thus creating logistical difficulties and added costs to the provision of home-based testing services.
Why Was This Study Done?
Self-testing in private has considerable potential to contribute to first-time and repeat HIV testing but raises a number of issues, such as accuracy, the potential for adverse psychological reactions in the absence of face-to-face counseling, and the difficulty in organizing subsequent links to HIV/AIDS care. Self-testing has been used for over a decade in the US, but given the need to further scale up HIV testing and counseling in Africa, and to encourage regular repeat testing, the researchers conducted a mixed quantitative and qualitative study of self-testing for HIV using oral test kits to test whether supervised oral self-testing could yield accurate results. The researchers also wanted to explore reasons for accepting self-testing and respondents' preferences for HIV testing.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted their study in four community health worker catchment areas in three high-density residential suburbs of Blantyre, Malawi. Between March and July 2010, the researchers randomly selected two groups of participants from within these catchment areas and all adults were then invited to participate in interview and optional HIV testing and counseling carried out in their home. Participants were offered the choice between self-test for HIV followed by standard voluntary counseling and testing, standard voluntary counseling and testing only, and no HIV testing or counseling. Pre-and post-test counseling was provided to all participants and after self-testing, a counselor reread the self-test kit, completed a checklist of potential errors and confirmed the result using two rapid HIV test kits run in parallel from a finger-prick blood specimen. All participants testing positive were referred to the nearest primary health center.
All 260 participants who consented to voluntary counseling and testing also opted to self-test, with the remaining 23 (8.1%) choosing not to test. HIV prevalence was 18.5% (48 of 260) and HIV prevalence among participants who had previously tested HIV-negative or not tested at all was 12.0% (29 of 241 participants) meaning that less than half of HIV-infected participants were previously diagnosed, and just over half of undiagnosed HIV infections were in individuals who had previously tested HIV negative. The researchers found self-testing to be highly accurate, with clear and concordant results for 256 (99.2%) of 258 participants with both self-test and blood results. Overall sensitivity for self-test self-read was 97.9% with specificity of 100%. At exit interview, 256 (98.5%) of participants rated self-testing as “very easy” to do but additional help was requested by 26 (10%) of self test participants and procedural errors were identified for 26 participants (10%). Importantly, self-testing was the preferred option for future HIV tests for 56.4% of participants and the most common choice for both men and women.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study show that self-testing for HIV (after a brief demonstration and illustrated instructions) is highly accurate and is widely accepted by the community, indicating that there is strong community readiness to adopt self-testing alongside other HIV counseling and testing strategies in high HIV prevalence settings in urban Africa. Self-testing may prove especially valuable for encouraging regular repeat testing, couple testing, and first-time testing in otherwise hard-to-reach groups such as men and older individuals. Finally, given the accuracy achieved and strong preferences around future testing, further exploration of self-testing options could help to make progress towards meeting universal access goals.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001102.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Walensky and Bassett
Recently published WHO Guidelines explain the principles and processes of adapting HIV guidelines into national programs
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control's initiative Act against AIDS has some user-friendly information on the different types of HIV tests available
A WHO document discusses existing practices and surrounding issues related with HIV self-testing among health workers in sub-Saharan Africa
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001102
PMCID: PMC3186813  PMID: 21990966
5.  Effects of multidisciplinary integrated care on quality of care in residential care facilities for elderly people: a cluster randomized trial 
Background:
Sophisticated approaches are needed to improve the quality of care for elderly people living in residential care facilities. We determined the effects of multidisciplinary integrated care on the quality of care and quality of life for elderly people in residential care facilities.
Methods:
We performed a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 10 residential care facilities in the Netherlands that included 340 participating residents with physical or cognitive disabilities. Five of the facilities applied multidisciplinary integrated care, and five provided usual care. The intervention, inspired by the disease management model, consisted of a geriatric assessment of functional health every three months. The assessment included use of the Long-term Care Facility version of the Resident Assessment Instrument by trained nurse-assistants to guide the design of an individualized care plan; discussion of outcomes and care priorities with the family physician, the resident and his or her family; and monthly multidisciplinary meetings with the nurse-assistant, family physician, psychologist and geriatrician to discuss residents with complex needs. The primary outcome was the sum score of 32 risk-adjusted quality-of-care indicators.
Results:
Compared with the facilities that provided usual care, the intervention facilities had a significantly higher sum score of the 32 quality-of-care indicators (mean difference − 6.7, p = 0.009; a medium effect size of 0.72). They also had significantly higher scores for 11 of the 32 indicators of good care in the areas of communication, delirium, behaviour, continence, pain and use of antipsychotic agents.
Interpretation:
Multidisciplinary integrated care resulted in improved quality of care for elderly people in residential care facilities compared with usual care.
Trial registration:
www.controlled-trials.com trial register no. ISRCTN11076857.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.101498
PMCID: PMC3153543  PMID: 21708967
6.  Increased masticatory activity and quality of life in elderly persons with dementia-a longitudinal matched cluster randomized single-blind multicenter intervention study 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:26.
Background
Worldwide, millions of people are suffering from dementia and this number is rising. An index of quality of life (QoL) can describe the impact a disease or treatment has on a person’s wellbeing. QoL comprises many variables, including physical health and function, and mental health and function. QoL is related to masticatory ability and physical activity. Animal studies show that disruption of mastication due to loss of teeth or a soft diet leads to memory loss and learning problems. Since these are common complaints in dementia, it is hypothesized that improvement of masticatory function and normalization of diet consistency can increase QoL in elderly persons suffering from dementia. Therefore, the goal of the present study is to examine whether an increase in masticatory activity, achieved by increased food consistency and enhancement of masticatory function through improved oral health care has a positive effect on QoL, including cognition, mood, activities of daily living (ADL), and circadian rhythm in elderly persons with dementia.
Methods and design
The described study is a prospective longitudinal matched cluster randomized single-blind multicenter study. Participants are elderly persons living in the Netherlands, suffering from dementia and receiving psychogeriatric care. An intervention group will receive improved oral health care and a diet of increased consistency. A control group receives care as usual. Participants will be assessed four times; outcome variables besides QoL are cognition, mood, independence, rest-activity rhythm, blood pressure, and masticatory function.
Discussion
This research protocol investigates the effect of an intervention executed by daily caregivers. The intervention will increase masticatory activity, which is achieved by three different actions, (providing oral health care, increasing food consistency, or a combination of both). There is a certain amount of variety in the nature of the interventions due to local differences in nursing homes. This might be a scientific weakness in the study design; however, a practical implementation of any findings will be subject to the same factors, making this study design clinically relevant.
Trial registration
NTR1561
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-26
PMCID: PMC3615955  PMID: 23496988
Intervention; Protocol; Dementia; Quality of life; Oral health care; Mastication; Food consistency; Cognition
7.  Reducing care-resistant behaviors during oral hygiene in persons with dementia 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:30.
Background
Nursing home residents with dementia are often dependent on others for mouth care, yet will react with care-resistant behavior when receiving assistance. The oral health of these elders deteriorates in the absence of daily oral hygiene, predisposing them to harmful systemic problems such as pneumonia, hyperglycemia, cardiac disease, and cerebral vascular accidents. The purpose of this study is to determine whether care-resistant behaviors can be reduced, and oral health improved, through the application of an intervention based on the neurobiological principles of threat perception and fear response. The intervention, called Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction, combines best mouth care practices with a constellation of behavioral techniques that reduce threat perception and thereby prevent or de-escalate care-resistant behaviors.
Methods/Design
Using a randomized repeated measures design, 80 elders with dementia from 5 different nursing homes will be randomized at the individual level to the experimental group, which will receive the intervention, or to the control group, which will receive standard mouth care from research team members who receive training in the proper methods for providing mouth care but no training in resistance recognition or prevention/mediation. Oral health assessments and care-resistant behavior measurements will be obtained during a 7-day observation period and a 21-day intervention period. Individual growth models using multilevel analysis will be used to estimate the efficacy of the intervention for reducing care-resistant behaviors in persons with dementia, and to estimate the overall efficacy of the intervention using oral health outcomes. Activity-based costing methods will be used to determine the cost of the proposed intervention.
Discussion
At the conclusion of this study, the research team anticipates having a proven intervention that prevents and reduces care-resistant within the context of mouth care. Long-term objectives include testing the effect of the intervention on systemic illnesses among persons with dementia; examining the transferability of this intervention to other activities of daily living; and disseminating threat reduction interventions to nursing home staff, which may radically change the manner in which care is provided to persons with dementia.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01363258
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-30
PMCID: PMC3231974  PMID: 22100010
8.  Quality of life of residents with dementia in long-term care settings in the Netherlands and Belgium: design of a longitudinal comparative study in traditional nursing homes and small-scale living facilities 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:20.
