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1.  Nursing home staff’s views on residents’ dignity: a qualitative interview study 
Background
Maintaining dignity is an important element of end-of-life care and also of the care given in nursing homes. Factors influencing personal dignity have been studied from both nursing home residents’ and staff’s perspective. Little is however known about the way nursing home staff perceive and promote the personal dignity of individual residents in daily practice, or about staff’s experiences with preserving dignity within the nursing home. The aim of this study is to gain more insight in this.
Methods
A qualitative descriptive interview study was designed, in which in-depth interviews were performed with 13 physicians and 15 nurses. They expressed their views on the personal dignity of 30 recently admitted nursing home residents on the general medical wards of four nursing homes in The Netherlands. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed following the principles of thematic analysis.
Results
According to both physicians and nurses, physical impairment and being dependent on others threatened the residents’ dignity. Whether or not this led to a violation of an individual resident’s dignity, depended - in staff’s opinion - on the resident’s ability to show resilience and to keep his/her individuality. Staff mentioned treating residents with respect and taking care of their privacy as most important elements of dignity-conserving care and strived to treat the residents as they would like to be treated themselves. They could often mention aspects that were important for a particular resident’s dignity. But, when asked what they could contribute to a particular resident’s dignity, they often mentioned general aspects of dignity-conserving care, which could apply to most nursing home residents. By attempting to give dignity-conserving care, physicians and nurses often experienced conflicting values in daily care and barriers caused by the lack of resources.
Conclusions
Tailoring dignity-conserving care to an individual nursing home resident appears hard to bring about in daily practice. Both attention to solve contextual barriers within the nursing home as well as more awareness of staff members for their own values, which they take as a reference point in treating residents, is needed to promote personal dignity in the nursing home setting.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-353
PMCID: PMC3850947  PMID: 24041222
Dignity; Elderly care physicians; End-of-life issues; Interviews; Nurses; Nursing home; Older people
2.  Complementary medicine in nursing homes - results of a mixed methods pilot study 
Background
‘Kneipp Therapy’ (KT) is a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that includes a combination of hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, mind-body medicine, physical activities, and healthy eating. Since 2007, some nursing homes for older adults in Germany began to integrate CAM in the form of KT in care. The study investigated how KT is used in daily routine care and explored the health status of residents and caregivers involved in KT.
Methods
We performed a cross-sectional pilot study with a mixed methods approach that collected both quantitative and qualitative data in four German nursing homes in 2011. Assessments in the quantitative component included the Quality of Life in Dementia (QUALIDEM), the Short Form 12 Health Survey (SF-12), the Barthel-Index for residents and the Work Ability Index (WAI) and SF-12 for caregivers. The qualitative component addressed the residents’ and caregivers’ subjectively experienced changes after integration of KT. It was conceptualized as an ethnographic rapid appraisal by conducting participant observation and semi-structured interviews in two of the four nursing homes.
Results
The quantitative component included 64 residents (53 female, 83.2 ± 8.1 years (mean and SD)) and 29 caregivers (all female, 42.0 ± 11.7 years). Residents were multimorbid (8 ± 3 diagnoses), and activities of daily living were restricted (Barthel-Index 60.6 ± 24.4). The caregivers’ results indicated good work ability (WAI 37.4 ± 5.1), health related quality of life was superior to the German sample (SF-12 physical CSS 49.2 ± 8.0; mental CSS 54.1 ± 6.6). Among both caregivers and residents, 89% considered KT to be positive for well-being.
The qualitative analysis showed that caregivers perceived emotional and functional benefits from more content and calmer residents, a larger variety in basic care practices, and a more self-determined scope of action. Residents reported gains in attention and caring, and recognition of their lay knowledge.
Conclusion
Residents showed typical characteristics of nursing home inhabitants. Caregivers demonstrated good work ability. Both reported to have benefits from KT. The results provide a good basis for future projects, e.g. controlled studies to evaluate the effects of CAM in nursing homes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-443
PMCID: PMC4246522  PMID: 25391537
Hydrotherapy; Kneipp; Complementary and alternative medicine; Elderly care; Nursing homes; Mixed methods research
3.  How nurses and their work environment affect patient experiences of the quality of care: a qualitative study 
Background
Healthcare organisations monitor patient experiences in order to evaluate and improve the quality of care. Because nurses spend a lot of time with patients, they have a major impact on patient experiences. To improve patient experiences of the quality of care, nurses need to know what factors within the nursing work environment are of influence. The main focus of this research was to comprehend the views of Dutch nurses on how their work and their work environment contribute to positive patient experiences.
Methods
A descriptive qualitative research design was used to collect data. Four focus groups were conducted, one each with 6 or 7 registered nurses in mental health care, hospital care, home care and nursing home care. A total of 26 nurses were recruited through purposeful sampling. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis.
Results
The nurses mentioned essential elements that they believe would improve patient experiences of the quality of nursing care: clinically competent nurses, collaborative working relationships, autonomous nursing practice, adequate staffing, control over nursing practice, managerial support and patient-centred culture. They also mentioned several inhibiting factors, such as cost-effectiveness policy and transparency goals for external accountability. Nurses feel pressured to increase productivity and report a high administrative workload. They stated that these factors will not improve patient experiences of the quality of nursing care.
