Lifestyle risk factors like smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity (SNAP) are the main behavioural risk factors for chronic disease. Primary health care is an appropriate setting to address these risk factors in individuals. Generalist community health nurses (GCHNs) are uniquely placed to provide lifestyle interventions as they see clients in their homes over a period of time. The aim of the paper is to examine the impact of a service-level intervention on the risk factor management practices of GCHNs.
The trial used a quasi-experimental design involving four generalist community nursing services in NSW, Australia. The services were randomly allocated to either an intervention group or control group. Nurses in the intervention group were provided with training and support in the provision of brief lifestyle assessments and interventions. The control group provided usual care. A sample of 129 GCHNs completed surveys at baseline, 6 and 12 months to examine changes in their practices and levels of confidence related to the management of SNAP risk factors. Six semi-structured interviews and four focus groups were conducted among the intervention group to explore the feasibility of incorporating the intervention into everyday practice.
Nurses in the intervention group became more confident in assessment and intervention over the three time points compared to their control group peers. Nurses in the intervention group reported assessing physical activity, weight and nutrition more frequently, as well as providing more brief interventions for physical activity, weight management and smoking cessation. There was little change in referral rates except for an improvement in weight management related referrals. Nurses’ perception of the importance of ‘client and system-related’ barriers to risk factor management diminished over time.
This study shows that the intervention was associated with positive changes in self-reported lifestyle risk factor management practices of GCHNs. Barriers to referral remained. The service model needs to be adapted to sustain these changes and enhance referral.
Primary health care; Community nursing; Lifestyle risk factor management; Barriers
The risk factors for chronic disease, smoking, poor nutrition, hazardous alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and weight (SNAPW) are common in primary health care (PHC) affording opportunity for preventive interventions. Community nurses are an important component of PHC in Australia. However there has been little research evaluating the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions in routine community nursing practice. This study aimed to address this gap in our knowledge.
The study was a quasi-experimental trial involving four generalist community nursing (CN) services in New South Wales, Australia. Two services were randomly allocated to an ‘early intervention’ and two to a ‘late intervention’ group. Nurses in the early intervention group received training and support in identifying risk factors and offering brief lifestyle intervention for clients. Those in the late intervention group provided usual care for the first 6 months and then received training. Clients aged 30–80 years who were referred to the services between September 2009 and September 2010 were recruited prior to being seen by the nurse and baseline self-reported data collected. Data on their SNAPW risk factors, readiness to change these behaviours and advice and referral received about their risk factors in the previous 3 months were collected at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Analysis compared changes using univariate and multilevel regression techniques.
804 participants were recruited from 2361 (34.1%) eligible clients. The proportion of clients who recalled receiving dietary or physical activity advice increased between baseline and 3 months in the early intervention group (from 12.9 to 23.3% and 12.3 to 19.1% respectively) as did the proportion who recalled being referred for dietary or physical activity interventions (from 9.5 to 15.6% and 5.8 to 21.0% respectively). There was no change in the late intervention group. There a shift towards greater readiness to change in those who were physically inactive in the early but not the comparison group. Clients in both groups reported being more physically active and eating more fruit and vegetables but there were no significant differences between groups at 6 months.
The study demonstrated that although the intervention was associated with increases in advice and referral for diet or physical activity and readiness for change in physical activity, this did not translate into significant changes in lifestyle behaviours or weight. This suggests a need to facilitate referral to more intensive long-term interventions for clients with risk factors identified by primary health care nurses.
Primary health care; Lifestyle behaviours; Smoking; Nutrition; Alcohol; Physical activity; Community nursing
Lifestyle risk factors, in particular smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity (SNAP) are the main behavioural risk factors for chronic disease. Primary health care (PHC) has been shown to be an effective setting to address lifestyle risk factors at the individual level. However much of the focus of research to date has been in general practice. Relatively little attention has been paid to the role of nurses working in the PHC setting. Community health nurses are well placed to provide lifestyle intervention as they often see clients in their own homes over an extended period of time, providing the opportunity to offer intervention and enhance motivation through repeated contacts. The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a brief lifestyle intervention delivered by community nurses in routine practice on changes in clients' SNAP risk factors.