Background
The increase in the number of people with dementia will lead to greater demand for residential care. Currently, large nursing homes are trying to transform their traditional care for residents with dementia to a more home-like approach, by developing small-scale living facilities. It is often assumed that small-scale living will improve the quality of life of residents with dementia. However, little scientific evidence is currently available to test this. The following research question is addressed in this study: Which (combination of) changes in elements affects (different dimensions of) the quality of life of elderly residents with dementia in long-term care settings over the course of one year?
Methods/design
A longitudinal comparative study in traditional and small-scale long-term care settings, which follows a quasi-experimental design, will be carried out in Belgium and the Netherlands. To answer the research question, a model has been developed which incorporates relevant elements influencing quality of life in long-term care settings. Validated instruments will be used to evaluate the role of these elements, divided into environmental characteristics (country, type of ward, group size and nursing staff); basic personal characteristics (age, sex, cognitive decline, weight and activities of daily living); behavioural characteristics (behavioural problems and depression); behavioural interventions (use of restraints and use of psychotropic medication); and social interaction (social engagement and visiting frequency of relatives). The main outcome measure for residents in the model is quality of life. Data are collected at baseline, after six and twelve months, from residents living in either small-scale or traditional care settings.
Discussion
The results of this study will provide an insight into the determinants of quality of life for people with dementia living in traditional and small-scale long-term care settings in Belgium and the Netherlands. Possible relevant strengths and weaknesses of the study are discussed in this article.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: ISRCTN23772945
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-20
PMCID: PMC3098158  PMID: 21539731
9.  Efficacy and effectiveness as aspects of cluster randomized trials with nursing home residents: Methodological insights from a pneumonia prevention trial 
Contemporary clinical trials  2012;33(6):1124-1131.
This report discusses how methodological aspects of study efficacy and effectiveness combine in cluster randomized trials in nursing homes. Discussion focuses on the relationships between these study aspects in the Pneumonia Reduction in Institutionalized Disabled Elders (PRIDE) trial, an ongoing cluster randomized clinical trial of pneumonia prevention among nursing home residents launched in October 2009 in Greater New Haven, Connecticut. This clinical trial has enrolled long-term care nursing home residents, over 65 years in age, who have either inadequate oral care or swallowing difficulty, previously identified risk factors for pneumonia. It has used a multicomponent intervention consisting of manual tooth/gum brushing, 0.12% chlorhexidine oral rinse administered twice daily by nurses, and upright feeding positioning at meals to reduce rates of radiographically documented pneumonia. Cluster randomization is attractive for nursing home intervention studies because physical proximity and administrative arrangements make it difficult to deliver different interventions to residents of the same nursing home. Implementing an intervention in an entire home requires integration into the daily life of residents and into the administrative procedures of the nursing home. This characteristic of nursing home cluster randomized trials makes them approximate “real-world” research contexts, but implementation can be challenging. The PRIDE trial of pneumonia prevention utilized specific methodological choices that include both efficacy and effectiveness elements. Cluster randomized trials in nursing homes having elements of both efficacy and effectiveness (i.e., hybrid designs) can address some of the methodological challenges of conducting clinical research in nursing homes; they have distinctive advantages and some limitations.
doi:10.1016/j.cct.2012.08.004
PMCID: PMC3468687  PMID: 22917599
Cluster randomized clinical trials; comparative effectiveness research; nursing homes; pneumonia; biostatistics
10.  Pilot trial of Stop Delirium! (PiTStop) - a complex intervention to prevent delirium in care homes for older people: study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:47.
Background
Delirium (or acute confusion) is a serious illness common in older people, in which a person’s thinking and perceptions may be affected. Reducing delirium is important because of the considerable distress it causes, and the poor outcomes associated with it, such as increased admissions to hospital, falls, mortality and costs to the National Health Service (NHS). Preventing delirium is possible using multicomponent interventions; successful interventions in hospitals have reduced it by one-third. However, there is little research to guide practice in care homes, where it is common because of the clustering of known risk factors (older age, frailty, and dementia). In previous work we developed a multicomponent intervention to prevent delirium in care homes, called Stop Delirium! The intervention was based upon evidence from the research literature relating to the prevention of delirium and on strategies to change professional practice. Before starting a large costly trial of Stop Delirium!, this pilot study will test and help improve the design and feasibility of the trial protocol.
Methods/Design
We plan to conduct a cluster randomised pilot trial in 14 care homes (independent residential and nursing). Following recruitment of residents (over 60 years, consenting or with consultee agreement, able to communicate in English, and not in palliative care) participating homes will be randomised, stratified by size of home and proportion of residents with dementia. Stop Delirium! will be delivered to intervention homes over 16 months, with controls receiving usual care. The primary outcome measure will be the presence of delirium on any day during a one-month post-intervention period.
We will collect data to determine 1) recruitment and attrition rates, 2) feasibility of various outcomes measurements, and 3) feasibility of capturing health resource use (resident diaries and by examining health records). We will estimate the between-cluster variation for the primary outcome, delirium occurrence.
Discussion
This pilot study will refine methods for the definitive trial. The lessons learnt will also contribute to implementing National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) delirium guidelines, which recommend multicomponent interventions for delirium prevention.
Trial registration
ISRCTN27972532.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-47
PMCID: PMC3923732  PMID: 24495514
Pilot; Feasibility; RCT; Complex intervention; Older people; Delirium; Care home
11.  Place and Cause of Death in Centenarians: A Population-Based Observational Study in England, 2001 to 2010 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(6):e1001653.
Catherine J. Evans and colleagues studied how many and where centenarians in England die, their causes of death, and how these measures have changed from 2001 to 2010.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Centenarians are a rapidly growing demographic group worldwide, yet their health and social care needs are seldom considered. This study aims to examine trends in place of death and associations for centenarians in England over 10 years to consider policy implications of extreme longevity.
Methods and Findings
This is a population-based observational study using death registration data linked with area-level indices of multiple deprivations for people aged ≥100 years who died 2001 to 2010 in England, compared with those dying at ages 80-99. We used linear regression to examine the time trends in number of deaths and place of death, and Poisson regression to evaluate factors associated with centenarians’ place of death. The cohort totalled 35,867 people with a median age at death of 101 years (range: 100–115 years). Centenarian deaths increased 56% (95% CI 53.8%–57.4%) in 10 years. Most died in a care home with (26.7%, 95% CI 26.3%–27.2%) or without nursing (34.5%, 95% CI 34.0%–35.0%) or in hospital (27.2%, 95% CI 26.7%–27.6%). The proportion of deaths in nursing homes decreased over 10 years (−0.36% annually, 95% CI −0.63% to −0.09%, p = 0.014), while hospital deaths changed little (0.25% annually, 95% CI −0.06% to 0.57%, p = 0.09). Dying with frailty was common with “old age” stated in 75.6% of death certifications. Centenarians were more likely to die of pneumonia (e.g., 17.7% [95% CI 17.3%–18.1%] versus 6.0% [5.9%–6.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) and old age/frailty (28.1% [27.6%–28.5%] versus 0.9% [0.9%–0.9%] for those aged 80–84 years) and less likely to die of cancer (4.4% [4.2%–4.6%] versus 24.5% [24.6%–25.4%] for those aged 80–84 years) and ischemic heart disease (8.6% [8.3%–8.9%] versus 19.0% [18.9%–19.0%] for those aged 80–84 years) than were younger elderly patients. More care home beds available per 1,000 population were associated with fewer deaths in hospital (PR 0.98, 95% CI 0.98–0.99, p<0.001).
Conclusions
Centenarians are more likely to have causes of death certified as pneumonia and frailty and less likely to have causes of death of cancer or ischemic heart disease, compared with younger elderly patients. To reduce reliance on hospital care at the end of life requires recognition of centenarians’ increased likelihood to “acute” decline, notably from pneumonia, and wider provision of anticipatory care to enable people to remain in their usual residence, and increasing care home bed capacity.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
People who live to be more than 100 years old—centenarians—are congratulated and honored in many countries. In the UK, for example, the Queen sends a personal greeting to individuals on their 100th birthday. The number of UK residents who reach this notable milestone is increasing steadily, roughly doubling every 10 years. The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures indicate that 13,350 centenarians were living in the UK in 2012 (20 centenarians per 100,000 people in the population) compared to only 7,740 in 2002. If current trends continue, by 2066 there may be more than half a million centenarians living in the UK. And similar increases in the numbers of centenarians are being seen in many other countries. The exact number of centenarians living worldwide is uncertain but is thought to be around 317,000 and is projected to rise to about 18 million by the end of this century.
Why Was This Study Done?