Conclusions
According to participants, a diverse range of elements affect patient experiences of the quality of nursing care. They believe that incorporating these elements into daily nursing practice would result in more positive patient experiences. However, nurses work in a healthcare context in which they have to reconcile cost-efficiency and accountability with their desire to provide nursing care that is based on patient needs and preferences, and they experience a conflict between these two approaches. Nurses must gain autonomy over their own practice in order to improve patient experiences.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-249
PMCID: PMC4064111  PMID: 24923663
Patient experiences; Quality improvement; Nurses; Nursing work environment
4.  Determinants of staff job satisfaction of caregivers in two nursing homes in Pennsylvania 
Background
Job satisfaction is important for nursing home staff and nursing home management, as it is associated with absenteeism, turnover, and quality of care. However, we know little about factors associated with job satisfaction and dissatisfaction for nursing home workers.
Methods
In this investigation, we use data from 251 caregivers (i.e., Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Nurse Aides) to examine: job satisfaction scores of these caregivers and what characteristics of these caregivers are associated with job satisfaction. The data were collected from two nursing homes over a two and a half year period with five waves of data collection at six-month intervals. The Job Description Index was used to collect job satisfaction data.
Results
We find that, overall nursing home caregivers are satisfied with the work and coworkers, but are less satisfied with promotional opportunities, superiors, and compensation. From exploratory factor analysis three domains represented the data, pay, management, and work. Nurse aides appear particularly sensitive to the work domain. Of significance, we also find that caregivers who perceived the quality of care to be high have higher job satisfaction on all three domains than those who do not.
Conclusion
These results may be important in guiding caregiver retention initiatives in nursing homes. The finding for quality may be especially important, and indicates that nursing homes that improve their quality may have a positive impact on job satisfaction of staff, and thereby reduce their turnover rates.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-60
PMCID: PMC1524956  PMID: 16723022
5.  Serious Mental Illness and Nursing Home Quality of Care 
Health services research  2012;48(4):1279-1298.
Objective
To estimate the effect of a nursing home’s share of residents with a serious mental illness (SMI) on the quality of care.
Data Sources
Secondary nursing home-level data over the period 2000 through 2008 obtained from the Minimum Data Set, OSCAR, and Medicare claims.
Study Design
We employ an instrumental variables approach to address the potential endogeneity of the share of SMI residents in nursing homes in a model including nursing home and year fixed effects.
Principal Findings
An increase in the share of SMI nursing home residents positively affected the hospitalization rate among non-SMI residents and negatively affected staffing skill mix and level. We did not observe a statistically significant effect on inspection-based health deficiencies or the hospitalization rate for SMI residents.
Conclusions
Across the majority of indicators, a greater SMI share resulted in lower nursing home quality. Given the increased prevalence of nursing home residents with SMI, policymakers and providers will need to adjust practices in the context of this new patient population. Reforms may include more stringent preadmission screening, new regulations, reimbursement changes, and increased reporting and oversight.
doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12023
PMCID: PMC3703484  PMID: 23278400
Mental illness; nursing home; quality; instrumental variables
6.  Effects of Nursing Practice Environments on Quality Outcomes in Nursing Homes 
The objective of this study was to determine whether nurse staffing levels and modifiable characteristics of the nursing practice environment are associated with important quality indicators represented by the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers and numbers of deficiency citations in nursing homes. A cross-sectional design linked nurse survey data, aggregated to the facility level, with Nursing Home Compare, a publicly available federal database containing nursing home–level measures of quality. The facility sample consisted of 63 Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes in New Jersey, and the nurse survey sample comprised 340 registered nurses providing direct resident care. Characteristics of the practice environment were measured using the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index, included in the nurse survey. The total number of deficiency citations, the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers, nurse staffing levels, and facility characteristics were extracted from the Nursing Home Compare database. Results indicated that a supportive practice environment was inversely associated with the percentage of residents with pressure ulcers and fully mediated the effect of profit status on this important outcome. The nursing practice environment and facility size explained 25% of the variance in quality deficiencies. There were no associations between staffing levels and quality indicators. Findings indicate that administrative initiatives to create environments that support nursing practice may hold promise for improving quality indicators in nursing homes.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03162.x
PMCID: PMC3392023  PMID: 21054327
nursing homes; nursing practice environment; quality
7.  Effect of prospective reimbursement on nursing home costs. 
Health Services Research  1993;28(1):45-68.
OBJECTIVE. This study evaluates the effect of Maine's Medicaid nursing home prospective payment system on nursing home costs and access to care for public patients. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING. The implementation of a facility-specific prospective payment system for nursing homes provided the opportunity for longitudinal study of the effect of that system. Data sources included audited Medicaid nursing home cost reports, quality-of-care data from state facility survey and licensure files, and facility case-mix information from random, stratified samples of homes and residents. Data were obtained for six years (1979-1985) covering the three-year period before and after implementation of the prospective payment system. STUDY DESIGN. This study used a pre-post, longitudinal analytical design in which interrupted, time-series regression models were estimated to test the effects of prospective payment and other factors, e.g., facility characteristics, nursing home market factors, facility case mix, and quality of care, on nursing home costs. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS. Prospective payment contributed to an estimated $3.03 decrease in total variable costs in the third year from what would have been expected under the previous retrospective cost-based payment system. Responsiveness to payment system efficiency incentives declined over the study period, however, indicating a growing problem in achieving further cost reductions. Some evidence suggested that cost reductions might have reduced access for public patients. CONCLUSIONS. Study findings are consistent with the results of other studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of prospective payment systems in restraining nursing home costs. Potential policy trade-offs among cost containment, access, and quality assurance deserve further consideration, particularly by researchers and policymakers designing the new generation of case mix-based and other nursing home payment systems.