The trial uses a quasi-experimental design involving four generalist community nursing services in NSW Australia. Services have been randomly allocated to an 'early intervention' group or 'late intervention' (comparison) group. 'Early intervention' sites are provided with training and support for nurses in identifying and offering brief lifestyle intervention for clients during routine consultations. 'Late intervention site' provide usual care and will be offered the study intervention following the final data collection point. A total of 720 generalist community nursing clients will be recruited at the time of referral from participating sites. Data collection consists of 1) telephone surveys with clients at baseline, three months and six months to examine change in SNAP risk factors and readiness to change 2) nurse survey at baseline, six and 12 months to examine changes in nurse confidence, attitudes and practices in the assessment and management of SNAP risk factors 3) semi-structured interviews/focus with nurses, managers and clients in 'early intervention' sites to explore the feasibility, acceptability and sustainability of the intervention.
The study will provide evidence about the effectiveness and feasibility of brief lifestyle interventions delivered by generalist community nurses as part of routine practice. This will inform future community nursing practice and PHC policy.
Despite the effectiveness of brief lifestyle intervention delivered in primary healthcare (PHC), implementation in routine practice remains suboptimal. Beliefs and attitudes have been shown to be associated with risk factor management practices, but little is known about the process by which clinicians' perceptions shape implementation. This study aims to describe a theoretical model to understand how clinicians' perceptions shape the implementation of lifestyle risk factor management in routine practice. The implications of the model for enhancing practices will also be discussed.
The study analysed data collected as part of a larger feasibility project of risk factor management in three community health teams in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. This included journal notes kept through the implementation of the project, and interviews with 48 participants comprising 23 clinicians (including community nurses, allied health practitioners and an Aboriginal health worker), five managers, and two project officers. Data were analysed using grounded theory principles of open, focused, and theoretical coding and constant comparative techniques to construct a model grounded in the data.
The model suggests that implementation reflects both clinician beliefs about whether they should (commitment) and can (capacity) address lifestyle issues. Commitment represents the priority placed on risk factor management and reflects beliefs about role responsibility congruence, client receptiveness, and the likely impact of intervening. Clinician beliefs about their capacity for risk factor management reflect their views about self-efficacy, role support, and the fit between risk factor management ways of working. The model suggests that clinicians formulate different expectations and intentions about how they will intervene based on these beliefs about commitment and capacity and their philosophical views about appropriate ways to intervene. These expectations then provide a cognitive framework guiding their risk factor management practices. Finally, clinicians' appraisal of the overall benefits versus costs of addressing lifestyle issues acts to positively or negatively reinforce their commitment to implementing these practices.
The model extends previous research by outlining a process by which clinicians' perceptions shape implementation of lifestyle risk factor management in routine practice. This provides new insights to inform the development of effective strategies to improve such practices.
In 2010 an internationally renowned American healthcare organisation partnered with Irish industry and higher education in Waterford with the goal to expand their telehealth services. Combining the skills and expertise of Nurse Consultants, Nurse Educators, IT Specialists and Healthcare Executives, these collaborative partnerships led to the delivery of telehealth services to North America from an Irish base, and to the development of new European telehealth programmes and telehealth training in Ireland. The telehealth service includes the provision of telephone triage, health information and advice, disease management and hospital discharge programmes to clients in Ireland, the UK and the USA. Telehealth nursing is an evolving specialty that requires the development of competence in key areas of information and communication technologies, assessment, triage and critical thinking in clinical decision-making within an environment where distance separates the nurse from the client.
Aims and objectives
The aim of this paper is to report on the development, implementation and evaluation of the telehealth service with a focus on the telephone triage and advice service and the hospital discharge programmes. Objectives of this paper include describing this telehealth initiative with reference to the changing nature of global healthcare provision; discuss the educational strategy and accredited programme for training competent telehealth nurses; report the results of the evaluation of nurse performance in telephone triage and present the data relating to the impact of hospital discharge programmes on patient satisfaction and readmission rates.
Methods and results
The evaluation of the telehealth training programme was undertaken six months post initial training and service commencement. One hundred triage and health information calls were reviewed, against best practice standards and programme learning outcomes, during a four-month period. Quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrates evidence of learning transfer from training to practice and the development of nurse competence from advanced beginner to levels of proficiency will be presented. The hospital discharge programmes have undergone continuous monitoring and reporting since commencement. This has enabled the collection of evidence that supports this brief telephone intervention as a method of reducing hopsital re-admissions and increasing patient satisfcation. Quantitative results will be presented and analysed in relation to the impact on patient satisfaction and readmission rates for patients discharged from cardiovascular, renal and digestive disease services.