Traditional blessings often include the wish that the blessing’s recipient lives to be at least 100 years old. However, extreme longevity is associated with increasing frailty—declining physical function, increasing disability, and increasing vulnerability to a poor clinical outcome following, for example, an infection. Consequently, many centenarians require 24-hour per day care in a nursing home or a residential care home. Moreover, although elderly people, including centenarians, generally prefer to die in a home environment rather than a clinical environment, many centenarians end up dying in a hospital. To ensure that centenarians get their preferred end-of-life care, policy makers and clinicians need to know as much as possible about the health and social needs of this specific and unique group of elderly people. In this population-based observational study, the researchers examine trends in the place of death and factors associated with the place of death among centenarians in England over a 10-year period.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted information about the place and cause of death of centenarians in England between 2001 and 2010 from the ONS death registration database, linked these data with area level information on deprivation and care-home bed capacity, and analyzed the data statistically. Over the 10-year study period, 35,867 centenarians (mainly women, average age 101 years) died in England. The annual number of centenarian deaths increased from 2,823 in 2001 to 4,393 in 2010. Overall, three-quarters of centenarian death certificates stated “old age” as the cause of death. About a quarter of centenarians died in the hospital, a quarter died in a nursing home, and a third died in a care home without nursing; only one in ten centenarians died at home. The proportion of deaths in a nursing home increased slightly over the study period but there was little change in the number of hospital deaths. Compared with younger age groups (80–84 year olds), centenarians were more likely to die from pneumonia and “old age” and less likely to die from cancer and heart disease. Among centenarians, dying in the hospital was more likely to be reported to be associated with pneumonia or heart disease than with dementia; death in the hospital was also associated with having four or more contributing causes of death and with living in a deprived area. Finally, living in an area with a higher care-home bed capacity was associated with a lower risk of dying in the hospital.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that many centenarians have outlived death from the chronic diseases that are the common causes of death among younger groups of elderly people and that dying in the hospital is often associated with pneumonia. Overall, these findings suggest that centenarians are a group of people living with a risk of death from increasing frailty that is exacerbated by acute lung infection. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the quality of UK death certification data. Although this is generally high, the strength of some of the reported associations may be affected, for example, by the tendency of clinicians to record the cause of death in the very elderly as “old age” to provide some comfort to surviving relatives. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that care-home capacity and the provision of anticipatory care should be increased in England (and possibly in other countries) to ensure that more of the growing number of centenarians can end their long lives outside hospital.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001653.
The US National Institute on Aging provides information about healthy aging, including information on longevity (in English and Spanish)
The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, England is a government organization that gathers data on care provided to adults approaching the end of life to improve service quality and productivity
The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance promotes universal access to affordable palliative care through the support of regional and national palliative care organizations
The non-for-profit organization AgeUK provides information about all aspects of aging
Wikipedia has a page on centenarians (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The International Longevity Centre-UK is an independent, non-partisan think tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population; its “Living Beyond 100” report examines the research base on centenarians and calls for policy to reflect the ongoing UK increase in extreme longevity
This study is part of GUIDE_Care, a project initiated by the Cicely Saunders Institute to investigate patterns in place of death and the factors that affect these patterns
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001653
PMCID: PMC4043499  PMID: 24892645
12.  The Effectiveness of Mobile-Health Technologies to Improve Health Care Service Delivery Processes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(1):e1001363.
Caroline Free and colleagues systematically review controlled trials of mobile technology interventions to improve health care delivery processes and show that current interventions give only modest benefits and that high-quality trials measuring clinical outcomes are needed.
Background
Mobile health interventions could have beneficial effects on health care delivery processes. We aimed to conduct a systematic review of controlled trials of mobile technology interventions to improve health care delivery processes.
Methods and Findings
We searched for all controlled trials of mobile technology based health interventions using MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Global Health, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, UK NHS HTA (Jan 1990–Sept 2010). Two authors independently extracted data on allocation concealment, allocation sequence, blinding, completeness of follow-up, and measures of effect. We calculated effect estimates and we used random effects meta-analysis to give pooled estimates.
We identified 42 trials. None of the trials had low risk of bias. Seven trials of health care provider support reported 25 outcomes regarding appropriate disease management, of which 11 showed statistically significant benefits. One trial reported a statistically significant improvement in nurse/surgeon communication using mobile phones. Two trials reported statistically significant reductions in correct diagnoses using mobile technology photos compared to gold standard. The pooled effect on appointment attendance using text message (short message service or SMS) reminders versus no reminder was increased, with a relative risk (RR) of 1.06 (95% CI 1.05–1.07, I2 = 6%). The pooled effects on the number of cancelled appointments was not significantly increased RR 1.08 (95% CI 0.89–1.30). There was no difference in attendance using SMS reminders versus other reminders (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.94–1.02, respectively). To address the limitation of the older search, we also reviewed more recent literature.
Conclusions
The results for health care provider support interventions on diagnosis and management outcomes are generally consistent with modest benefits. Trials using mobile technology-based photos reported reductions in correct diagnoses when compared to the gold standard. SMS appointment reminders have modest benefits and may be appropriate for implementation. High quality trials measuring clinical outcomes are needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
Over the past few decades, computing and communication technologies have changed dramatically. Bulky, slow computers have been replaced by portable devices that can complete increasingly complex tasks in less and less time. Similarly, landlines have been replaced by mobile phones and other mobile communication technologies that can connect people anytime and anywhere, and that can transmit text messages (short message service; SMS), photographs, and data at the touch of a button. These advances have led to the development of mobile-health (mHealth)—the use of mobile computing and communication technologies in health care and public health. mHealth has many applications. It can be used to facilitate data collection and to encourage health-care consumers to adopt healthy lifestyles or to self-manage chronic conditions. It can also be used to improve health-care service delivery processes by targeting health-care providers or communication between these providers and their patients. So, for example, mobile technologies can be used to provide clinical management support in settings where there are no specialist clinicians, and they can be used to send patients test results and timely reminders of appointments.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many experts believe that mHealth interventions could greatly improve health-care delivery processes, particularly in resource-poor settings. The results of several controlled trials (studies that compare the outcomes of people who do or do not receive an intervention) of mHealth interventions designed to improve health-care delivery processes have been published. However, these data have not been comprehensively reviewed, and the effectiveness of this type of mHealth intervention has not been quantified. Here, the researchers rectify this situation by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials of mobile technology-based interventions designed to improve health-care service delivery processes. A systematic review is a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; a meta-analysis is a statistical approach that is used to pool the results of several independent studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 42 controlled trials that investigated mobile technology-based interventions designed to improve health-care service delivery processes. None of the trials were of high quality—many had methodological problems likely to affect the accuracy of their findings—and nearly all were undertaken in high-income countries. Thirty-two of the trials tested interventions directed at health-care providers. Of these trials, seven investigated interventions providing health-care provider education, 18 investigated interventions supporting clinical diagnosis and treatment, and seven investigated interventions to facilitate communication between health-care providers. Several of the trials reported that the tested intervention led to statistically significant improvements (improvements unlikely to have happened by chance) in outcomes related to disease management. However, two trials that used mobile phones to transmit photos to off-site clinicians for diagnosis reported significant reductions in correct diagnoses compared to diagnosis by an on-site specialist. Ten of the 42 trials investigated interventions targeting communication between health-care providers and patients. Eight of these trials investigated SMS-based appointment reminders. Meta-analyses of the results of these trials indicated that using SMS appointment reminders significantly but modestly increased patient attendance compared to no reminders. However, SMS reminders were no more effective than postal or phone call reminders, and texting reminders to patients who persistently missed appointments did not significantly change the number of cancelled appointments.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that some mHealth interventions designed to improve health-care service delivery processes are modestly effective, but they also highlight the need for more trials of these interventions. Specifically, these findings show that although some interventions designed to provide support for health-care providers modestly improved some aspects of clinical diagnosis and management, other interventions had deleterious effects—most notably, the use of mobile technology–based photos for diagnosis. In terms of mHealth interventions targeting communication between health-care providers and patients, the finding that SMS appointment reminders have modest benefits suggests that implementation of this intervention should be considered, at least in high-income settings. However, the researchers stress that more trials are needed to robustly establish the ability of mobile technology-based interventions to improve health-care delivery processes. These trials need to be of high quality, they should be undertaken in resource-limited settings as well as in high-income countries, and, ideally, they should consider interventions that combine mHealth and conventional approaches.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001363.
A related PLOS Medicine Research Article by Free et al. investigates the effectiveness of mHealth technology-based health behavior change and disease management interventions for health-care consumers
Wikipedia has a page on mHealth (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies is a global survey of mHealth prepared by the World Health Organization’s Global Observatory for eHealth (eHealth is health-care practice supported by electronic processes and communication)
The mHealth in Low-Resource Settings website, which is maintained by the Netherlands Royal Tropical Institute, provides information on the current use, potential, and limitations of mHealth in low-resource settings
The US National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center provides links to resources and information about mHealth
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001363
PMCID: PMC3566926  PMID: 23458994
13.  Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
Objective
To assess the effectiveness of behavioural interventions for the treatment and management of urinary incontinence (UI) in community-dwelling seniors.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Urinary incontinence defined as “the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine” was identified as 1 of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home. Urinary incontinence is a health problem that affects a substantial proportion of Ontario’s community-dwelling seniors (and indirectly affects caregivers), impacting their health, functioning, well-being and quality of life. Based on Canadian studies, prevalence estimates range from 9% to 30% for senior men and nearly double from 19% to 55% for senior women. The direct and indirect costs associated with UI are substantial. It is estimated that the total annual costs in Canada are $1.5 billion (Cdn), and that each year a senior living at home will spend $1,000 to $1,500 on incontinence supplies.