PMCID: PMC1069921  PMID: 8463109
8.  Distance Coursework and Coaching to Improve Nursing Home Incontinence Care: Lessons Learned 
Objectives
To determine whether a distance coaching course on improving nursing home incontinence care could be replicated and brought to scale with a larger group of nursing homes without sacrificing outcomes.
Design
The study collected descriptive and comparative data.
Setting
The setting was comprised of 14 nursing homes in the original course and 34 homes in the replication course.
Participants
Participants in the study were supervisors and staff from enrolled nursing homes who completed the distance coaching courses on incontinence management.
Measures
Data for both courses were collected using a resident assessment form to evaluate implementation of new practices, pre- and post-training quizzes, a course evaluation survey, and a supervisor’s report.
Results
There were few significant differences between the course groups with respect to course participation, knowledge transfer, and training program preferences. Although course 1 nursing homes reported assessing more residents on average than course 2 homes (22 residents vs. 12 residents, respectively), this difference is likely an artifact of differences in the reporting methodologies for the two courses.
Conclusion
This study found qualified support for using a distance coaching course to facilitate adoption of evidence-based incontinence care practices in nursing homes. The findings also underscore the challenges associated with designing dissemination/implementation programs that are both effective and feasible to implement with nursing homes. We recommend that nursing home educators consider this study’s findings when designing new training programs. Outcomes may improve if some dissemination resources are diverted to distance coaching activities that support nursing home improvement efforts over extended periods.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03939.x
PMCID: PMC3375042  PMID: 22642640
Nursing home; dissemination; incontinence care; translational research
9.  The critical elements of effective academic-practice partnerships: a framework derived from the Department of Veterans Affairs Nursing Academy 
BMC Nursing  2014;13(1):183.
Background
The nursing profession is exploring how academic-practice partnerships should be structured to maximize the potential benefits for each partner. As part of an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Nursing Academy (VANA) program, we sought to identify indicators of successful partnerships during the crucial first year.
Methods
We conducted a qualitative analysis of 142 individual interviews and 23 focus groups with stakeholders from 15 partnerships across the nation. Interview respondents typically included the nursing school Dean, the VA chief nurse, both VANA Program Directors (VA-based and nursing school-based), and select VANA faculty members. The focus groups included a total of 222 VANA students and the nursing unit managers and staff from units where VANA students were placed. An ethnographic approach was utilized to identify emergent themes from these data that underscored indicators of and influences on Launch Year achievement.
Results
We emphasize five key themes: the criticality of inter-organizational collaboration; challenges arising from blending different cultures; challenges associated with recruiting nurses to take on faculty roles; the importance of structuring the partnership to promote evidence-based practice and simulation-based learning in the clinical setting; and recognizing that stable relationships must be based on long-term commitments rather than short-term changes in the demand for nursing care.
Conclusions
Developing an academic-clinical partnership requires identifying how organizations with different leadership and management structures, different responsibilities, goals and priorities, different cultures, and different financial models and accountability systems can bridge these differences to develop joint programs integrating activities across the organizations. The experience of the VANA sites in implementing academic-clinical partnerships provides a broad set of experiences from which to learn about how such partnerships can be effectively implemented, the barriers and challenges that will be encountered, and strategies and factors to overcome challenges and build an effective, sustainable partnership. This framework provides actionable guidelines for structuring and implementing effective academic-practice partnerships that support undergraduate nursing education.
doi:10.1186/s12912-014-0036-8
PMCID: PMC4279967  PMID: 25550686
10.  Nursing Home Care Quality: Insights From a Bayesian Network Approach 
The Gerontologist  2008;48(3):338-348.
Purpose
The purpose of this research is twofold. The first purpose is to utilize a new methodology (Bayesian networks) for aggregating various quality indicators to measure the overall quality of care in nursing homes. The second is to provide new insight into the relationships that exist among various measures of quality and how such measures affect the overall quality of nursing home care as measured by the Observable Indicators of Nursing Home Care Quality Instrument. In contrast to many methods used for the same purpose, our method yields both qualitative and quantitative insight into nursing home care quality.
Design and Methods
We construct several Bayesian networks to study the influences among factors associated with the quality of nursing home care; we compare and measure their accuracy against other predictive models.
Results
We find the best Bayesian network to perform better than other commonly used methods. We also identify key factors, including number of certified nurse assistant hours, prevalence of bedfast residents, and prevalence of daily physical restraints, that significantly affect the quality of nursing home care. Furthermore, the results of our analysis identify their probabilistic relationships.
Implications
The findings of this research indicate that nursing home care quality is most accurately represented through a mix of structural, process, and outcome measures of quality. We also observe that the factors affecting the quality of nursing home care collectively determine the overall quality. Hence, focusing on only key factors without addressing other related factors may not substantially improve the quality of nursing home care.
PMCID: PMC3254214  PMID: 18591359
Bayesian networks; Nurse staffing; Nursing home quality; Occupancy rate; Quality indicators
11.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
12.  The nature of nursing practice in rural and remote areas of Greenland 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20964.
Background
The Greenlandic Healthcare Reform (2010) required improved quality of services for health promotion, prevention of infectious and lifestyle diseases, family nursing and evidence-based clinical nursing.
Aim
To investigate current nursing practice in Greenland and to identify whether it meets the requirements of healthcare reform.
Design
This ethnographic study utilised documentary analysis, participant observation and qualitative interviewing carried out in remote areas of Greenland during 2011–2012. Eight registered nurses, four women and four men, aged between 35 and 55, participated in this study. Four were working at healthcare centres in towns and four were working at nursing stations in villages. The nurses were educated in Greenland or a Nordic country and had been practicing nursing for at least 2 years in an Arctic region. They were observed for 1–5 days, and subsequently interviewed. Interviews included in-depth questioning, based on emerging outcomes from observation. Interviews were recorded and transcribed; they were analysed within a phenomenological–hermeneutic approach.