This project has demonstrated the effectiveness of partnerships in healthcare, industry and education in achieving the development, implementation and evaluation of international telehealth services. Initial education, training and ongoing support and development of nurses is essential for quality telehealth provision. Weekly call review, constructive feedback and reflection on practice are effective strategies for performance assurance and improvement. As a growing element of integrated healthcare, telehealth modules should be included in pre and post-registration nursing education curricula. Further collaboration between industry, healthcare and education are necessary in moving the telehealth agenda forward for the benefit of integrating services that impact positively on service users.
telephone triage; hospital discharge programmes; partnerships
The Baby Friendly Hospital (Health) Initiative (BFHI) is a global initiative aimed at protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and is based on the ten steps to successful breastfeeding. Worldwide, over 20,000 health facilities have attained BFHI accreditation but only 77 Australian hospitals (approximately 23%) have received accreditation. Few studies have investigated the factors that facilitate or hinder implementation of BFHI but it is acknowledged this is a major undertaking requiring strategic planning and change management throughout an institution. This paper examines the perceptions of BFHI held by midwives and nurses working in one Area Health Service in NSW, Australia.
The study used an interpretive, qualitative approach. A total of 132 health professionals, working across four maternity units, two neonatal intensive care units and related community services, participated in 10 focus groups. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Three main themes were identified: 'Belief and Commitment'; 'Interpreting BFHI' and 'Climbing a Mountain'. Participants considered the BFHI implementation a high priority; an essential set of practices that would have positive benefits for babies and mothers both locally and globally as well as for health professionals. It was considered achievable but would take commitment and hard work to overcome the numerous challenges including a number of organisational constraints. There were, however, differing interpretations of what was required to attain BFHI accreditation with the potential that misinterpretation could hinder implementation. A model described by Greenhalgh and colleagues on adoption of innovation is drawn on to interpret the findings.
Despite strong support for BFHI, the principles of this global strategy are interpreted differently by health professionals and further education and accurate information is required. It may be that the current processes used to disseminate and implement BFHI need to be reviewed. The findings suggest that there is a contradiction between the broad philosophical stance and best practice approach of this global strategy and the tendency for health professionals to focus on the ten steps as a set of tasks or a checklist to be accomplished. The perceived procedural approach to implementation may be contributing to lower rates of breastfeeding continuation.
Baby Friendly Health Initiative; breastfeeding; midwifery; health services research; dissemination of innovation; translational research
With increasing rates of chronic disease associated with lifestyle behavioural risk factors, there is urgent need for intervention strategies in primary health care. Currently there is a gap in the knowledge of factors that influence the delivery of preventive strategies by General Practitioners (GPs) around interventions for smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption and physical activity (SNAP). This qualitative study explores the delivery of lifestyle behavioural risk factor screening and management by GPs within a 45–49 year old health check consultation. The aims of this research are to identify the influences affecting GPs' choosing to screen and choosing to manage SNAP lifestyle risk factors, as well as identify influences on screening and management when multiple SNAP factors exist.
A total of 29 audio-taped interviews were conducted with 15 GPs and one practice nurse over two stages. Transcripts from the interviews were thematically analysed, and a model of influencing factors on preventive care behaviour was developed using the Theory of Planned Behaviour as a structural framework.
GPs felt that assessing smoking status was straightforward, however some found assessing alcohol intake only possible during a formal health check. Diet and physical activity were often inferred from appearance, only being assessed if the patient was overweight. The frequency and thoroughness of assessment were influenced by the GPs' personal interests and perceived congruence with their role, the level of risk to the patient, the capacity of the practice and availability of time. All GPs considered advising and educating patients part of their professional responsibility. However their attempts to motivate patients were influenced by perceptions of their own effectiveness, with smoking causing the most frustration. Active follow-up and referral of patients appeared to depend on the GPs' orientation to preventive care, the patient's motivation, and cost and accessibility of services to patients.
General practitioner attitudes, normative influences from both patients and the profession, and perceived external control factors (time, cost, availability and practice capacity) all influence management of behavioural risk factors. Provider education, community awareness raising, support and capacity building may improve the uptake of lifestyle modification interventions.
Social and community service organisations (SCSOs) are non-government, not-for-profit organisations that provide welfare services to disadvantaged individuals. SCSOs hold considerable potential for providing smoking cessation support to disadvantaged smokers. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of smoking, interest in quitting and interest in receiving cessation support amongst clients accessing SCSOs.
