The technical aspects of quality assurance (QA) in radiation oncology as practice in the United States will be reviewed and updated in the spirit of offering the experience to the radiation oncology communities in the Asia-Pacific region. The word “technical” is used to express the organisational components or processes and not the materials within the QA program. A comprehensive QA program in radiation oncology will have an official statement declaring the quality plan for effective patient care services it provides in a document. The QA program will include all aspects of patient care: physical, clinical, and medical aspects of the services. The document will describe the organisational structure, responsibilities, checks and procedures, and resources allocated to ensure the successful implementation of the quality of patient management. Regulatory guidelines and guidelines from accreditation agencies should be incorporated in the QA program to ensure compliance. The organisational structure will have a multidisciplinary QA committee that has the authority to evaluate continuously the effectiveness of the QA program to provide prompt corrective recommendations and to request feedback as needed to monitor the response. The continuous monitoring aspects require meetings to be held at regular intervals with the minutes of the meetings officially recorded and documented. To ensure that a QA program is effective, the program itself should be audited for quality at regular intervals at least annually. It has been recognised that the current QA program has not kept abreast with the rapid implementation of new and advanced radiation therapy technologies with the most recent in image-based radiation therapy technology. The societal bodies (ASTRO and AAPM) and federal agency (NCI) acknowledge this inadequacy and have held workshops to address this issue. The challenges for the societal bodies and federal agency are numerous that include (a) the prescriptive methodology used may not be appropriate for currently implemented new technologies, (b) resources are becoming scarce, (c) advanced radiation therapy technologies have been introduced too rapidly, (d) advances in radiation therapy technologies have become too sophisticated and specialised with each therapy modality having its own separate set of equipment, for example its own dose planning software, computer system and dose delivery systems requiring individualised QA procedures. At the present time, industrial engineers are being recruited to assist in devising a methodology that is broad-based and more process-oriented risk-based formulation of QA in radiation oncology.
quality assurance; radiation therapy; treatment planning
The implementation of evidence-based practice guidelines can be influenced by nurses' perceptions of the organizational safety culture. Shift-by-shift management of each nursing unit is designated to a subset of staff nurses (charge nurses), whom are often recruited as champions for change. The findings indicate that compared to charge nurses, noncharge nurses were more positive about overall perceptions of safety (P = .05) and teamwork (P < .05). Among charge nurses, significant differences were observed based on the number of years' experience in charge: perception of teamwork within units [F(3, 365) = 3.52, P < .01]; overall perceptions of safety, [F(3, 365) = 4.20, P < .05]; safety grade for work area [F(3, 360) = 2.61, P < .05]; number of events reported within the last month [F(3, 362) = 3.49, P < .05]. These findings provide important insights to organizational contextual factors that may impact effectiveness outcomes research in the future.
Improve the quality of integrated care and support to oncology outpatients receiving palliative radiotherapy.
Oncology patients receiving palliative radiotherapy experience major transitions. These patients are currently offered shortened outpatient treatment. In 2004–2005, research by RU students showed deficiencies in information, continuity in care, and in communication between health care providers. To improve integrated care and transmural cooperation multidisciplinary teams contributed to developing a protocol and checklist called ‘Transmural Programme Palliative Radiotherapy’ (TZPR).
The RU Centre of Expertise Transitions in Care evaluated the process of regional implementation and the value of TZPR on patient and organizational level. Themes were needs, logistic process, symptom control, psychosocial support and after-care. A mixed methods design was used: semi-structured interviews with 20 caregivers and patients; a focus group discussion with 7 caregivers; a questionnaire for both patients and control group.
Health professionals are positive about the content and implementation of TZPR. They experienced an improvement in the quality of integrated care and support to patients. Preliminary results from the patients' perspective are expected mid-2009. The participatory approach guarantees the desired integrated care.
palliative care; radiotherapy; oncology patients; quality of care
Recent years have seen the large-scale development of clinical practice guidelines for mental disorders in several countries. In the Netherlands, more than ten multidisciplinary guidelines for mental health care have been developed since 2003. The first dealt with the treatment of anxiety disorders. An important question was whether it is feasible to implement these guidelines because implementing practice guidelines is often difficult. Although several implementation interventions have proven effective, there seems to be no ready-made strategy that works in all circumstances.