Results
Nurses in rural and remote areas navigate their health promotion and preventive work with conflict between health strategies and everyday realities, where unpredictable tasks often lead to prioritisation of urgent, acute work. There is interaction between personal and professional skills. Everyday life is characterised by opportunities and challenges in the grey areas, namely nursing, medical and social work.
Conclusion
The nature of nursing practice in rural and remote Greenland is characterised by a high degree of variability and complexity, with a requirement for a wide range of knowledge and skills. Nurses need to be better prepared with regard to acute medical care, preventive care, social work, humanistic approaches and information technology to implement the ideology of health strategies.
doi:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20964
PMCID: PMC3753139  PMID: 23984291
Ethnographic study; Greenland; nursing practice; remote and rural areas
13.  Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-Term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective of Analysis
The objective of this analysis was to review empirical qualitative research on the experiences of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), informal caregivers (“carers”), and health care providers—from the point of diagnosis, through daily living and exacerbation episodes, to the end of life.
Clinical Need and Target Population
Qualitative empirical studies (from social sciences, clinical, and related fields) can offer important information about how patients experience their condition. This exploration of the qualitative literature offers insights into patients’ perspectives on COPD, their needs, and how interventions might affect their experiences. The experiences of caregivers are also explored.
Research Question
What do patients with COPD, their informal caregivers (“carers”), and health care providers experience over the course of COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
Literature searches for studies published from January 1, 2000, to November 2010 were performed on November 29, 2010, using OVID MEDLINE; on November 26, 2010, using ISI Web of Science; and on November 28, 2010, using EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). Titles and abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. One additional report, highly relevant to the synthesis, appeared in early 2011 during the drafting of this analysis and was included post hoc.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language full reports
studies published between January 1, 2000, and November 2010
primary qualitative empirical research (using any descriptive or interpretive qualitative methodology, including the qualitative component of mixed-methods studies) and secondary syntheses of primary qualitative empirical research
studies addressing any aspect of the experiences of living or dying with COPD from the perspective of persons at risk, patients, health care providers, or informal carers; studies addressing multiple conditions were included if COPD was addressed explicitly
Exclusion Criteria
studies addressing topics other than the experiences of living or dying with COPD from the perspective of persons at risk, patients, health care providers, or informal carers
studies labelled “qualitative” but not using a qualitative descriptive or interpretive methodology (e.g., case studies, experiments, or observational analysis using qualitative categorical variables)
quantitative research (i.e., using statistical hypothesis testing, using primarily quantitative data or analyses, or expressing results in quantitative or statistical terms)
studies that did not pose an empirical research objective or question, or involve the primary or secondary analysis of empirical data
Outcomes of Interest
qualitative descriptions and interpretations (narrative or theoretical) of personal and social experiences of COPD
Summary of Findings
Experiences at Diagnosis
Patients typically seek initial treatment for an acute episode rather than for chronic early symptoms of COPD.
Many patients initially misunderstand terms such as COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or exacerbation.
Patients may not realize that COPD is incurable and fatal; some physicians themselves do not consider early COPD to be a fatal disease.
Smokers may not readily understand or agree with the idea that smoking caused or worsens their COPD. Those who believe there is a causal link may feel regret or shame.
Experiences of Living Day to Day
COPD patients experience alternating good days and bad days. A roller-coaster pattern of ups and downs becomes apparent, and COPD becomes a way of life.
Patients use many means (social, psychological, medical, organizational) to control what they can, and to cope with what they cannot. Economic hardship, comorbidities, language barriers, and low health literacy can make coping more difficult.
Increasing vulnerability and unpredictable setbacks make patients dependent on others for practical assistance, but functional limitations, institutional living or self-consciousness can isolate patients from the people they need.
For smokers, medical advice to quit can conflict with increased desire to smoke as a coping strategy.
Many of the factors that isolate COPD patients from social contact also isolate them from health care.
Experiences of Exacerbations
Patients may not always attribute repeated exacerbations to advancing disease, instead seeing them as temporary setbacks caused by activities, environmental factors, faltering self-management, or infection.
Lack of confidence in community-based services leads some patients to seek hospital admission, but patients also feel vulnerable when hospitalized. They may feel dependent on others for care or traumatized by hospital care routines.
Upon hospital discharge following an exacerbation, patients may face new levels of uncertainty about their illness, prognosis, care providers, and supports.
Experiences of the End of Life
Patients tend to be poorly informed about the long-term prognosis of COPD and what to expect toward the end of life; this lack of understanding impairs quality of life as the disease progresses.
As the end of life approaches, COPD patients face the usual challenges of daily living, but in a context of increasing exacerbations and deepening dependency. Activities and mobility decrease, and life may become confined.
Some clinicians have difficulty identifying the beginning of “the end of life,” given the unpredictable course of COPD. Long-term physician-patient relationships, familiarity and understanding, trust, good communication skills, sensitivity, and secure discussion settings can help facilitate end-of-life discussions.
Divergent meanings and goals of palliative care in COPD lead to confusion about whether such services are the responsibility of home care, primary care, specialty care, or even critical care. Palliative end-of-life care may not be anticipated prior to referral for such care. A palliative care referral can convey the demoralizing message that providers have “given up.”