Clients seeking financial or material assistance from three SCSOs in NSW, Australia, between February and October 2010 were invited to complete a 60-item general health touch screen computer survey. This included questions about smoking status, past quit attempts and interest in receiving support to quit smoking from SCSO staff.
A total of 552 clients were approached to participate during the study period, of which 383 provided consent and completed the survey (69% consent rate). Daily smoking was reported by 53.5% of participants. Occasional smoking (non-daily smoking) was reported by a further 7.9% of participants. Most participants had tried to quit smoking in the past (77%) and had made an average of two quit attempts (SD = 3.2) lasting longer than 24 hours in the previous 12 months. More than half of all participants (52.8%) reported that they would like help from SCSO staff to quit smoking. For those interested in receiving help, the preferred types of help were access to free NRT (77%), cash rewards (52%) and non-cash rewards (47%) for quitting, and to receive support and encouragement from SCSO staff to quit (45%).
Smoking rates among clients accessing SCSO are substantially higher than the general population rate of 15.1%. A substantial proportion of clients are interested in quitting and want support from the SCSO to do so.
In Australia, the Home and Community Care (HACC) program provides services in the community to frail elderly living at home and their carers. Surprisingly little is known about the health of people who use these services. In this study we sought to describe health-related factors associated with use of HACC services, and to identify potential opportunities for targeting preventive services to those at high risk.
We obtained questionnaire data from the 45 and Up Study for 103,041 men and women aged 45 years and over, sampled from the general population of New South Wales, Australia in 2006-2007, and linked this with administrative data about HACC service use. We compared the characteristics of HACC clients and non-clients according to a range of variables from the 45 and Up Study questionnaire, and estimated crude and adjusted relative risks for HACC use with generalized linear models.
4,978 (4.8%) participants used HACC services in the year prior to completing the questionnaire. Increasing age, female sex, lower pre-tax household income, not having a partner, not being in paid work, Indigenous background and living in a regional or remote location were strongly associated with HACC use. Overseas-born people and those speaking languages other than English at home were significantly less likely to use HACC services. People who were underweight, obese, sedentary, who reported falling in the past year, who were current smokers, or who ate little fruit or vegetables were significantly more likely to use HACC services. HACC service use increased with decreasing levels of physical functioning, higher levels of psychological distress, and poorer self-ratings of health, eyesight and memory. HACC clients were more likely to report chronic health conditions, in particular diabetes, stroke, Parkinson's disease, anxiety and depression, cancer, heart attack or angina, blood clotting problems, asthma and osteoarthritis.
HACC clients have high rates of modifiable lifestyle risk factors and health conditions that are amenable to primary and secondary prevention, presenting the potential for implementing preventive health care programs in the HACC service setting.
This study presents an analysis of the allocative efficiency of case managers for the community-based elderly in an environment in which case management and a range of home and community-based services were available and directly linked to a mandatory preadmission screening program for nursing home applicants. We collected data for a one-year follow-up period on client placement, health and functional status, informal support, and use of health and social services for clients in two urban and two rural counties that participated in the Minnesota Pre-Admission Screening/Alternative Care Grants Program (PAS/ACG). We found that among those receiving ACG-supported services, the relationship between variation in the level of support for home and community-based services and the length of time elderly clients remained in the community suggested that case managers were allocating home and community-based services in a reasonably efficient manner. This finding offers support for using case managers to target services to the elderly.
This article reports the long-range impact of a long-term home care program in Chicago on hospital and nursing home use and on overall health care costs over four client-years of observation. The evaluation utilized a quasi-experimental design with a comparison group composed of clients who received home-delivered meals. The health services utilization experience of consecutively accepted treatment (N = 157) and comparison group (N = 156) subjects was monitored for 48 client-months following acceptance to care. Imputed costs were then assigned to each type of care measured. Findings include a significantly lower risk of permanent admission to sheltered and intermediate-level nursing home care in the treatment group but no difference in risk of permanent admission to skilled-level nursing home care. Despite savings in low-intensity nursing home days, preliminary findings indicate that total costs of care were 25 percent higher in the treatment group. However, these costs are accompanied by significant quality-of-life benefits in the treatment group (reported elsewhere).
Smoking, poor nutrition, risky alcohol use, and physical inactivity are the primary behavioral risks for common causes of mortality and morbidity. Evidence and guidelines support routine clinician delivery of preventive care. Limited evidence describes the level delivered in community health settings. The objective was to determine the: prevalence of preventive care provided by community health clinicians; association between client and service characteristics and receipt of care; and acceptability of care. This will assist in informing interventions that facilitate adoption of opportunistic preventive care delivery to all clients.