The Dutch multidisciplinary guidelines for anxiety disorders were implemented in a community mental health care centre, located in the east of the Netherlands. The centre provides secondary outpatient care. The unit within the centre that specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders has 16 team members with diverse professional backgrounds. Important steps in the process of implementing the guidelines were analysing the care provided before start of the implementation to determine the goals for improvement, and analysing the context and target group for implementation. Based on these analyses, a tailor-made multifaceted implementation strategy was developed that combined the reorganization of the care process, the development of instruction materials, the organization of educational meetings and the use of continuous quality circles to improve adherence to guidelines.
Discussion and evaluation
Significant improvements in adherence rates were made in the aspect of care that was targeted for change. An increase was found in the number of patients being provided with recommended forms of psychotherapeutic treatment, ranging from 43% to 54% (p < 0.01). The delivery of adequate pharmacological treatment was not explicitly targeted for change remained constant.
The case study presented here shows that the implementation of practice guidelines for anxiety disorders in mental health care is feasible. Based on the results of our study, the implementation model used offers a useful approach to guideline implementation. By describing the exact steps that were followed in detail and providing some of the tools that were used in the study, we hope the replication of this implementation methodology is made more practical for others in the future.
Anxiety disorders; Practice guidelines; Implementation strategy; Tools for implementation
Although the BTS-SIGN asthma guideline is one of the most well known and widely respected guidelines in the world, implementation in UK primary care remains patchy. Building on extensive earlier descriptive work, we sought to explore the way teamwork and inter-professional relationships impact on the implementation of the BTS-SIGN guideline on asthma in general practice.
Qualitative comparative case study using nine in-depth interviews and 2 focus groups with general practitioners and practice nurses, involved in delivering asthma care. Participants were purposively recruited from practices in a Scottish health board with high and low compliance with the BTS-SIGN asthma guideline.
There was a marked difference in the way respondents from practices with high compliance and respondents from practices with low compliance spoke about the value of guidelines and the challenges of implementing them. On both accounts, the former were more positive than the latter and were able to be more specific about the strategies they used to overcome barriers to implementation. We explored the reason for this difference in response and identified practice organisation, centring on delegation of work to nurses, as a factor mediating the practice's level of compliance. Effective delegation was underpinned by organisation of asthma work among practice members who have the appropriate level of skills and knowledge, know and understand each others' work and responsibilities, communicate well among themselves and trust each others' skills. It was the combination of these factors which made for successful delegation and guideline implementation, not any one factor in isolation.
In our sample of practices, teamwork and organisation of care within practices appeared to impact on guideline implementation and further larger studies are needed to explore this issue further. Isolated interventions such as measures to improve staff's knowledge or increased clinical resource and time, which are currently being considered, are unlikely to be effective unless practices are supported in developing their teams in a way which supports the deployment of these resources.
In 2003, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health launched the Health Extension Programme (HEP), which was intended to increase access to reproductive health care. Despite enormous effort, utilization of maternal health services remains limited, and the reasons for the low utilization of the services offered through the HEP previously have not been explored in depth.
This study explores women’s experiences and perceptions regarding delivery care in Tigray, a northern region of Ethiopia, and enables us to make suggestions for better implementation of maternal health care services in this setting.
We used six focus group discussions with 51 women to explore perceptions and experiences regarding delivery care. The data were analysed by means of grounded theory.
One core category emerged, ‘making pragmatic choices’, which connected the categories ‘aiming for safer deliveries’, ‘embedded in tradition’, and ‘medical knowledge under constrained circumstances’. In this setting, women – aiming for safer deliveries – made choices pragmatically between the two available models of childbirth. On the one hand, choice of home delivery, represented by the category ‘embedded in tradition’, was related to their faith, the ascendancy of elderly women, the advantages of staying at home and the custom of traditional birth attendants (TBAs). On the other, institutional delivery, represented by the category ‘medical knowledge under constrained circumstances’, and linked to how women appreciated medical resources and the support of health extension workers (HEWs) but were uncertain about the quality of care, emphasized the barriers to transportation.
In Tigray women made choices pragmatically and seemed to not feel any conflict between the two available models, being supported by traditional birth attendants, HEWs and husbands in their decision-making. Representatives of the two models were not as open to collaboration as the women themselves, however.