Experiences of Carers
Carers’ challenges often echo patients’ challenges, and include anxiety, uncertainty about the future, helplessness, powerlessness, depression, difficulties maintaining employment, loss of mobility and freedoms, strained relationships, and growing social isolation.
Carers feel pressured by their many roles, struggling to maintain patience when they feel overwhelmed, and often feeling guilty about not doing enough.
Carers often face their own health problems and may have difficulty sustaining employment.
Synthesis: A Disease Trajectory Reflecting Patient Experiences
The flux of needs in COPD calls for service continuity and flexibility to allow both health care providers and patients to respond to the unpredictable yet increasing demands of the disease over time.
PMCID: PMC3384365  PMID: 23074423
14.  The effects of dementia care mapping on nursing home residents’ quality of life and staff attitudes: design of the quasi-experimental study Leben-QD II 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:53.
Background
The main objective of care for people with dementia is the maintenance and promotion of quality of life (Qol). Most of the residents in nursing homes have challenging behaviors that strongly affect their Qol. Person-centered care (PCC) is an approach that aims to achieve the best possible Qol and to reduce challenging behaviors. Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) is a method of implementing PCC that has been used in Germany for several years. However, there are no data on the effectiveness of DCM or the challenges of implementation of DCM in German nursing homes.
Methods/design
In this quasi-experimental non-randomized cluster-controlled study, the effects of DCM will be compared to 2 comparison groups. 9 nursing homes will take part: 3 will implement DCM, 3 will implement a comparison intervention using an alternative Qol assessment, and 3 have already implemented DCM. The main effect outcomes are Qol, challenging behaviors, staff attitudes toward dementia, job satisfaction and burnout of caregivers. These outcomes will be measured on 3 data points. Different quantitative and qualitative data sources will be collected through the course of the study to investigate the degree of implementation as well as facilitators of and barriers to the implementation process.
Discussion
This study will provide new information about the effectiveness of DCM and the implementation process of DCM in German nursing homes. The study results will provide important information to guide the national discussion about the improvement of dementia-specific Qol, quality of care in nursing homes and allocation of resources. In addition, the study results will provide information for decision-making and implementation of complex psychosocial interventions such as DCM. The findings will also be important for the design of a subsequent randomized controlled trial (e.g. appropriateness of outcomes and measurements, inclusion criteria for participating nursing homes) and the development of a successful implementation strategy.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43916381.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-53
PMCID: PMC3691737  PMID: 23725292
15.  Nurse work engagement impacts job outcome and nurse-assessed quality of care: model testing with nurse practice environment and nurse work characteristics as predictors 
Frontiers in Psychology  2014;5:1261.
Aim: To explore the mechanisms through which nurse practice environment dimensions, such as nurse–physician relationship, nurse management at the unit level and hospital management and organizational support, are associated with job outcomes and nurse-assessed quality of care. Mediating variables included nurse work characteristics of workload, social capital, decision latitude, as well as work engagement dimensions of vigor, dedication and absorption.
Background: Understanding how to support and guide nurse practice communities in their daily effort to answer complex care most accurate, alongside with the demand of a stable and healthy nurse workforce, is challenging.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Method: Based on earlier empirical findings, a structural equation model, designed with valid measurement instruments, was tested. The study population included registered acute care hospital nurses (N = 1201) in eight hospitals across Belgium.
Results: Nurse practice environment dimensions predicted nurses’ ratings of job outcome variables as well as quality of care. Features of nurses’ work characteristics, e.g., perceived workload, decision latitude, social capital, and the three dimension of work engagement, played mediating roles between nurse practice environment and outcomes. A revised model, using various fit measures, explained 60% of job outcomes and 47% of nurse-assessed quality of care.
Conclusion: The findings in this study show that nurse work characteristics as workload, decision latitude, and social capital, alongside with nurse work engagement (e.g., vigor, dedication, and absorption) influence nurses’ perspective of their nurse practice environment, job outcomes, and quality of care. The results underline aspects to considerate for various stakeholders, such as executives, nurse managers, physicians, and staff nurses, in setting up and organizing health care services.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01261
PMCID: PMC4230203  PMID: 25431563
burnout; job satisfaction; nurse retention; nurse practice environment; quality of care; structural equation modeling
16.  Registered Nurses´ View of Performing Pain Assessment among Persons with Dementia as Consultant Advisors 
The Open Nursing Journal  2012;6:62-70.
Background:
Pain assessment in persons with dementia is well known as a challenging issue to professional caregivers, because of these patients´ difficulties in verbalising pain problems. Within municipal dementia care in Sweden, pain assessment has become problematic for registered nurses, as they have entered a new role in their nursing profession, from being clinical practitioners to becoming consultant advisers to other health care staff.
Aim:
To present municipal registered nurses´ view of pain assessment in persons with dementia in relation to their nursing profession as consultant advisers.
Methods:
Purposive sampling was undertaken with 11 nurses invited to participate. Data were collected by focus groups. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data.
Findings:
Four categories were identified to describe registered nurses´ view of pain assessment: estrangement from practical nursing care, time consuming and unsafe pain documentation, unfulfilled needs of reflection possibilities, and collaboration and coordination.
Conclusions:
The performance of pain assessment through a consultant advising function is experienced as frustrating and as an uncomfortable nursing situation. The nurses feel resistance to providing nursing in this way. They view nursing as a clinical task demanding daily presence among patients to enable them to make accurate and safe assessments. However, due to the consultative model, setting aside enough time for the presence seems difficult to accomplish. It is necessary to promote the quality of systematic routines in pain assessment and reflection, as well as developing professional knowledge of how pain can be expressed by dementia patients, especially those with communication difficulties.
doi:10.2174/1874434601206010062
PMCID: PMC3362856  PMID: 22655002
Municipal dementia care; pain assessment; registered nurses.