In 2009 and 2010 a telephone survey was undertaken of 1284 clients across a network of 56 public community health facilities in one health district in New South Wales, Australia. The survey assessed receipt of preventive care (assessment, brief advice, and referral/follow-up) regarding smoking, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol overconsumption, and physical inactivity; and acceptability of care.
Care was most frequently reported for smoking (assessment: 59.9%, brief advice: 61.7%, and offer of referral to a telephone service: 4.5%) and least frequently for inadequate fruit or vegetable consumption (27.0%, 20.0% and 0.9% respectively). Sixteen percent reported assessment for all risks, 16.2% received brief advice for all risks, and 0.6% were offered a specific referral for all risks. The following were associated with increased care: diabetes services, number of appointments, being male, Aboriginal, unemployed, and socio-economically disadvantaged. Acceptability of preventive care was high (76.0%-95.3%).
Despite strong client support, preventive care was not provided opportunistically to all, and was preferentially provided to select groups. This suggests a need for practice change strategies to enhance preventive care provision to achieve adherence to clinical guidelines.
Community health services; Delivery of health care; Heath prevention; Health risk behaviors; Health care providers
There is variation in the decisions made by telephone assessment nurses using computerised decision support software (CDSS). Variation in nurses' attitudes to risk has been identified as a possible explanatory factor. This study was undertaken to explore the effect of nurses' attitudes to risk on the decisions they make when using CDSS. The setting was NHS 24 which is a nationwide telephone assessment service in Scotland in which nurses assess health problems, mainly on behalf of out-of-hours general practice, and triage calls to self care, a service at a later date, or immediate contact with a service.
All NHS 24 nurses were asked to complete a questionnaire about their background and attitudes to risk. Routine data on the decisions made by these nurses was obtained for a six month period in 2005. Multilevel modelling was used to measure the effect of nurses' risk attitudes on the proportion of calls they sent to self care rather than to services.
The response rate to the questionnaire was 57% (265/464). 231,112 calls were matched to 211 of these nurses. 16% (36,342/231,112) of calls were sent to self care, varying three fold between the top and bottom deciles of nurses. Fifteen risk attitude variables were tested, including items on attitudes to risk in clinical decision-making. Attitudes to risk varied greatly between nurses, for example 27% (71/262) of nurses strongly agreed that an NHS 24 nurse "must not take any risks with physical illness" while 17% (45/262) disagreed. After case-mix adjustment, there was some evidence that nurses' attitudes to risk affected decisions but this was inconsistent and unconvincing.
Much of the variation in decision-making by nurses using CDSS remained unexplained. There was no convincing evidence that nurses' attitudes to risk affected the decisions made. This may have been due to the limitations of the instrument used to measure risk attitude.
Among the challenges for rural communities and health services in Australia, climate change and increasing extreme heat are emerging as additional stressors. Effective public health responses to extreme heat require an understanding of the impact on health and well-being, and the risk or protective factors within communities. This study draws on lived experiences to explore these issues in eleven rural and remote communities across South Australia, framing these within a socio-ecological model. Semi-structured interviews with health service providers (n = 13), and a thematic analysis of these data, has identified particular challenges for rural communities and their health services during extreme heat. The findings draw attention to the social impacts of extreme heat in rural communities, the protective factors (independence, social support, education, community safety), and challenges for adaptation (vulnerabilities, infrastructure, community demographics, housing and local industries). With temperatures increasing across South Australia, there is a need for local planning and low-cost strategies to address heat-exacerbating factors in rural communities, to minimise the impact of extreme heat in the future.
adaptation; climate change; extreme heat; health services; public health; rural health
This paper is based on some of the findings of a demonstration project which undertook to measure the level of patient and participant satisfaction with community nursing service in a family practice unit, as one indicator of the feasibility of nurses and physicians practicing in a complementary fashion at the source of primary family health care. In addition, descriptive data concerning the characteristics of the community nursing role and the factors influencing its development were gathered concurrently.
A baccalaureate nurse gave family-centered nursing care, complementary to medical care, in a family practice unit. Methods of study were interviews with unit staff and a sample of 100 patients who had received community nursing service and review of patient records.
This project was supported by funds provided by the Department of National Health and Welfare, National Health Grant No. 606-20-14.