Although women did not see any conflict between traditional and institutional maternal care, the gap between the models remained and revealed a need to reconcile differing views among the caregivers. The HEP would benefit from an approach that incorporates all the actors involved in maternal care, at institutional, community and family levels alike. Reconsideration is required of the role of TBAs, and a well-designed, community-inclusive, coordinated and feasible referral system should be maintained.
The Dutch multidisciplinary sciatica guideline recommends that the team of professionals involved in sciatica care and the patient together decide on surgical or prolonged conservative treatment (shared decision making [SDM]). Despite this recommendation, SDM is not yet integrated in sciatica care. Existing literature concerning barriers and facilitators to SDM implementation mainly focuses on one discipline only, whereas multidisciplinary care may involve other barriers and facilitators, or make these more complex for both professionals and patients. Therefore, this qualitative study aims to identify barriers and facilitators perceived by patients and professionals for SDM implementation in multidisciplinary sciatica care.
We conducted 40 semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in sciatica care (general practitioners, physical therapists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons) and three focus groups among patients (six to eight per group). The interviews and focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed in full. Reported barriers and facilitators were classified according to the framework of Grol and Wensing. The software package Atlas.ti 7.0 was used for analysis.
Professionals reported 53 barriers and 5 facilitators, and patients 35 barriers and 18 facilitators for SDM in sciatica care. Professionals perceived most barriers at the level of the organizational context, and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Patients reported most barriers and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Several barriers and facilitators correspond with barriers and facilitators found in the literature (e.g., lack of time, motivation) but also new barriers and facilitators were identified. Many of these new barriers mentioned by both professionals and patients were related to the multidisciplinary setting, such as lack of visibility, lack of trust in expertise of other disciplines, and lack of communication between disciplines.
This study identified barriers and facilitators for SDM in the multidisciplinary sciatica setting, by both professionals and patients. It is clear that more barriers than facilitators are perceived for implementation of SDM in sciatica care. Newly identified barriers and facilitators are related to the multidisciplinary care setting. Therefore, an effective implementation strategy of SDM in a multidisciplinary setting such as in sciatica care should focus on these barriers and facilitators.
Sciatica; Lumbar radicular syndrome; Implementation strategy; Shared decision making; Barriers and facilitators; Multidisciplinary; Patients; Professionals; Providers
Routinely conducting case finding (also commonly referred to as screening) in patients with chronic illness for depression in primary care appears to have little impact. We explored the views and experiences of primary care nurses, doctors and managers to understand how the implementation of case finding/screening might impact on its effectiveness.
Two complementary qualitative focus group studies of primary care professionals including nurses, doctors and managers, in five primary care practices and five Community Health Partnerships, were conducted in Scotland.
We identified several features of the way case finding/screening was implemented that may lead to systematic under-detection of depression. These included obstacles to incorporating case finding/screening into a clinical review consultation; a perception of replacing individualised care with mechanistic assessment, and a disconnection for nurses between management of physical and mental health. Far from being a standardised process that encouraged detection of depression, participants described case finding/screening as being conducted in a way which biased it towards negative responses, and for nurses, it was an uncomfortable task for which they lacked the necessary skills to provide immediate support to patients at the time of diagnosis.
The introduction of case finding/screening for depression into routine chronic illness management is not straightforward. Routinized case finding/screening for depression can be implemented in ways that may be counterproductive to engagement (particularly by nurses), with the mental health needs of patients living with long term conditions. If case finding/screening or engagement with mental health problems is to be promoted, primary care nurses require more training to increase their confidence in raising and dealing with mental health issues and GPs and nurses need to work collectively to develop the relational work required to promote cognitive participation in case finding/screening.
Depression; Case finding; Screening; PHQ9; Diabetes; Coronary heart disease; Primary care
In 2011, the World Health Organization's (WHO) mental health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) released evidence-based epilepsy-care guidelines for use in low and middle income countries (LAMICs). From a geographical, sociocultural, and political perspective, LAMICs represent a heterogenous group with significant differences in the epidemiology, etiology, and perceptions of epilepsy. Successful implementation of the guidelines requires local adaptation for use within individual countries. For effective implementation and sustainability, the sense of ownership and empowerment must be transferred from the global health authorities to the local people. Sociocultural and financial barriers that impede the implementation of the guidelines should be identified and ameliorated. Impact assessment and program revisions should be planned and a budget allocated to them. If effectively implemented, as intended, at the primary-care level, the mhGAP guidelines have the potential to facilitate a substantial reduction in the epilepsy treatment gap and improve the quality of epilepsy care in resource-limited settings.