17.  Staff experiences within the implementation of computer-based nursing records in residential aged care facilities: a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research 
Background
Since the introduction of electronic nursing documentation systems, its implementation in recent years has increased rapidly in Germany. The objectives of such systems are to save time, to improve information handling and to improve quality. To integrate IT in the daily working processes, the employee is the pivotal element. Therefore it is important to understand nurses’ experience with IT implementation. At present the literature shows a lack of understanding exploring staff experiences within the implementation process.
Methods
A systematic review and meta-ethnographic synthesis of primary studies using qualitative methods was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane. It adheres to the principles of the PRISMA statement. The studies were original, peer-reviewed articles from 2000 to 2013, focusing on computer-based nursing documentation in Residential Aged Care Facilities.
Results
The use of IT requires a different form of information processing. Some experience this new form of information processing as a benefit while others do not. The latter find it more difficult to enter data and this result in poor clinical documentation. Improvement in the quality of residents’ records leads to an overall improvement in the quality of care. However, if the quality of those records is poor, some residents do not receive the necessary care. Furthermore, the length of time necessary to complete the documentation is a prominent theme within that process. Those who are more efficient with the electronic documentation demonstrate improved time management. For those who are less efficient with electronic documentation the information processing is perceived as time consuming. Normally, it is possible to experience benefits when using IT, but this depends on either promoting or hindering factors, e.g. ease of use and ability to use it, equipment availability and technical functionality, as well as attitude.
Conclusions
In summary, the findings showed that members of staff experience IT as a benefit when it simplifies their daily working routines and as a burden when it complicates their working processes. Whether IT complicates or simplifies their routines depends on influencing factors. The line between benefit and burden is semipermeable. The experiences differ according to duties and responsibilities.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-14-54
PMCID: PMC4114165  PMID: 24947420
Electronic health record; Health information technology; Computer; Technology adoption; Satisfaction; Long-term-care; Benefit and costs; Cost benefit analysis; Net benefit; Information system success; Attitude
18.  Quality of care for elderly residents in nursing homes and elderly people living at home: controlled observational study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7389):580.
Objectives
To assess the quality of care given to elderly people and compare the care given to residents in nursing homes with those living in their own homes.
Design
Controlled observational study.
Setting
Primary care, Bristol.
Subjects
Elderly individuals (aged ⩾65 years) registered with three general practices, of whom 172 were residents in nursing homes (cases) and 526 lived at home (matched controls).
Main outcome measures
The quality of clinical care given to patients was measured against explicit standards. Quality indicators were derived from national sources and agreed with participating general practitioners.
Results
The overall standard of care was inadequate when judged against the quality indicators, irrespective of where patients lived. The overall prescribing of beneficial drugs for some conditions was deficient—for example, only 38% (11/29) (95% confidence interval 20% to 58%) of patients were prescribed β blockers after myocardial infarction. The proportion of patients with heart disease or diabetes who had had their blood pressure measured in the past two years (heart disease) or past year (diabetes) was lower among those living in nursing homes: for heart disease, 74% (17/23) v 96% (122/127) (adjusted odds ratio 0.18, 0.04 to 0.75); for diabetes, 62% (8/13) v 96% (50/52) (adjusted odds ratio 0.05, 0.01 to 0.38). In terms of potentially harmful prescribing, significantly more patients in nursing homes were prescribed neuroleptic medication (28% (49/172) v 11% (56/526) (3.82, 2.37 to 6.17)) and laxatives (39% (67/172) v 16% (85/526) (2.79, 1.79 to 4.36)). Nursing home residents were less likely to have the appropriate diagnostic Read code linked to their prescribed neuroleptic drug (0.22, 0.07 to 0.71).
Conclusions
The quality of medical care that elderly patients receive in one UK city, particularly those in nursing homes, is inadequate. We suggest that better coordinated care for these patients would avoid the problems of overuse of unnecessary or harmful drugs, underuse of beneficial drugs, and poor monitoring of chronic disease.
What is already known on this topicDoctors too often prescribe harmful drugs and too seldom prescribe beneficial drugs for elderly peopleThe quality of medical care for those living in nursing and residential homes has also been questionedWhat this study addsElderly people in one UK city receive inadequate care when judged against explicit quality indicatorsThose living in nursing homes receive poorer care than those living at home in terms of underuse of beneficial drugs, poor monitoring of chronic disease, and overuse of inappropriate or unnecessary drugs
PMCID: PMC151522  PMID: 12637404
19.  Adherence of pain assessment to the German national standard for pain management in 12 nursing homes 
Residents of nursing homes experience a very high rate of pain, in part, because they are more likely to be affected by a variety of painful conditions. In general, pain is also poorly treated among this population, due to residents’ belief that pain is unavoidable as well as poor pain assessment practices, particularly among individuals with limited abilities to communicate. This article describes a study in which pain assessment practices in nursing homes in Muenster, Germany were compared with optimal practices outlined in the German Expert Standard for Pain Management in Nursing.
BACKGROUND:
Pain is very common among nursing home residents. The assessment of pain is a prerequisite for effective multiprofessional pain management. Within the framework of the German health services research project, ‘Action Alliance Pain-Free City Muenster’, the authors investigated pain assessment adherence according to the German national Expert Standard for Pain Management in Nursing, which is a general standard applicable to all chronic/acute pain-affected persons and highly recommended for practice.