Interventions to treat and manage UI can be classified into broad categories which include lifestyle modification, behavioural techniques, medications, devices (e.g., continence pessaries), surgical interventions and adjunctive measures (e.g., absorbent products).
The focus of this review is behavioural interventions, since they are commonly the first line of treatment considered in seniors given that they are the least invasive options with no reported side effects, do not limit future treatment options, and can be applied in combination with other therapies. In addition, many seniors would not be ideal candidates for other types of interventions involving more risk, such as surgical measures.
Note: It is recognized that the terms “senior” and “elderly” carry a range of meanings for different audiences; this report generally uses the former, but the terms are treated here as essentially interchangeable.
Description of Technology/Therapy
Behavioural interventions can be divided into 2 categories according to the target population: caregiver-dependent techniques and patient-directed techniques. Caregiver-dependent techniques (also known as toileting assistance) are targeted at medically complex, frail individuals living at home with the assistance of a caregiver, who tends to be a family member. These seniors may also have cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits. A health care professional trains the senior’s caregiver to deliver an intervention such as prompted voiding, habit retraining, or timed voiding. The health care professional who trains the caregiver is commonly a nurse or a nurse with advanced training in the management of UI, such as a nurse continence advisor (NCA) or a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
The second category of behavioural interventions consists of patient-directed techniques targeted towards mobile, motivated seniors. Seniors in this population are cognitively able, free from any major physical deficits, and motivated to regain and/or improve their continence. A nurse or a nurse with advanced training in UI management, such as an NCA or CNS, delivers the patient-directed techniques. These are often provided as multicomponent interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), education on bladder control strategies, and self-monitoring. Pelvic floor muscle training, defined as a program of repeated pelvic floor muscle contractions taught and supervised by a health care professional, may be employed as part of a multicomponent intervention or in isolation.
Education is a large component of both caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions, and patient and/or caregiver involvement as well as continued practice strongly affect the success of treatment. Incontinence products, which include a large variety of pads and devices for effective containment of urine, may be used in conjunction with behavioural techniques at any point in the patient’s management.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials that examined the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions for the treatment of UI in community-dwelling seniors (see Appendix 1).
Research Questions
Are caregiver-dependent behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in medically complex, frail community-dwelling seniors with/without cognitive deficits and/or motor deficits?
Are patient-directed behavioural interventions effective in improving UI in mobile, motivated community-dwelling seniors?
Are behavioural interventions delivered by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting effective in improving incontinence outcomes in community-dwelling seniors?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Executive Summary Table 1 summarizes the results of the analysis.
The available evidence was limited by considerable variation in study populations and in the type and severity of UI for studies examining both caregiver-directed and patient-directed interventions. The UI literature frequently is limited to reporting subjective outcome measures such as patient observations and symptoms. The primary outcome of interest, admission to a LTC home, was not reported in the UI literature. The number of eligible studies was low, and there were limited data on long-term follow-up.
Summary of Evidence on Behavioural Interventions for the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors
Prompted voiding
Habit retraining
Timed voiding
Bladder training
PFMT (with or without biofeedback)
Bladder control strategies
Education
Self-monitoring
CI refers to confidence interval; CNS, clinical nurse specialist; NCA, nurse continence advisor; PFMT, pelvic floor muscle training; RCT, randomized controlled trial; WMD, weighted mean difference; UI, urinary incontinence.
Economic Analysis
A budget impact analysis was conducted to forecast costs for caregiver-dependent and patient-directed multicomponent behavioural techniques delivered by NCAs, and PFMT alone delivered by physiotherapists. All costs are reported in 2008 Canadian dollars. Based on epidemiological data, published medical literature and clinical expert opinion, the annual cost of caregiver-dependent behavioural techniques was estimated to be $9.2 M, while the annual costs of patient-directed behavioural techniques delivered by either an NCA or physiotherapist were estimated to be $25.5 M and $36.1 M, respectively. Estimates will vary if the underlying assumptions are changed.
Currently, the province of Ontario absorbs the cost of NCAs (available through the 42 Community Care Access Centres across the province) in the home setting. The 2007 Incontinence Care in the Community Report estimated that the total cost being absorbed by the public system of providing continence care in the home is $19.5 M in Ontario. This cost estimate included resources such as personnel, communication with physicians, record keeping and product costs. Clinic costs were not included in this estimation because currently these come out of the global budget of the respective hospital and very few continence clinics actually exist in the province. The budget impact analysis factored in a cost for the clinic setting, assuming that the public system would absorb the cost with this new model of community care.
Considerations for Ontario Health System
An expert panel on aging in the community met on 3 occasions from January to May 2008, and in part, discussed treatment of UI in seniors in Ontario with a focus on caregiver-dependent and patient-directed behavioural interventions. In particular, the panel discussed how treatment for UI is made available to seniors in Ontario and who provides the service. Some of the major themes arising from the discussions included:
Services/interventions that currently exist in Ontario offering behavioural interventions to treat UI are not consistent. There is a lack of consistency in how seniors access services for treatment of UI, who manages patients and what treatment patients receive.
Help-seeking behaviours are important to consider when designing optimal service delivery methods.
There is considerable social stigma associated with UI and therefore there is a need for public education and an awareness campaign.
The cost of incontinent supplies and the availability of NCAs were highlighted.
Conclusions
There is moderate-quality evidence that the following interventions are effective in improving UI in mobile motivated seniors:
Multicomponent behavioural interventions including a combination of bladder training techniques, PFMT (with or without biofeedback), education on bladder control strategies and self-monitoring techniques.
Pelvic floor muscle training alone.
There is moderate quality evidence that when behavioural interventions are led by NCAs or CNSs in a clinic setting, they are effective in improving UI in seniors.
There is limited low-quality evidence that prompted voiding may be effective in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers.
There is insufficient evidence for the following interventions in medically complex, frail seniors with motivated caregivers:
habit retraining, and
timed voiding.
PMCID: PMC3377527  PMID: 23074508
14.  The Economics of Dementia-Care Mapping in Nursing Homes: A Cluster-Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86662.
Background
Dementia-care mapping (DCM) is a cyclic intervention aiming at reducing neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with dementia in nursing homes. Alongside an 18-month cluster-randomized controlled trial in which we studied the effectiveness of DCM on residents and staff outcomes, we investigated differences in costs of care between DCM and usual care in nursing homes.
Methods
Dementia special care units were randomly assigned to DCM or usual care. Nurses from the intervention care homes received DCM training, a DCM organizational briefing day and conducted the 4-months DCM-intervention twice during the study. A single DCM cycle consists of observation, feedback to the staff, and action plans for the residents. We measured costs related to health care consumption, falls and psychotropic drug use at the resident level and absenteeism at the staff level. Data were extracted from resident files and the nursing home records. Prizes were determined using the Dutch manual of health care cost and the cost prices delivered by a pharmacy and a nursing home. Total costs were evaluated by means of linear mixed-effect models for longitudinal data, with the unit as a random effect to correct for dependencies within units.
Results
34 units from 11 nursing homes, including 318 residents and 376 nursing staff members participated in the cost analyses. Analyses showed no difference in total costs. However certain changes within costs could be noticed. The intervention group showed lower costs associated with outpatient hospital appointments over time (p = 0.05) than the control group. In both groups, the number of falls, costs associated with the elderly-care physician and nurse practitioner increased equally during the study (p<0.02).
Conclusions
DCM is a cost-neutral intervention. It effectively reduces outpatient hospital appointments compared to usual care. Other considerations than costs, such as nursing homes’ preferences, may determine whether they adopt the DCM method.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trials Registry NTR2314
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086662
PMCID: PMC3904939  PMID: 24489762
15.  The cost-effectiveness of a new disease management model for frail elderly living in homes for the elderly, design of a cluster randomized controlled clinical trial 
Background
The objective of this article is to describe the design of a study to evaluate the clinical and economic effects of a Disease Management model on functional health, quality of care and quality of life of persons living in homes for the elderly.
Methods
This study concerns a cluster randomized controlled clinical trial among five intervention homes and five usual care homes in the North-West of the Netherlands with a total of over 500 residents. All persons who are not terminally ill, are able to be interviewed and sign informed consent are included. For cognitively impaired persons family proxies will be approached to provide outcome information. The Disease Management Model consists of several elements: (1) Trained staff carries out a multidimensional assessment of the patients functional health and care needs with the interRAI Long Term Care Facilities instrument (LTCF). Computerization of the LTCF produces immediate identification of problem areas and thereby guides individualized care planning. (2) The assessment outcomes are discussed in a Multidisciplinary Meeting (MM) with the nurse, primary care physician, nursing home physician and Psychotherapist and if necessary other members of the care team. The MM presents individualized care plans to manage or treat modifiable disabilities and risk factors. (3) Consultation by an nursing home physician and psychotherapist is offered to the frailest residents at risk for nursing home admission (according to the interRAI LTCF). Outcome measures are Quality of Care indicators (LTCF based), Quality Adjusted Life Years (Euroqol), Functional health (SF12, COOP-WONCA), Disability (GARS), Patients care satisfaction (QUOTE), hospital and nursing home days and mortality, health care utilization and costs.