Non-physician healthcare worker; clinical officer; variations in care; treatment gap
Clinical practice guidelines are regarded as powerful tools to achieve effective health care. Although many countries have built up experience in the development, appraisal, and implementation of guidelines, until recently there has been no established forum for collaboration at an international level. As a result, in different countries seeking similar goals and using similar strategies, efforts have been unnecessarily duplicated and opportunities for harmonisation lost because of the lack of a supporting organisational framework. This triggered a proposal in 2001 for an international guidelines network built on existing partnerships. A baseline survey confirmed a strong demand for such an entity. A multinational group of guideline experts initiated the development of a non-profit organisation aimed at promotion of systematic guideline development and implementation. The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) was founded in November 2002. One year later the Network released the International Guideline Library, a searchable database which now contains more than 2000 guideline resources including published guidelines, guidelines under development, "guidelines for guidelines", training materials, and patient information tools. By June 2004, 52 organisations from 27 countries had joined the network including institutions from Oceania, North America, and Europe, and WHO. This paper describes the process that led to the foundation of the G-I-N, its characteristics, prime activities, and ideas on future projects and collaboration.
A few hospitals in the Netherlands have been introducing digital patient portals. Patient portals are secured internet environments for patients to log into from their homes to exchange information with their care provider. Such portals can be seen as an application of e-health that encourages patient’s self management. User acceptance is an important precondition for successful implementation. Research on patient user acceptance has already occurred. This project is about the user acceptance of the professional healthcare provider. The focus is on nurses, because in the Netherlands nurses play a crucial role in developing and implementing a portal, as well as in introducing the portal to the patient. Besides that, they have to integrate the portal tasks with their other work.
This qualitative research describes the extent to which and the manner in which nurses accept digital patient portals. It is investigated how the portals are developed and implemented, how nurses use and appreciate the portals and which factors are important for realizing user acceptance of professional health care providers.
In-depth interviews were executed with 18 respondents of two University Medical Centers in the Netherlands. The group consisted of 12 nurses and nursing specialists, 2 doctors, 2 researchers, 1 communication officer and 1 manager. Interview topics were derived from the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT).
The results show that the degree of acceptance among nurses is great. Nurses see the introduction of patient portals as an inevitable development. Essential for nurses’ acceptance is the ‘perceived usefulness’, especially from patient’s perspective. Perceived usefulness from their own perspective (ease-to-use) also plays a role but this is of less importance. The e-consult is relevant. However, it will not substitute usual (face-to-face or telephone) contacts, unless e-consult is part of the scheduled treatment plan. But this is still rarely the case and actually a cultural change in professional practice, a digital revolution is needed. Moreover, the work is not yet designed for e-health; time and costs for e-health are not yet reimbursed in the Dutch context. Nurses see the portal as an additional service for patients, because it offers them the possibility for asking questions at any time and place suitable for the patient. Some nurses experience an increase in work load, because patients ask more non-urgent questions that otherwise would not be asked. Other nurses observe a decrease of workload, because of a decrease of consultations about laboratory test results.
The user acceptance from nurses is great. Most important motive is the perceived usefulness for the patient. The patient portal is seen as an extra service for the patient, and the nurses are prepared to deliver this service. There is a risk of increased workload. Exploiting the potentials for greater efficiency requires a cultural change in professional practice.
e-health; patient portal; nurse; usability; implementation
The purpose of this article is to present a Swedish study exploring health care professionals’ cooperation in the chain of care for expectant and new parents between antenatal care (AC), postpartum care (PC) and child health care (CHC). Furthermore, the rationale was to conceptualise barriers and facilitators of cooperation in order to generate a comprehensive theoretical model which may explain variations in the care providers’ experiences.
Thirty-two midwives and CHC nurses were interviewed in five focus group – and two individual interviews in a suburb of a large Swedish city. Grounded Theory was applied as the research methodology.