OBJECTIVES:
To evaluate the state of pain assessment and to identify need for improvement in 12 nursing homes in a German city.
METHODS:
In the present study, the authors used an ex-post-facto design (survey methodology). Available written policies for routine pain assessment in residents ≥65 years of age were reviewed and a standardized online survey completed by 151 of 349 nurses in 12 nursing home facilities was conducted between September 2010 and April 2011.
RESULTS:
Most of the included nursing homes provided written policies for pain assessment, and the majority of nurses reported that they assess and regularly reassess pain. However, observational tools for residents with severe cognitive impairment and written reassessment schedules were lacking in many facilities or were inconsistent.
CONCLUSIONS:
Essentially, pain assessment appeared to be feasible in the majority of the German nursing homes studied. However, the absence or inconsistency of reassessment schedules indicate that pain management guidelines should include a detailed and explicit reassessment schedule for the heterogenic needs of nursing home residents. For residents with severe cognitive impairment, assessment tools are needed that are simple to use and clearly indicate the presence or absence of pain.
PMCID: PMC4158958  PMID: 24851238
Dementia; Nursing homes; Observational pain tools; Pain measurement; Quality of health care
20.  The care unit in nursing home research: Evidence in support of a definition 
Background
Defining what constitutes a resident care unit in nursing home research is both a conceptual and practical challenge. The aim of this paper is to provide evidence in support of a definition of care unit in nursing homes by demonstrating: (1) its feasibility for use in data collection, (2) the acceptability of aggregating individual responses to the unit level, and (3) the benefit of including unit level data in explanatory models.
Methods
An observational study design was used. Research (project) managers, healthcare aides, care managers, nursing home administrators and directors of care from thirty-six nursing homes in the Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba provided data for the study. A definition of care unit was developed and applied in data collection and analyses. A debriefing session was held with research managers to investigate their experiences with using the care unit definition. In addition, survey responses from 1258 healthcare aides in 25 of the 36 nursing homes in the study, that had more than one care unit, were analyzed using a multi-level modeling approach. Trained field workers administered the Alberta Context Tool (ACT), a 58-item self-report survey reflecting 10 organizational context concepts, to healthcare aides using computer assisted personal interviews. To assess the appropriateness of obtaining unit level scores, we assessed aggregation statistics (ICC(1), ICC(2), η2, and ω2), and to assess the value of using the definition of unit in explanatory models, we performed multi-level modeling.
Results
In 10 of the 36 nursing homes, the care unit definition developed was used to align the survey data (for analytic purposes) to specific care units as designated by our definition, from that reported by the facility administrator. The aggregation statistics supported aggregating the healthcare aide responses on the ACT to the realigned unit level. Findings from the multi-level modeling further supported unit level aggregation. A significantly higher percentage of variance was explained in the ACT concepts at the unit level compared to the individual and/or nursing home levels.
Conclusions
The statistical results support the use of our definition of care unit in nursing home research in the Canadian prairie provinces. Beyond research convenience however, the results also support the resident unit as an important Clinical Microsystem to which future interventions designed to improve resident quality of care and staff (healthcare aide) worklife should be targeted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-46
PMCID: PMC3098823  PMID: 21492456
21.  CONNECT for quality: protocol of a cluster randomized controlled trial to improve fall prevention in nursing homes 
Background
Quality improvement (QI) programs focused on mastery of content by individual staff members are the current standard to improve resident outcomes in nursing homes. However, complexity science suggests that learning is a social process that occurs within the context of relationships and interactions among individuals. Thus, QI programs will not result in optimal changes in staff behavior unless the context for social learning is present. Accordingly, we developed CONNECT, an intervention to foster systematic use of management practices, which we propose will enhance effectiveness of a nursing home Falls QI program by strengthening the staff-to-staff interactions necessary for clinical problem-solving about complex problems such as falls. The study aims are to compare the impact of the CONNECT intervention, plus a falls reduction QI intervention (CONNECT + FALLS), to the falls reduction QI intervention alone (FALLS), on fall-related process measures, fall rates, and staff interaction measures.
Methods/design
Sixteen nursing homes will be randomized to one of two study arms, CONNECT + FALLS or FALLS alone. Subjects (staff and residents) are clustered within nursing homes because the intervention addresses social processes and thus must be delivered within the social context, rather than to individuals. Nursing homes randomized to CONNECT + FALLS will receive three months of CONNECT first, followed by three months of FALLS. Nursing homes randomized to FALLS alone receive three months of FALLs QI and are offered CONNECT after data collection is completed. Complexity science measures, which reflect staff perceptions of communication, safety climate, and care quality, will be collected from staff at baseline, three months after, and six months after baseline to evaluate immediate and sustained impacts. FALLS measures including quality indicators (process measures) and fall rates will be collected for the six months prior to baseline and the six months after the end of the intervention. Analysis will use a three-level mixed model.
Discussion
By focusing on improving local interactions, CONNECT is expected to maximize staff's ability to implement content learned in a falls QI program and integrate it into knowledge and action. Our previous pilot work shows that CONNECT is feasible, acceptable and appropriate.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00636675
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-11
PMCID: PMC3310735  PMID: 22376375
22.  “The educating nursing staff effectively (TENSE) study”: design of a cluster randomized controlled trial 
BMC Nursing  2014;13(1):46.
Background
Challenging behavior exhibited by people with dementia can have adverse outcomes, like stress, low morale, low work satisfaction and absenteeism for nursing staff in long-term care settings. Training nursing staff to manage challenging behavior may reduce its impact. Although much of the research into training nursing staff shows methodological limitations, several studies find some effect of training programs on knowledge about and on management of challenging behavior. Effects on stress or burnout are almost not found.