Discussion
This design is unique because no earlier studies were performed to evaluate the effects and costs of this Disease Management Model for disabled persons in homes for the elderly on functional health and quality of care.
Trail registration number
ISRCTN11076857
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-143
PMCID: PMC2488343  PMID: 18606020
16.  Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (I-ADL) trigger an urgent request for nursing home admission 
Objective
Although disabled elderly people mostly prefer to receive care at home or in other community settings, many of them reside in nursing homes. That is why several researchers have tried to identify predictors of institutionalisation. Various different dependency factors seem to explain the request for residential care. The aim of this study is to discover the most important factor triggering an urgent request for nursing home admission.
Methods
On the basis of social field research, we analysed the profiles and motives of an admission cohort of 125 elderly (31 men and 94 women) who were admitted to four nursing homes in Antwerp (Belgium) between January 2000 and April 2001. The study used data of the 'intake conversation', performed by an experienced social worker of the nursing home, subsequent to the request for nursing home admission.
Gender, age, Katz category, marital status, disease, living conditions, Personal and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (P-ADL and I-ADL) were the independent variables.
The variable 'time span' was introduced as dependent variable. This is the time between the onset of dependency and the request for institutionalisation. Nursing home carers have classified this time span in three periods: < 3, 3-12, and > 12 months. The statistical analysis focused on the characteristics of the two extremes, namely the earliest versus the latest applicants (n = 74). This was the best strategy to go about investigating the issue due to the vagueness and uncertain status of the data in the midrange.
Results
The applicants had an average age of 83 years. 31% of the elderly were defined as functioning good (needing assistance from another person in no to maximum two ADLs - washing and dressing) and 69% were classified as ill functioning (needing assistance in minimum three ADLs). Women were more likely to be widowed (83%) and to live alone and isolated (55%) and they had a lower degree of dependency (both P-ADL and I-ADL) when entering institutions. Of the women, 57% had a mental illness, compared with 48% of the men. Of the applicants, 34% were unwilling or unable to start home care and applied for an urgent request (within the first 3 months); 41% tried home care for a time and 26% applied after one year of home care.
The stepwise logistic regression analysis identified I-ADL as the decisive factor explaining the difference in 'decision speed' towards institutionalisation. An increase of one unit on the I-ADL score increased the chance of a request within the first three months by 63% (95%CI: 19 to135%, p = 0.006).
Conclusions
The only factor related to an urgent request for nursing home admission seems to be the I-ADL score. These results have important implications for targeting sheltered housing and further extension of home care services to postpone or prevent institutionalisation.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-70-2
PMCID: PMC3415109  PMID: 22958483
17.  Effects of a physiotherapy and occupational therapy intervention on mobility and activity in care home residents: a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Objective To compare the clinical effectiveness of a programme of physiotherapy and occupational therapy with standard care in care home residents who have mobility limitations and are dependent in performing activities of daily living.
Design Cluster randomised controlled trial, with random allocation at the level of care home.
Setting Care homes within the NHS South Birmingham primary care trust and the NHS Birmingham East and North primary care trust that had more than five beds and provided for people in the care categories “physical disability” and “older people.”
Participants Care home residents with mobility limitations, limitations in activities of daily living (as screened by the Barthel index), and not receiving end of life care were eligible to take part in the study.
Intervention A targeted three month occupational therapy and physiotherapy programme.
Main outcome measures Scores on the Barthel index and the Rivermead mobility index.
Results 24 of 77 nursing and residential homes that catered for residents with mobility limitations and dependency for activities of daily living were selected for study: 12 were randomly allocated to the intervention arm (128 residents, mean age 86 years) and 12 to the control arm (121 residents, mean age 84 years). Participants were evaluated by independent assessors blind to study arm allocation before randomisation (0 months), three months after randomisation (at the end of the treatment period for patients who received the intervention), and again at six months after randomisation. After adjusting for home effect and baseline characteristics, no significant differences were found in mean Barthel index scores at six months post-randomisation between treatment arms (mean effect 0.08, 95% confidence interval −1.14 to 1.30; P=0.90), across assessments (−0.01, −0.63 to 0.60; P=0.96), or in the interaction between assessment and intervention (0.42, −0.48 to 1.32; P=0.36). Similarly, no significant differences were found in the mean Rivermead mobility index scores between treatment arms (0.62, −0.51 to 1.76; P=0.28), across assessments (−0.15, −0.65 to 0.35; P=0.55), or interaction (0.71, −0.02 to 1.44; P=0.06).
Conclusions The three month occupational therapy and physiotherapy programme had no significant effect on mobility and independence. On the other hand, the variation in residents’ functional ability, the prevalence of cognitive impairment, and the prevalence of depression were considerably higher in this sample than expected on the basis of previous work. Further research to clarify the efficacy of occupational therapy and physiotherapy is required if access to therapy services is to be recommended in this population.
Trial registration ISRCTN79859980
doi:10.1136/bmj.b3123
PMCID: PMC2736373  PMID: 19723707
18.  Effect of an Educational Toolkit on Quality of Care: A Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001588.
In a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial, Baiju Shah and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of printed educational materials for clinician education focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Printed educational materials for clinician education are one of the most commonly used approaches for quality improvement. The objective of this pragmatic cluster randomized trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational toolkit focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Methods and Findings
All 933,789 people aged ≥40 years with diagnosed diabetes in Ontario, Canada were studied using population-level administrative databases, with additional clinical outcome data collected from a random sample of 1,592 high risk patients. Family practices were randomly assigned to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or May 2010 (control group). The primary outcome in the administrative data study, death or non-fatal myocardial infarction, occurred in 11,736 (2.5%) patients in the intervention group and 11,536 (2.5%) in the control group (p = 0.77). The primary outcome in the clinical data study, use of a statin, occurred in 700 (88.1%) patients in the intervention group and 725 (90.1%) in the control group (p = 0.26). Pre-specified secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control, were also not improved by the intervention. A limitation is the high baseline rate of statin prescribing in this population.
Conclusions
The educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Despite being relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, printed educational materials were not effective. The study highlights the need for a rigorous and scientifically based approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Trial Registration
http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01411865 and NCT01026688
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Clinical practice guidelines help health care providers deliver the best care to patients by combining all the evidence on disease management into specific recommendations for care. However, the implementation of evidence-based guidelines is often far from perfect. Take the example of diabetes. This common chronic disease, which is characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood, impairs the quality of life of patients and shortens life expectancy by increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (conditions that affect the heart and circulation) and other life-threatening conditions. Patients need complex care to manage the multiple risk factors (high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of fat in the blood) that are associated with the long-term complications of diabetes, and they need to be regularly screened and treated for these complications. Clinical practice guidelines for diabetes provide recommendations on screening and diagnosis, drug treatment, and cardiovascular disease risk reduction, and on helping patients self-manage their disease. Unfortunately, the care delivered to patients with diabetes frequently fails to meet the standards laid down in these guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
How can guideline adherence and the quality of care provided to patients be improved? A common approach is to send printed educational materials to clinicians. For example, when the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) updated its clinical practice guidelines in 2008, it mailed educational toolkits that contained brochures and other printed materials targeting key themes from the guidelines to family physicians. In this pragmatic cluster randomized trial, the researchers investigate the effect of the CDA educational toolkit that targeted cardiovascular disease screening and treatment on the quality of care of people with diabetes. A pragmatic trial asks whether an intervention works under real-life conditions and whether it works in terms that matter to the patient; a cluster randomized trial randomly assigns groups of people to receive alternative interventions and compares outcomes in the differently treated “clusters.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned family practices in Ontario, Canada to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or in May 2010 (control group). They examined outcomes between July 2009 and April 2010 in all patients with diabetes in Ontario aged over 40 years (933,789 people) using population-level administrative data. In Canada, administrative databases record the personal details of people registered with provincial health plans, information on hospital visits and prescriptions, and physician service claims for consultations, assessments, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They also examined clinical outcome data from a random sample of 1,592 patients at high risk of cardiovascular complications. In the administrative data study, death or non-fatal heart attack (the primary outcome) occurred in about 11,500 patients in both the intervention and control group. In the clinical data study, the primary outcome―use of a statin to lower blood fat levels―occurred in about 700 patients in both study groups. Secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control were also not improved by the intervention. Indeed, in the administrative data study, some processes of care outcomes related to screening for heart disease were statistically significantly worse in the intervention group than in the control group, and in the clinical data study, fewer patients in the intervention group reached blood pressure targets than in the control group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the CDA cardiovascular diseases educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Indeed, the toolkit may have led to worsening in some secondary outcomes although, because numerous secondary outcomes were examined, this may be a chance finding. Limitations of the study include its length, which may have been too short to see an effect of the intervention on clinical outcomes, and the possibility of a ceiling effect—the control group in the clinical data study generally had good care, which left little room for improvement of the quality of care in the intervention group. Overall, however, these findings suggest that printed educational materials may not be an effective way to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes and other complex conditions and highlight the need for a rigorous, scientific approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588.