One core category was discerned: linkage in the chain of care, including six categories with subcategories. Despite the fact that midwives as well as CHC nurses have common visions about linkage, cooperation is not achieved because of interacting barriers that have different influences on the three links in the chain.
Barriers to linkage are lack of professional gain, link perspective and first or middle position in the chain, while facilitators are chain perspective, professional gain and last position in the chain. As the last link, CHC nurses promote a linkage most strongly and have the greatest gain from such linking.
focus group; grounded theory; chain of care; professional cooperation; expectant/new parents
This article describes successful institutionally-based programs for providing high quality palliative care to people with cancer and their family members. Challenges and opportunities for program development are also described.
Published literature from 2000 to present describing concurrent oncology palliative care clinical trials, standards and guidelines were reviewed.
Clinical trials have demonstrated feasibility and positive outcomes and formed the basis for consensus guidelines that support concurrent oncology palliative care models.
Implications for nursing practice
Oncology nurses should advocate for all patients with advanced cancer and their families to have access to concurrent oncology palliative oncology care from the time of diagnosis with a life-limiting cancer.
Cancer palliative care models; review; palliative care standards
To present a partnership-based and community-oriented approach designed to ease provider anxiety and facilitate the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) in resource-limited primary care settings.
Materials and Methods
The approach, referred to as partnership model, was developed and iteratively refined through the research team's previous work on implementing health information technology (HIT) in over 30 safety net practices. This paper uses two case studies to illustrate how the model was applied to help two nurse-managed health centers (NMHC), a particularly vulnerable primary care setting, implement EHR and get prepared to meet the meaningful use criteria.
The strong focus of the model on continuous quality improvement led to eventual implementation success at both sites, despite difficulties encountered during the initial stages of the project.
There has been a lack of research, particularly in resource-limited primary care settings, on strategies for abating provider anxiety and preparing them to manage complex changes associated with EHR uptake. The partnership model described in this paper may provide useful insights into the work shepherded by HIT regional extension centers dedicated to supporting resource-limited communities disproportionally affected by EHR adoption barriers.
NMHC, similar to other primary care settings, are often poorly resourced, understaffed, and lack the necessary expertise to deploy EHR and integrate its use into their day-to-day practice. This study demonstrates that implementation of EHR, a prerequisite to meaningful use, can be successfully achieved in this setting, and partnership efforts extending far beyond the initial software deployment stage may be the key.
Collaborative technologies; community health care; developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems; electronic health records (E05.318.308.940.968.625.500); health information technology for economic and clinical health act (N03.706.615.049); human–computer interaction and human-centered computing; improving healthcare workflow and process efficiency; nurse-managed health centers; personal health records and self-care systems; qualitative/ethnographic field study; regional extension centers; social/organizational study; system implementation and management issues; systems supporting patient–provider interaction
This article describes the Dutch ‘Multidisciplinary Guidelines in Mental Health Care’ project and its first products (multidisciplinary guidelines on depressive and anxiety disorders).
Context of case
In the early 1990s, disciplines in Dutch mental health care formulated their first monodisciplinary guidelines, which disagreed on essential features. In 1998, the Dutch government invited representatives of the five core disciplines in mental health care (psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychotherapists (clinical), psychologists and psychiatric nurses) to start a joint project aimed at the development of new integrated multidisciplinary guidelines.
The vision document, presented in 2000 by the five core disciplines, describes the directions for the development of new guidelines. The guidelines on depressive and anxiety disorders will appear in 2004.
The first draft guidelines were presented in May 2003, in line with the vision document (2000). However, it is still not certain whether they will be authorised by all professional groups. Some disciplines do not recognise themselves in these guidelines. It is argued that these problems can be attributed at least in part to the evidence-based method that was used in drafting the guidelines. Interventions are compared on the basis of their ‘level of evidence’, the consequence of which is that cognitive behavioural therapy and drug treatment are almost always seen as the only appropriate interventions. Other interventions are excluded because of their lower level of evidence.