Underutilization of mental health care services has been a challenge for the health care providers for many years. This challenge could be met in part by improving the clients’ readiness to use such services. This study aimed to introduce the important aspects of the clients’ readiness to use mental health services in the Iranian context.
Materials and Methods:
A thematic analysis of in-depth interviews was undertaken using a constant comparative approach. Participants (11 health professionals consisting of 3 physicians, 7 nurses, 1 psychologist, and 5 patients/their family members) were recruited from educational hospitals affiliated with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. The credibility and trustworthiness was grounded on four aspects: factual value, applicability, consistency, and neutrality.
The study findings uncovered two important aspects of the clients’ readiness for utilizing mental health care services. These are described through two themes and related sub-themes: “The clients’ awareness” implies the cognitive aspect of readiness and “the clients’ attitudes” implies the psychological aspect of readiness, both of which have perceived to cultivate a fertile context through which the clients could access and use the mental health services more easily.
For the health care system in Isfahan, Iran to be successful in delivering mental health services, training programs directed to prepare service users should be considered. Improving the clients’ favorable attitudes and awareness should be considered.
Iran; mental health services; patients’ utilization
To determine the relative importance of medical and nonmedical factors influencing generalists’ decisions to refer, and of the factors that might avert unnecessary referrals.
Prospective survey of all referrals from generalists to subspecialists over a 5-month period.
University hospital outpatient clinics.
Fifty-seven staff physicians in general internal medicine, family medicine, dermatology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, and rheumatology.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
For each referral, the generalist rated a number of medical and nonmedical reasons for referral, as well as factors that may have helped avert the referral; the specialist seeing the patient then rated the appropriateness, timeliness, and complexity of the referral. Both physicians rated the potential avoidability of the referral by telephone consultation. Generalists were influenced by a combination of both medical and nonmedical reasons for 76% of the referrals, by only medical reasons in 20%, and by only nonmedical reasons in 3%. In 33% of all referrals, generalists felt that training in simple procedures or communication with a generalist or specialist colleague would have allowed them to avoid referral. Specialists felt that the vast majority of referrals were timely (as opposed to premature or delayed) and of average complexity. Although specialists rated most referrals as appropriate, 30% were rated as possibly appropriate or inappropriate. Generalists and specialists failed to agree on the avoidability of 34% of referrals.
Generalists made most referrals for a combination of medical and nonmedical reasons, and many referrals were considered avoidable. Increasing procedural training for generalists and enhancing informal channels of communication between generalists and subspecialists might result in more appropriate referrals at lower cost.
generalist; specialist; referral; outpatients
Previous Australian research has highlighted disparities in community perceptions of the threat posed by terrorism. A study with a large sample size is needed to examine reported concerns and anticipated responses of community sub-groups and to determine their consistency with existing Australian and international findings.
Representative samples of New South Wales (NSW) adults completed terrorism perception questions as part of computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI) in 2007 (N = 2081) and 2010 (N = 2038). Responses were weighted against the NSW population. Data sets from the two surveys were pooled and multivariate multilevel analyses conducted to identify health and socio-demographic factors associated with higher perceived risk of terrorism and evacuation response intentions, and to examine changes over time.
In comparison with 2007, Australians in 2010 were significantly more likely to believe that a terrorist attack would occur in Australia (Adjusted Odd Ratios (AOR) = 1.24, 95%CI:1.06-1.45) but felt less concerned that they would be directly affected by such an incident (AOR = 0.65, 95%CI:0.55-0.75). Higher perceived risk of terrorism and related changes in living were associated with middle age, female gender, lower education and higher reported psychological distress. Australians of migrant background reported significantly lower likelihood of terrorism (AOR = 0.52, 95%CI:0.39-0.70) but significantly higher concern that they would be personally affected by such an incident (AOR = 1.57, 95%CI:1.21-2.04) and having made changes in the way they live due to this threat (AOR = 2.47, 95%CI:1.88-3.25). Willingness to evacuate homes and public places in response to potential incidents increased significantly between 2007 and 2010 (AOR = 1.53, 95%CI:1.33-1.76).
While an increased proportion of Australians believe that the national threat of terrorism remains high, concern about being personally affected has moderated and may reflect habituation to this threat. Key sub-groups remain disproportionately concerned, notably those with lower education and migrant groups. The dissonance observed in findings relating to Australians of migrant background appears to reflect wider socio-cultural concerns associated with this issue. Disparities in community concerns regarding terrorism-related threat require active policy consideration and specific initiatives to reduce the vulnerabilities of known risk groups, particularly in the aftermath of future incidents.