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health care professionals, and the general public (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes, the commonest form of diabetes
The Canadian Diabetes Association also provides information about diabetes for patients (including some personal stories about living with diabetes) and health care professionals; its latest clinical practice guidelines are available on its website
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides general information about clinical guidelines and about health care quality standards in the UK
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality aims to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans (information in English and Spanish); the US National Guideline Clearinghouse is a searchable database of clinical practice guidelines
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about diabetes for patients and health care professionals, along with international statistics on the burden of diabetes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588
PMCID: PMC3913553  PMID: 24505216
19.  How complete is influenza immunization coverage? A study in 75 nursing and residential homes for elderly people. 
BACKGROUND. Elderly people in residential accommodation are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of influenza. Up to 70% of residents can become ill and many will develop complications or die. Immunization can prevent such outbreaks and is cost-effective. AIM. A study was undertaken to measure influenza immunization coverage in residential accommodation for elderly people and to identify factors that might influence uptake. METHOD. In March 1992, a questionnaire survey was conducted of all 113 registered nursing and residential homes for elderly people, in South Glamorgan. It asked about the demographic characteristics of people resident on 1 October 1991, their influenza immunization history and the homes' arrangements for administering immunizations. RESULTS. Questionnaires were returned by respondents from 75 homes (66%). Mean influenza vaccine uptake was 67%. Uptake was higher in nursing homes (mean of 82% in eight nursing homes) than in homes registered as both nursing and residential homes (mean of 76% in six homes) or in residential homes (mean of 65% in 61 homes). Nearly all of those immunized (94%) had been immunized by the end of November 1991. Residents who were reported to have underlying disease that increased their risk of complications if they contracted influenza were no more likely to have been immunized than those without risk factors. Immunization coverage varied considerably both between homes and between general practices. Most general practices in South Glamorgan had several elderly people in residential accommodation on their list, but only nine out of 64 practices had immunized all the elderly residents on their list and 12 practices had immunized fewer than half. Routine recording of immunization status in nursing and residential homes was variable, often as a consequence of poor communication between the primary health care team and staff at the home. Even where recorded, retrieval of the data was sometimes a problem. CONCLUSION. Influenza immunization coverage could be improved if general practices held a case register of all at-risk patients including elderly residents, and if nursing and residential homes were encouraged to keep better immunization records. These measures would facilitate year-on-year monitoring of influenza immunization coverage and the targeting of homes with low immunization coverage.
PMCID: PMC1239336  PMID: 7576847
20.  Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia 
Executive Summary
In early August 2007, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Aging in the Community project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding healthy aging in the community. The Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the ministry’s newly released Aging at Home Strategy.
After a broad literature review and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified 4 key areas that strongly predict an elderly person’s transition from independent community living to a long-term care home. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these 4 areas: falls and fall-related injuries, urinary incontinence, dementia, and social isolation. For the first area, falls and fall-related injuries, an economic model is described in a separate report.
Please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html, to review these titles within the Aging in the Community series.
Aging in the Community: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Prevention of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Urinary Incontinence in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Social Isolation in Community-Dwelling Seniors: An Evidence-Based Analysis
The Falls/Fractures Economic Model in Ontario Residents Aged 65 Years and Over (FEMOR)
This report features the evidence-based analysis on caregiver- and patient-directed interventions for dementia and is broken down into 4 sections:
Introduction
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Economic Analysis of Caregiver- and Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
To identify interventions that may be effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia living in the community.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Dementia is a progressive and largely irreversible syndrome that is characterized by a loss of cognitive function severe enough to impact social or occupational functioning. The components of cognitive function affected include memory and learning, attention, concentration and orientation, problem-solving, calculation, language, and geographic orientation. Dementia was identified as one of the key predictors in a senior’s transition from independent community living to admission to a long-term care (LTC) home, in that approximately 90% of individuals diagnosed with dementia will be institutionalized before death. In addition, cognitive decline linked to dementia is one of the most commonly cited reasons for institutionalization.
Prevalence estimates of dementia in the Ontario population have largely been extrapolated from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging conducted in 1991. Based on these estimates, it is projected that there will be approximately 165,000 dementia cases in Ontario in the year 2008, and by 2010 the number of cases will increase by nearly 17% over 2005 levels. By 2020 the number of cases is expected to increase by nearly 55%, due to a rise in the number of people in the age categories with the highest prevalence (85+). With the increase in the aging population, dementia will continue to have a significant economic impact on the Canadian health care system. In 1991, the total costs associated with dementia in Canada were $3.9 billion (Cdn) with $2.18 billion coming from LTC.
Caregivers play a crucial role in the management of individuals with dementia because of the high level of dependency and morbidity associated with the condition. It has been documented that a greater demand is faced by dementia caregivers compared with caregivers of persons with other chronic diseases. The increased burden of caregiving contributes to a host of chronic health problems seen among many informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Much of this burden results from managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), which have been established as a predictor of institutionalization for elderly patients with dementia.
It is recognized that for some patients with dementia, an LTC facility can provide the most appropriate care; however, many patients move into LTC unnecessarily. For individuals with dementia to remain in the community longer, caregivers require many types of formal and informal support services to alleviate the stress of caregiving. These include both respite care and psychosocial interventions. Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions such as psychoeducational interventions, counseling, supportive therapy, and behavioural interventions.
Assuming that 50% of persons with dementia live in the community, a conservative estimate of the number of informal caregivers in Ontario is 82,500. Accounting for the fact that 29% of people with dementia live alone, this leaves a remaining estimate of 58,575 Ontarians providing care for a person with dementia with whom they reside.
Description of Interventions
The 2 main categories of caregiver-directed interventions examined in this review are respite care and psychosocial interventions. Respite care is defined as a break or relief for the caregiver. In most cases, respite is provided in the home, through day programs, or at institutions (usually 30 days or less). Depending on a caregiver’s needs, respite services will vary in delivery and duration. Respite care is carried out by a variety of individuals, including paid staff, volunteers, family, or friends.
Psychosocial interventions encompass a broad range of interventions and have been classified in various ways in the literature. This review will examine educational, behavioural, dementia-specific, supportive, and coping interventions. The analysis focuses on behavioural interventions, that is, those designed to help the caregiver manage BPSD. As described earlier, BPSD are one of the most challenging aspects of caring for a senior with dementia, causing an increase in caregiver burden. The analysis also examines multicomponent interventions, which include at least 2 of the above-mentioned interventions.
Methods of Evidence-Based Analysis
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of interventions for caregivers of dementia patients.
Questions
Section 2.1
Are respite care services effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Do respite care services impact on rates of institutionalization of these seniors?
Section 2.2
Which psychosocial interventions are effective in supporting the well-being of unpaid caregivers of seniors with dementia in the community?
Which interventions reduce the risk for institutionalization of seniors with dementia?
Outcomes of Interest
any quantitative measure of caregiver psychological health, including caregiver burden, depression, quality of life, well-being, strain, mastery (taking control of one’s situation), reactivity to behaviour problems, etc.;
rate of institutionalization; and
cost-effectiveness.
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology and GRADE Working Group. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Conclusions in Table 1 are drawn from Sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the report.
Summary of Conclusions on Caregiver-Directed Interventions
There is limited evidence from RCTs that respite care is effective in improving outcomes for those caring for seniors with dementia.
There is considerable qualitative evidence of the perceived benefits of respite care.
Respite care is known as one of the key formal support services for alleviating caregiver burden in those caring for dementia patients.
Respite care services need to be tailored to individual caregiver needs as there are vast differences among caregivers and patients with dementia (severity, type of dementia, amount of informal/formal support available, housing situation, etc.)
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that individual behavioural interventions (≥ 6 sessions), directed towards the caregiver (or combined with the patient) are effective in improving psychological health in dementia caregivers.
There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions improve caregiver psychosocial health and may affect rates of institutionalization of dementia patients.
RCT indicates randomized controlled trial.
Patient-Directed Interventions for Dementia
Objective
The section on patient-directed interventions for dementia is broken down into 4 subsections with the following questions:
3.1 Physical Exercise for Seniors with Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of basic activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability, in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.2 Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions to Improve Cognitive Functioning in Seniors With Dementia – Secondary Prevention
What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
3.3 Physical Exercise for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
3.4 Cognitive Interventions for Delaying the Onset of Dementia – Primary Prevention
Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, deterioration in the performance of basic ADLs or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs),1 or incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Secondary Prevention2
Exercise
Physical deterioration is linked to dementia. This is thought to be due to reduced muscle mass leading to decreased activity levels and muscle atrophy, increasing the potential for unsafe mobility while performing basic ADLs such as eating, bathing, toileting, and functional ability.