Conclusions and discussion
The conclusion is that guidelines cannot be based on empirical evidence alone. It is argued that the collective sense of professions involved should also be integrated into the guideline, for example in relation to goal differentiation. It is finally argued that multidisciplinary guidelines must also offer a hierarchy between those goals, i.e. a vision of the appropriate type of care and the order in which the various care components should be administered.
guidelines; mental health care; evidence-based mental health care
To explore the meaning of Iranian oncology nurses' experiences of caring for people at the end of life.
Materials and Methods:
A phenomenological hermeneutic approach was applied. Fifteen nurses working in oncology units were interviewed in 2007 regarding their experiences of caring for people at the end of life.
Participants experienced caring for people at the end of life as sharing space and time to be lost within an organizational context. This main theme was divided into three subthemes including being attentive to the dying persons and their families, being cared for by the dying persons and their families, and being faced with barriers.
The study suggests that the nurses' success in caring for people at the end of life is reliant on their interpersonal caring relationship. Facilitating such relationship requires the establishment of palliative care unit, incorporation of palliative care into undergraduate nursing studies, and cultural preparation through public education.
Caring for dying people; Lived experience; Iran; Oncology nurses; Palliative care
BACKGROUND: Although nursing, midwifery, and professions allied to medicine
are increasingly using clinical guidelines to reduce inappropriate
variations in practice and ensure higher quality care, there have been no
rigorous overviews of their effectiveness, 18 evaluations of guidelines
were identified that meet Cochrane criteria for scientific rigor. METHODS:
Guideline evaluations conducted since 1975 which used a randomised
controlled trial, controlled before and after, or interrupted time series
design were identified through a combination of database and hand
searching. RESULTS: 18 studies met the inclusion criteria. Three studies
evaluated guideline dissemination or implementation strategies, nine
compared use of a guideline with a no guideline state; six studies examined
skill substitution: performance of nurses operating according to a
guideline were compared with standard care, generally provided by a
physician. Significant changes in the process of care were found in six out
of eight studies measuring process and in which guidelines were expected to
have a positive impact on performance. In seven of the nine studies
measuring outcomes of care, significant differences in favour of the
intervention group were found. Skill substitution studies generally
supported the hypothesis of no difference between protocol driven by nurses
and care by a physician. Only one study included a formal economic
evaluation, with equivocal findings. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from the review
provide some evidence that care driven by a guideline can be effective in
changing the process and outcome of care. However, many studies fell short
of the criteria of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care
Group (EPOC) for methodological quality.
Translating guidelines into nursing practice remains a considerable challenge. Until now, little attention has been paid to which interventions are used in practice to implement guidelines on changing clinical nursing practice. This cross-sectional study determined the current ranges and rates of implementation-related interventions in Austria, Germany, and The Netherlands and explored possible differences between these countries. An online questionnaire based on the conceptual framework of implementation interventions (professional, organizational, financial, and regulatory) from the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care (EPOC) data collection checklist was used to gather data from nursing homes and hospitals. Provision of written materials is the most frequently used professional implementation intervention (85%), whereas changes in the patient record system rank foremost among organisational interventions (78%). Financial incentives for nurses are rarely used. More interventions were used in Austria and Germany than in The Netherlands (20.3/20.2/17.3). Professional interventions are used more frequently in Germany and financial interventions more frequently in The Netherlands. Implementation efforts focus mainly on professional and organisational interventions. Nurse managers and other responsible personnel should direct their focus to a broader array of implementation interventions using the four different categories of EPOC's conceptual framework.
Theories of behavior change indicate that an analysis of barriers to change is helpful when trying to influence professional practice. The aim of this study was to assess the perceived barriers to practice change by eliciting nurses' opinions with regard to barriers to, and facilitators of, implementation of a Fall Prevention clinical practice guideline in five acute care hospitals in Singapore.
Nurses were surveyed to identify their perceptions regarding barriers to implementation of clinical practice guidelines in their practice setting. The validated questionnaire, 'Barriers and facilitators assessment instrument', was administered to nurses (n = 1830) working in the medical, surgical, geriatric units, at five acute care hospitals in Singapore.
An 80.2% response rate was achieved. The greatest barriers to implementation of clinical practice guidelines reported included: knowledge and motivation, availability of support staff, access to facilities, health status of patients, and, education of staff and patients.
Numerous barriers to the use of the Fall Prevention Clinical Practice Guideline have been identified. This study has laid the foundation for further research into implementation of clinical practice guidelines in Singapore by identifying barriers to change in acute care settings.