Terrorism; threat perception; habituation; ethnicity; education; psychological distress
A public health nurse, as a generalist in community health service, can complement the functions of the family physician in providing family-centred health care. The study describes the families referred over an 18-month period and the kinds of services rendered by the public health nurse.
Barbara Milne and Jane Buchan are nurses at the St. Joseph's Hospital Family Medical Centre, London, Ont. Dr. Williams teaches in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and the Department of Sociology at the same university, where he is also a part time teacher in the Department of Family Medicine.
Healthy couple relationships are fundamental to a healthy society, whereas relationship breakdown and discord are linked to a wide range of negative health and wellbeing outcomes. Two types of relationship services (couple counselling and relationship education) have demonstrated efficacy in many controlled studies but evidence of the effectiveness of community-based relationship services has lagged behind. This study protocol describes an effectiveness evaluation of the two types of community-based relationship services. The aims of the Evaluation of Couple Counselling study are to: map the profiles of clients seeking agency-based couple counselling and relationship enhancement programs in terms of socio-demographic, relationship, health, and health service use indicators; to determine 3 and 12-month outcomes for relationship satisfaction, commitment, and depression; and determine relative contributions of client and therapy factors to outcomes.
A quasi-experimental pre-post-post evaluation design is used to assess outcomes for couples presenting for the two types of community-based relationship services. The longitudinal design involves a pre-treatment survey and two follow-up surveys at 3- and 12-months post-intervention. The study is set in eight Relationships Australia Victoria centres, across metropolitan, outer suburbs, and regional/rural sites. Relationships Australia, a non-government organisation, is the largest provider of couple counselling and relationship services in Australia. The key outcomes are couple satisfaction, relationship commitment, and depression measured by the CESD-10. Multi-level modelling will be used to account for the dyadic nature of couple data.
The study protocol describes the first large scale investigation of the effectiveness of two types of relationship services to be conducted in Australia. Its significance lies in providing more detailed profiles of couples who seek relationship services, in evaluating both 3 and 12-month relationship and health outcomes, and in determining factors that best predict improvements. It builds on prior research by using a naturalistic sample, an effectiveness research design, a more robust measure of relationship satisfaction, robust health indicators, a 12-month follow-up period, and a more rigorous statistical procedure suitable for dyadic data. Findings will provide a more precise description of those seeking relationship services and factors associated with improved relationship and health outcomes.
Couple counselling; Relationship education; Marital satisfaction; Relationship commitment; Depression; Effectiveness; Health outcomes; Community services
Occupational health nursing has become an increasingly important specialty in the field of nursing during this century. In the broadest concept, occupational health is concerned with all factors which influence the health of people at work. Nurses, as well as other health care professionals, are attempting to apply the evolving technology of the computer to direct client care applications in the workplace. One such relevant use of the computer has been that of targeted disease surveillance in an occupational health setting. This paper will address the process utilized by community health nurses to assess, plan, implement and evaluate a computerized disease surveillance program in an occupational health setting. The program was a joint effort between the United States Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Irwin, California and the Epidemiology Consultant Service of the Division of Preventive Medicine, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC. (WRAIR).
People with severe mental illnesses (SMI) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Clinical guidelines recommend regular screening for CVD risk factors. We evaluated a nurse led intervention to improve screening rates across the primary-secondary care interface.
Six community mental health teams (CMHTs) were randomised to receive either the nurse led intervention plus education pack (n = 3) or education pack only (n = 3). Intervention (6 months): The nurse promoted CVD screening in primary care and then in CMHTs. Patients who remained unscreened were offered screening by the nurse. After the intervention participants with SMI were recruited from each CMHT to collect outcome data. Main outcome: Numbers screened during the six months, confirmed in General Practice notes.