Improved physical conditioning for seniors with dementia may extend their independent mobility and maintain performance of ADL.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Cognitive impairments, including memory problems, are a defining feature of dementia. These impairments can lead to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from activities. The impact of these cognitive problems on daily activities increases pressure on caregivers.
Cognitive interventions aim to improve these impairments in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Primary Prevention3
Exercise
Various vascular risk factors have been found to contribute to the development of dementia (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, overweight).
Physical exercise is important in promoting overall and vascular health. However, it is unclear whether physical exercise can decrease the risk of cognitive decline/dementia.
Nonpharmacologic and Nonexercise Interventions
Having more years of education (i.e., a higher cognitive reserve) is associated with a lower prevalence of dementia in crossectional population-based studies and a lower incidence of dementia in cohorts followed longitudinally. However, it is unclear whether cognitive training can increase cognitive reserve or decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs or reduce the incidence of dementia.
Description of Interventions
Physical exercise and nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions (e.g., cognitive training) for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia are assessed in this review.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify systematic reviews and RCTs that examined the effectiveness, safety and cost effectiveness of exercise and cognitive interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of dementia.
Questions
Section 3.1: What is the effectiveness of physical exercise for the improvement or maintenance of ADLs in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.2: What is the effectiveness of nonpharmacologic/nonexercise interventions to improve cognitive functioning in seniors with mild to moderate dementia?
Section 3.3: Can exercise decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline/dementia?
Section 3.4: Does cognitive training decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, prevent or delay deterioration in the performance of ADLs or IADLs, or reduce the incidence of dementia in seniors with good cognitive and physical functioning?
Assessment of Quality of Evidence
The quality of the evidence was assessed as High, Moderate, Low, or Very low according to the GRADE methodology. As per GRADE the following definitions apply:
Summary of Findings
Table 2 summarizes the conclusions from Sections 3.1 through 3.4.
Summary of Conclusions on Patient-Directed Interventions*
Previous systematic review indicated that “cognitive training” is not effective in patients with dementia.
A recent RCT suggests that CST (up to 7 weeks) is effective for improving cognitive function and quality of life in patients with dementia.
Regular leisure time physical activity in midlife is associated with a reduced risk of dementia in later life (mean follow-up 21 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline (mean follow-up 2 years).
Regular physical activity in seniors is associated with a reduced risk of dementia (mean follow-up 6–7 years).
Evidence that cognitive training for specific functions (memory, reasoning, and speed of processing) produces improvements in these specific domains.
Limited inconclusive evidence that cognitive training can offset deterioration in the performance of self-reported IADL scores and performance assessments.
1° indicates primary; 2°, secondary; CST, cognitive stimulation therapy; IADL, instrumental activities of daily living; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Benefit/Risk Analysis
As per the GRADE Working Group, the overall recommendations consider 4 main factors:
the trade-offs, taking into account the estimated size of the effect for the main outcome, the confidence limits around those estimates, and the relative value placed on the outcome;
the quality of the evidence;
translation of the evidence into practice in a specific setting, taking into consideration important factors that could be expected to modify the size of the expected effects such as proximity to a hospital or availability of necessary expertise; and
uncertainty about the baseline risk for the population of interest.
The GRADE Working Group also recommends that incremental costs of health care alternatives should be considered explicitly alongside the expected health benefits and harms. Recommendations rely on judgments about the value of the incremental health benefits in relation to the incremental costs. The last column in Table 3 reflects the overall trade-off between benefits and harms (adverse events) and incorporates any risk/uncertainty (cost-effectiveness).
Overall Summary Statement of the Benefit and Risk for Patient-Directed Interventions*
Economic Analysis
Budget Impact Analysis of Effective Interventions for Dementia
Caregiver-directed behavioural techniques and patient-directed exercise programs were found to be effective when assessing mild to moderate dementia outcomes in seniors living in the community. Therefore, an annual budget impact was calculated based on eligible seniors in the community with mild and moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who were willing to participate in interventional home sessions. Table 4 describes the annual budget impact for these interventions.
Annual Budget Impact (2008 Canadian Dollars)
Assumed 7% prevalence of dementia aged 65+ in Ontario.
Assumed 8 weekly sessions plus 4 monthly phone calls.
Assumed 12 weekly sessions plus biweekly sessions thereafter (total of 20).
Assumed 2 sessions per week for first 5 weeks. Assumed 90% of seniors in the community with dementia have mild to moderate disease. Assumed 4.5% of seniors 65+ are in long-term care, and the remainder are in the community. Assumed a rate of participation of 60% for both patients and caregivers and of 41% for patient-directed exercise. Assumed 100% compliance since intervention administered at the home. Cost for trained staff from Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care data source. Assumed cost of personal support worker to be equivalent to in-home support. Cost for recreation therapist from Alberta government Website.
Note: This budget impact analysis was calculated for the first year after introducing the interventions from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care perspective using prevalence data only. Prevalence estimates are for seniors in the community with mild to moderate dementia and their respective caregivers who are willing to participate in an interventional session administered at the home setting. Incidence and mortality rates were not factored in. Current expenditures in the province are unknown and therefore were not included in the analysis. Numbers may change based on population trends, rate of intervention uptake, trends in current programs in place in the province, and assumptions on costs. The number of patients was based on patients likely to access these interventions in Ontario based on assumptions stated below from the literature. An expert panel confirmed resource consumption.
PMCID: PMC3377513  PMID: 23074509
21.  Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes 
Executive Summary
In June 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Diabetes Strategy Evidence Project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding strategies for successful management and treatment of diabetes. This project came about when the Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the Ministry’s newly released Diabetes Strategy.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified five key areas in which evidence was needed. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these five areas: insulin pumps, behavioural interventions, bariatric surgery, home telemonitoring, and community based care. For each area, an economic analysis was completed where appropriate and is described in a separate report.
To review these titles within the Diabetes Strategy Evidence series, please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html,
Diabetes Strategy Evidence Platform: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Pumps for Type 1 and Type 2 Adult Diabetics: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Bariatric Surgery for People with Diabetes and Morbid Obesity: An Evidence-Based Summary
Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telemonitoring for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Application of the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) to Determine the Cost-effectiveness and Budget Impact of Selected Type 2 Diabetes Interventions in Ontario
Objective
The objective of this report is to determine the efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Diabetes (i.e. diabetes mellitus) is a highly prevalent chronic metabolic disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to produce or effectively use insulin. The majority (90%) of diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes. (1) Based on the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), intensive blood glucose and blood pressure control significantly reduce the risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetics. While many studies have documented that patients often do not meet the glycemic control targets specified by national and international guidelines, factors associated with glycemic control are less well studied, one of which is the provider(s) of care.
Multidisciplinary approaches to care may be particularly important for diabetes management. According guidelines from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), the diabetes health care team should be multi-and interdisciplinary. Presently in Ontario, the core diabetes health care team consists of at least a family physician and/or diabetes specialist, and diabetes educators (registered nurse and registered dietician).
Increasing the role played by allied health care professionals in diabetes care and their collaboration with physicians may represent a more cost-effective option for diabetes management. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have examined multidisciplinary care programs, but these have either been limited to a specific component of multidisciplinary care (e.g. intensified education programs), or were conducted as part of a broader disease management program, of which not all were multidisciplinary in nature. Most reviews also do not clearly define the intervention(s) of interest, making the evaluation of such multidisciplinary community programs challenging.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What is the evidence of efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care provided by at least a registered nurse, registered dietician and physician (primary care and/or specialist) for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care? [Henceforth referred to as Model 1]
What is the evidence of efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care provided by at least a pharmacist and a primary care physician for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care? [Henceforth referred to as Model 2]
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports
Published between January 1, 2000 and September 28, 2008
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Type 2 diabetic adult population (≥18 years of age)
Total sample size ≥30
Describe specialized multidisciplinary community care defined as ambulatory-based care provided by at least two health care disciplines (of which at least one must be a specialist in diabetes) with integrated communication between the care providers.
Compared to usual care (defined as health care provision by non-specialist(s) in diabetes, such as primary care providers; may include referral to other health care professionals/services as necessary)
≥6 months follow-up
Exclusion Criteria
Studies where discrete results on diabetes cannot be abstracted
Predominantly home-based interventions
Inpatient-based interventions
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcomes for this review were glycosylated hemoglobin (rHbA1c) levels and systolic blood pressure (SBP).
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on September 28, 2008 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 1, 2000 and September 28, 2008. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Given the high clinical heterogeneity of the articles that met the inclusion criteria, specific models of specialized multidisciplinary community care were examined based on models of care that are currently being supported in Ontario, models of care that were commonly reported in the literature, as well as suggestions from an Expert Advisory Panel Meeting held on January 21, 2009.