Translating scientific evidence into daily practice is complex. Clinical guidelines can improve health care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in guideline adoption and implementation. Factors influencing the effective implementation of guidelines remain poorly understood. Understanding of barriers and facilitators is important for development of effective implementation strategies. The aim of this study was to determine perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation and clinical compliance to guidelines for depression in psychiatric care.
This qualitative study was conducted at two psychiatric clinics in Stockholm, Sweden. The implementation activities at one of the clinics included local implementation teams, seminars, regular feedback and academic detailing. The other clinic served as a control and only received guidelines by post. Data were collected from three focus groups and 28 individual, semi-structured interviews. Content analysis was used to identify themes emerging from the interview data.
The identified barriers to, and facilitators of, the implementation of guidelines could be classified into three major categories: (1) organizational resources, (2) health care professionals' individual characteristics and (3) perception of guidelines and implementation strategies. The practitioners in the implementation team and at control clinics differed in three main areas: (1) concerns about control over professional practice, (2) beliefs about evidence-based practice and (3) suspicions about financial motives for guideline introduction.
Identifying the barriers to, and facilitators of, the adoption of recommendations is an important way of achieving efficient implementation strategies. The findings of this study suggest that the adoption of guidelines may be improved if local health professionals actively participate in an ongoing implementation process and identify efficient strategies to overcome barriers on an organizational and individual level. Getting evidence into practice and implementing clinical guidelines are dependent upon more than practitioners' motivation. There are factors in the local context, e.g. culture and leadership, evaluation, feedback on performance and facilitation, -that are likely to be equally influential.
Little is known about the impact of implementing nursing-oriented best practice guidelines on the delivery of patient care in either hospital or community settings.
A naturalistic study with a prospective, before and after design documented the implementation of six newly developed nursing best practice guidelines (asthma, breastfeeding, delirium-dementia-depression (DDD), foot complications in diabetes, smoking cessation and venous leg ulcers). Eleven health care organisations were selected for a one-year project. At each site, clinical resource nurses (CRNs) worked with managers and a multidisciplinary steering committee to conduct an environmental scan and develop an action plan of activities (i.e. education sessions, policy review). Process and patient outcomes were assessed by chart audit (n = 681 pre-implementation, 592 post-implementation). Outcomes were also assessed for four of six topics by in-hospital/home interviews (n = 261 pre-implementation, 232 post-implementation) and follow-up telephone interviews (n = 152 pre, 121 post). Interviews were conducted with 83/95 (87%) CRN's, nurses and administrators to describe recommendations selected, strategies used and participants' perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation.
While statistically significant improvements in 5% to 83% of indicators were observed in each organization, more than 80% of indicators for breastfeeding, DDD and smoking cessation did not change. Statistically significant improvements were found in > 50% of indicators for asthma (52%), diabetes foot care (83%) and venous leg ulcers (60%). Organizations with > 50% improvements reported two unique implementation strategies which included hands-on skill practice sessions for nurses and the development of new patient education materials. Key facilitators for all organizations included education sessions as well as support from champions and managers while key barriers were lack of time, workload pressure and staff resistance.
Implementation of nursing best practice guidelines can result in improved practice and patient outcomes across diverse settings yet many indicators remained unchanged. Mobilization of the nursing workforce to actively implement guidelines and to monitor the delivery of their care is important so that patients may learn about and receive recommended healthcare.
Swedish health care authorities use three key criteria to produce national guidelines for local priority setting: severity of the health condition, expected patient benefit, and cost-effectiveness of medical intervention. Priority setting in primary health care (PHC) has significant implications for health costs and outcomes in the health care system. Nevertheless, these guidelines have been implemented to a very limited degree in PHC. The objective of the study was to qualitatively assess how general practitioners (GPs) and nurses perceive the application of the three key priority-setting criteria.
Focus groups were held with GPs and nurses at primary health care centres, where the staff had a short period of experience in using the criteria for prioritising in their daily work.
The staff found the three key priority-setting criteria (severity, patient benefit, and cost-effectiveness) to be valuable for priority setting in PHC. However, when the criteria were applied in PHC, three additional dimensions were identified: 1) viewpoint (medical or patient's), 2) timeframe (now or later), and 3) evidence level (group or individual).