All six CMHTs approached agreed to randomisation. 121 people with SMI participated in outcome interviews during two waves of recruitment (intervention arm n = 59, control arm n = 62). Participants from both arms of the trial had similar demographic profiles and rates of previous CVD screening in the previous year, with less than 20% having been screened for each risk factor. After the trial, CVD screening had increased in both arms but participants from the intervention arm were significantly more likely to have received screening for blood pressure (96% vs 68%; adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) 13.6; 95% CI: 3.5-38.4), cholesterol (66.7% vs 26.9%, OR 6.1; 3.2-11.5), glucose (66.7% vs 36.5% OR 4.4; 2.7-7.1), BMI (92.5% vs 65.2% OR 6.5; 2.1-19.6), and smoking status (88.2% vs 57.8% OR 5.5; 3.2-9.5) and have a 10 year CVD risk score calculated (38.2% vs 10.9%) OR 5.2 1.8-15.3). Within the intervention arm approximately half the screening was performed in general practice and half by the trial nurse.
The nurse-led intervention was superior, resulting in an absolute increase of approximately 30% more people with SMI receiving screening for each CVD risk factor. The feasibility of the trial was confirmed in terms of CMHT recruitment and the intervention, but the response rate for outcome collection was disappointing; possibly a result of the cluster design. The trial was not large or long enough to detect changes in risk factors.
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Registration Number (ISRCTRN) 58625025.
The Health Improvement and Prevention Study (HIPS) study aims to evaluate the capacity of general practice to identify patients at high risk for developing vascular disease and to reduce their risk of vascular disease and diabetes through behavioural interventions delivered in general practice and by the local primary care organization.
HIPS is a stratified randomized controlled trial involving 30 general practices in NSW, Australia. Practices are randomly allocated to an 'intervention' or 'control' group. General practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) are offered training in lifestyle counselling and motivational interviewing as well as practice visits and patient educational resources. Patients enrolled in the trial present for a health check in which the GP and PN provide brief lifestyle counselling based on the 5As model (ask, assess, advise, assist, and arrange) and refer high risk patients to a diet education and physical activity program. The program consists of two individual visits with a dietician or exercise physiologist and four group sessions, after which patients are followed up by the GP or PN. In each practice 160 eligible patients aged between 40 and 64 years are invited to participate in the study, with the expectation that 40 will be eligible and willing to participate. Evaluation data collection consists of (1) a practice questionnaire, (2) GP and PN questionnaires to assess preventive care attitudes and practices, (3) patient questionnaire to assess self-reported lifestyle behaviours and readiness to change, (4) physical assessment including weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure, (5) a fasting blood test for glucose and lipids, (6) a clinical record audit, and (7) qualitative data collection. All measures are collected at baseline and 12 months except the patient questionnaire which is also collected at 6 months. Study outcomes before and after the intervention is compared between intervention and control groups after adjusting for baseline differences and clustering at the level of the practice.
This study will provide evidence of the effectiveness of a primary care intervention to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in general practice patients. It will inform current policies and programs designed to prevent these conditions in Australian primary health care.
The channeling demonstration sought to substitute community care for nursing home care through comprehensive case management and expanded community services. The channeling intervention was implemented largely according to design. Although the population served was, as intended, extremely frail, it turned out not to be at high risk of nursing home placement. The costs of the additional case management and community services--provided in most cases to clients who would not have entered nursing homes even without channeling--were not offset by reductions in the cost of nursing home use. Hence, total costs increased. The expanded formal community care did not, however, result in a substantial reduction in informal caregiving. Moreover, channeling benefited clients, and the family and friends who cared for them, in several ways: increased services, reduced unmet needs, increased confidence in receipt of care and satisfaction with arrangements for it, and increased satisfaction with life. Expansion of case management and community services beyond what already exists, then, must be justified on the basis not of cost savings but of benefits to clients and their caregivers.
Objective. To integrate pharmacy education into a diabetes and hypertension screening program to improve pharmacy student disease knowledge and screening skills and provide a valuable service to the community.
Methods. One hundred eighty third-year PharmD students were trained and subsequently screened people aged ≥35 years in 2 Thai communities. Those with high risk factors were encouraged to see a pharmacist or nurse for further evaluation and referral to a physician for diagnosis.
Results. After training, the third-year students showed significantly higher knowledge scores on diabetes and hypertension than a control group of second-year students (p<0.05). More than 80% of the third-year students were rated by pharmacist observers as having good community screening skills. More than 95% of community participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the screening session. The active screening program improved the screening coverage in the targeted communities from 41 people/month under the passive screening program to 127 people/month and improved the coverage rate over a 6-month period from 24% to 73%.
Conclusion. This active screening project by pharmacy students enhanced the health knowledge and awareness of members of the targeted communities and increased pharmacy students’ knowledge of and ability to screen for hypertension and diabetes.
pharmacy education; diabetes; hypertension; screening; service learning