Summary of Findings
The initial search yielded 2,116 unique citations, from which 22 RCTs trials and nine systematic reviews published were identified as meeting the eligibility criteria. Of these, five studies focused on care provided by at least a nurse, dietician, and physician (primary care and/or specialist) model of care (Model 1; see Table ES 1), while three studies focused on care provided by at least a pharmacist and primary care physician (Model 2; see Table ES 2).
Based on moderate quality evidence, specialized multidisciplinary community care Model 2 has demonstrated a statistically and clinically significant reduction in HbA1c of 1.0% compared with usual care. The effects of this model on SBP, however, are uncertain compared with usual care, based on very-low quality evidence. Specialized multidisciplinary community care Model 2 has demonstrated a statistically and clinically significant reduction in both HbA1c of 1.05% (based on high quality evidence) and SBP of 7.13 mm Hg (based on moderate quality evidence) compared to usual care. For both models, the evidence does not suggest a preferred setting of care delivery (i.e., primary care vs. hospital outpatient clinic vs. community clinic).
Summary of Results of Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Multidisciplinary Care Model 1
Mean change from baseline to follow-up between intervention and control groups
Summary of Results of Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Multidisciplinary Care Model 2
Mean change from baseline to follow-up between intervention and control groups
PMCID: PMC3377524  PMID: 23074528
22.  Improving person-centred care in nursing homes through dementia-care mapping: design of a cluster-randomised controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:1.
Background
The effectiveness and efficiency of nursing-home dementia care are suboptimal: there are high rates of neuropsychiatric symptoms among the residents and work-related stress among the staff. Dementia-care mapping is a person-centred care method that may alleviate both the resident and the staff problems. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of dementia-care mapping in nursing-home dementia care.
Methods/Design
The study is a cluster-randomised controlled trial, with nursing homes grouped in clusters. Studywise minimisation is the allocation method. Nursing homes in the intervention group will receive a dementia-care-mapping intervention, while the control group will receive usual care. The primary outcome measure is resident agitation, to be assessed with the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory. The secondary outcomes are resident neuropsychiatric symptoms, assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory - Nursing Homes and quality of life, assessed with Qualidem and the EQ-5D. The staff outcomes are stress reactions, job satisfaction and job-stress-related absenteeism, and staff turnover rate, assessed with the Questionnaire about Experience and Assessment of Work, the General Health Questionnaire-12, and the Maastricht Job Satisfaction Scale for Health Care, respectively. We will collect the data from the questionnaires and electronic registration systems. We will employ linear mixed-effect models and cost-effectiveness analyses to evaluate the outcomes. We will use structural equation modelling in the secondary analysis to evaluate the plausibility of a theoretical model regarding the effectiveness of the dementia-care mapping intervention. We will set up process analyses, including focus groups with staff, to determine the relevant facilitators of and barriers to implementing dementia-care mapping broadly.
Discussion
A novelty of dementia-care mapping is that it offers an integral person-centred approach to dementia care in nursing homes. The major strengths of the study design are the large sample size, the cluster-randomisation, and the one-year follow-up. The generalisability of the implementation strategies may be questionable because the motivation for person-centred care in both the intervention and control nursing homes is above average. The results of this study may be useful in improving the quality of care and are relevant for policymakers.
Trial registration
The trial is registered in the Netherlands National Trial Register: NTR2314.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-1
PMCID: PMC3267673  PMID: 22214264
23.  Does a functional activity programme improve function, quality of life, and falls for residents in long term care? Cluster randomised controlled trial 
Objective To assess the effectiveness of an activity programme in improving function, quality of life, and falls in older people in residential care.
Design Cluster randomised controlled trial with one year follow-up.
Setting 41 low level dependency residential care homes in New Zealand.
Participants 682 people aged 65 years or over.
Interventions 330 residents were offered a goal setting and individualised activities of daily living activity programme by a gerontology nurse, reinforced by usual healthcare assistants; 352 residents received social visits.
Main outcome measures Function (late life function and disability instruments, elderly mobility scale, FICSIT-4 balance test, timed up and go test), quality of life (life satisfaction index, EuroQol), and falls (time to fall over 12 months). Secondary outcomes were depressive symptoms and hospital admissions.
Results 473 (70%) participants completed the trial. The programme had no impact overall. However, in contrast to residents with impaired cognition (no differences between intervention and control group), those with normal cognition in the intervention group may have maintained overall function (late life function and disability instrument total function, P=0.024) and lower limb function (late life function and disability instrument basic lower extremity, P=0.015). In residents with cognitive impairment, the likelihood of depression increased in the intervention group. No other outcomes differed between groups.
Conclusion A programme of functional rehabilitation had minimal impact for elderly people in residential care with normal cognition but was not beneficial for those with poor cognition.
Trial registration Australian Clinical Trials Register ACTRN12605000667617.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a1445
PMCID: PMC2565754  PMID: 18845605
24.  The effect of regular walks on various health aspects in older people with dementia: protocol of a randomized-controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:38.
Background
Physical activity has proven to be beneficial for physical functioning, cognition, depression, anxiety, rest-activity rhythm, quality of life (QoL), activities of daily living (ADL) and pain in older people. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of walking regularly on physical functioning, the progressive cognitive decline, level of depression, anxiety, rest-activity rhythm, QoL, ADL and pain in older people with dementia.
Methods/design
This study is a longitudinal randomized controlled, single blind study. Ambulatory older people with dementia, who are regular visitors of daily care or living in a home for the elderly or nursing home in the Netherlands, will be randomly allocated to the experimental or control condition. Participants of the experimental group make supervised walks of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, as part of their daily nursing care. Participants of the control group will come together three times a week for tea or other sedentary activities to control for possible positive effects of social interaction. All dependent variables will be assessed at baseline and after 6 weeks, and 3, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months of intervention.
The dependent variables include neuropsychological tests to assess cognition, physical tests to determine physical functioning, questionnaires to assess ADL, QoL, level of depression and anxiety, actigraphy to assess rest-activity rhythm and pain scales to determine pain levels. Potential moderating variables at baseline are: socio-demographic characteristics, body mass index, subtype of dementia, apolipoprotein E (ApoE) genotype, medication use and comorbidities.
Discussion
This study evaluates the effect of regular walking as a treatment for older people with dementia. The strength of this study is that 1) it has a longitudinal design with multiple repeated measurements, 2) we assess many different health aspects, 3) the intervention is not performed by research staff, but by nursing staff which enables it to become a routine in usual care. Possible limitations of the study are that 1) only active minded institutions are willing to participate creating a selection bias, 2) the drop-out rate will be high in this population, 3) not all participants will be able to perform/understand all tests.
Trial registration
NTR1482
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-38
PMCID: PMC3176485  PMID: 21827648
25.  Sustaining Transfers through Affordable Research Translation (START): study protocol to assess knowledge translation interventions in continuing care settings 
Trials  2013;14:355.
Background
Bridging the research-practice gap is an important research focus in continuing care facilities, because the population of older adults (aged 65 years and over) requiring continuing care services is the fastest growing demographic among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Unlicensed practitioners, known as health care aides, provide the majority of care for residents living in continuing care facilities. However, little research examines how to sustain health care aide behavior change following initial adoption of current research evidence.
Methods/Design
We will conduct a phase III, multicentre, cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) using a stratified 2 × 2 additive factorial design, including an embedded process evaluation, in 24 supportive living facilities within the health zone of Edmonton, AB, Canada. We will determine which combination of frequency and intensity of reminders most effectively sustains the completion of the sit-to-stand activity by health care aides with residents. Frequency refers to how often a reminder is implemented; intensity refers to whether a reminder is social or paper-based. We will compare monthly reminders with reminders implemented every 3 months, and we will compare low intensity, paper-based reminders and high intensity reminders provided by a health care aide peer.
Using interviews, questionnaires, and observations, Sustaining Transfers through Affordable Research Translation (START) will evaluate the processes that inhibit or promote the mobility innovation’s sustainability among health care aides in daily practice. We will examine how the reminders are implemented and perceived by health care aides and licensed practical nurses, as well as how health care aides providing peer reminders are identified, received by their peers, and supported by their supervisors.
Discussion
START will connect up-to-date innovation research with the practice of health care aides providing direct care to a growing population of older Albertans. The project’s reach extends to both supportive living and long-term care settings. Furthermore, START has the potential to introduce and sustain a broad range of innovations in various care areas, such as dementia care, wound care, and pain management – domains where the uptake and sustainability of innovations also encounter significant challenges. By identifying the optimal frequency and intensity of knowledge translation interventions, we hope to enable continuing care organizations to efficiently integrate care innovations into the day-to-day care of residents.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01746459
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-355
PMCID: PMC4231466  PMID: 24160483
Knowledge translation; Reminders; Continuing care; Health care aides; Long-term care; Older adults; Sustainability; Mobility

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