The three key priority-setting criteria were useful. Considering the three additional dimensions might enhance implementation of national guidelines in PHC and is probably a prerequisite for the criteria to be useful in priority setting for individual patients.
Nurses play an integral role in providing care for patients with end of life (EOL) symptoms refractory to conventional treatments and that may necessitate palliative sedation (PS). A paucity of research on nurses' attitudes, knowledge, and experience with PS exists, despite nurses being instrumental in evaluating its appropriateness and carrying out the care plan.
The objective of the study was to elicit nurses' perspectives and conceptualizations of knowledge and skills needed to administer PS in order to inform development of a hospital policy that addresses identified concerns.
Four focus groups were conducted with nurses likely to have had exposure to PS (oncology, intensive care, and hospice) at an academic medical center. Focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and coded for salient themes. Grounded theory principles were used for the analysis.
Among the four focus groups (n=31), 87% were female, 58% between the ages of 36 and 55, and more than 40% reported 10-plus years of providing patient care. Five domains emerged as important in developing a PS policy: 1) ability to define PS; 2) criterion for using PS; 3) skill set for administering PS; 4) policy and procedural guidelines; and 5) education on PS and EOL care.
Nurses identified knowledge, skills, and guidelines as key considerations for implementing PS. Comprehensive policies along with adequate training are needed to expand the availability of PS in acute care hospitals and hospice programs.
To investigate how nurses and physicians perceive organizational culture, their integration into the organizational processes, and relations within a health care team.
We performed a cross-sectional study that included 106 physicians and 558 nurses from 14 Slovenian hospitals in December 2005. The hospitals were randomly selected. We distributed the questionnaires on the same day to physicians and nurses during a morning shift. The total number of distributed questionnaires represented a 20% of each personnel category at each hospital. The following variables were studied: organizational culture, integration of nurses and physicians in hospital processes, and subordination of nurses to physicians.
Physicians and nurses favored a culture of internal focus, stability, and control. Both groups estimated that they had a low level of personal involvement in their organizations and indicated insufficient involvement in work teams, while nurses also thought that they were subordinated to physicians (mean ± standard deviation, 3.6 ± 0.9 on a scale from 1 to 5) more than physicians thought so (2.7 ± 1.0; P<0.001). Control orientation correlated positively with the subordination of nurses (P<0.005) and negatively with personal integration in an organization (P<0.005).
We found out that subordination of nurses can be explained by market culture, level of personal involvement, and the level of education. Our research showed that the professional growth of nurses was mainly threatened by organizational factors such as hierarchy, control orientation, a lack of cooperation and team building between physicians and nurses, as well as insufficient inclusion of both physicians and nurses into change implementation activities.
To describe the experience and perceptions of nurse study participants regarding a communication intervention (training and communication tools) for use with nonspeaking, critically-ill patients.
Small focus groups and an individual interview were conducted with six critical care nurses. Transcripts were analysed using qualitative content analysis and constant comparison.
Two ICUs within a large, metropolitan medical centre in western Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Main Outcome Measures
Critical care nurses’ evaluations of (1) a basic communication skills training program (BCST) and (2) augmentative and alternative communication strategies (AAC) introduced during their study participation.
Six main categories were identified in the data: 1) communication value/perceived competence; 2) communication intention; 3) benefits of training; 4) barriers to implementation; 5) preferences/utilization of strategies; and 6) leading-following. Perceived value of and individual competence in communication with nonspeaking patients varied. Nurses prioritized communication about physical needs, but recognized complexity of other intended patient messages. Nurses evaluated the BCST as helpful in reinforcing basic communication strategies and found several new strategies effective. Advanced strategies received mixed reviews. Primary barriers to practice integration included patients’ mental status, time constraints, and the small proportion of nurses trained or knowledgeable about best patient communication practices in the ICU.
The results suggest that the communication skills training program could be valuable in reinforcing basic/intuitive communication strategies, assisting in the acquisition of new skills, and ensuring communication supply availability. Practice integration will likely require unit-wide interdisciplinary dissemination, expert modelling and reinforcement.
augmentative and alternative communication; patient communication; intensive care; critical care; communication training; nurses health knowledge; attitudes; practice