Methods/Design
The TENSE-study is a randomized controlled study on 18 nursing home units (9 control, 9 intervention) investigating the effects of a continuous educational program for nursing staff about managing challenging behavior. Nursing staff of intervention units receive the program, nursing staff of control units do not and continue usual care. The primary outcome is stress experienced by nursing staff (N = 135). Secondary outcomes are: emotional workload, work satisfaction, stress reactions at work and knowledge about challenging behaviour of nursing staff; and frequency of challenging behavior, quality of life and social engagement of residents (N = 135). Because there are many unknown factors influencing the effect of the training, a process evaluation to evaluate sampling-, implementation- and intervention quality as well as barriers and facilitators to implementation will also be included in the analysis. Nursing staff could not be blinded to the intervention, but were blinded for the outcomes.
Discussion
Strengths of this study are the (good) description of the intervention complemented by a process evaluation and the tailoring of the intervention to the wishes and needs of the nursing homes at any moment during the study. Sustaining the effects of the intervention by using follow up sessions is another strength. Possible drawbacks may be dropout because of the frailty of the elderly population and because nursing staff might move to another job during the study.
Trial registration
NTR (Dutch Trial Registration) number NTR3620
doi:10.1186/s12912-014-0046-6
PMCID: PMC4299299  PMID: 25606022
Dementia; Challenging behaviour; Training; Nursing staff; Stress; Work satisfaction
23.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
24.  A Survey of Data Recording Procedures at New York City Emergency Departments 
Objective
To describe the development, implementation, and analysis of a hospital based emergency department (ED) survey and site visit project conducted by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
Introduction
Data is collected daily by the DOHMH from 49 of the 52 NYC EDs, representing approximately 95% of all ED visits in NYC. Variability in data fields between and within EDs has been noticed for some time. Differences in chief complaint (CC) characteristics and inconsistent availability of data elements, such as disposition and diagnosis, suggest that procedures, coding practices and health information systems (HIS) are not standardized across all NYC EDs, and may change within EDs. These differences may have an unapparent effect on the DOHMH’s ability to consistently categorize ED visits into syndrome groupings, which may alter how syndromic trends are analyzed. Prior to this project, the DOHMH had no method in place to regularly capture, evaluate or utilize this level of ED-specific information.
Methods
A member of the DOHMH contacted all 49 EDs to request a brief interview with the ED director, administrator and/or appropriate staff. A questionnaire was designed to collect the following information about each ED: the clinical and administrative HIS used to collect patient information and report it to the DOHMH (including any recent system changes); CC coding practices (i.e. who records the CC, and into which HIS, and in what format); disposition and diagnosis recording practices and availability. Questions regarding hospital specific trends and characteristics were also included. Interviews were conducted in person by two members of the DOHMH.
Information from the survey was compiled into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet by the interviewers. A descriptive analysis was performed comparing and detailing HIS used, CC coding practices, and recording procedures for disposition and diagnosis. A member of the DOHMH followed up with ED staff and IT personnel to resolve any outstanding data quality issues.
Results
All 49 EDs were contacted and interviewed. A median of 43 days (ranging from 7 to 167) elapsed between the initial attempt to contact the ED director, and the completion of the interview. All interviews lasted approximately 40 minutes.
According to the results of the survey, the DOHMH receives information from the clinical HIS from approximately 20% of EDs, from the administrative HIS from approximately 70% of the EDs, and approximately 10% of the EDs did not know which system was used to generate the daily reports sent to the DOHMH. Nearly 100% of the EDs reported that the chief complaint was entered into the clinical HIS by a triage nurse. However, it is not known who records the CC into the administrative system. Four EDs reported that a drop-down menu is used to record CC into the clinical HIS, 23 EDs CC is in free-text format, and 22 EDs CC is a combination of free-text and drop-down format.
Diagnosis was recorded by the physician at 45% of the EDs, and by other staff, including nurses and clerks, at 55% of the EDs. Two thirds of the EDs reported a lag time of less than one week between the visit and assignment of diagnosis codes. Disposition is recorded by the physician at 80% of EDs. Discharge disposition is often required for a patients chart to be considered complete.
As a result of the visits the DOHMH was able to better understand problems that cause routine data quality problems (e.g. missing data or unusable data) by hospital and identify methods to improve those problems. Missing and up to date disposition codebooks were obtained from hospitals. Current hospital contacts were identified for follow up.
Discussions with hospital personnel regarding specific trends, characteristics and interests helped to strengthen the relationship the DOHMH has with the hospital ED staff.
Conclusions
Differences in practices, procedures, and HIS used can lead to variability in data quality and characteristics which may affect the ability to categorize visits into effective syndrome groupings and understand trends. Further research is needed to develop an improved method for analyzing ED data that takes ED-specific characteristics into consideration. Additionally, it is important to establish good working relationships with key members of each ED’s staff in the event of a possible outbreak, and in keeping up to date on any changes within each ED that may affect data quality.
PMCID: PMC3692759
Emergency Department; Syndromic Surveillance; Coding Practices
25.  Informed palliative care in nursing homes through the interRAI Palliative Care instrument: a study protocol based on the Medical Research Council framework 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14(1):132.
Background
Nursing homes are important locations for palliative care. Through comprehensive geriatric assessments (CGAs), evaluations can be made of palliative care needs of nursing home residents. The interRAI Palliative Care instrument (interRAI PC) is a CGA that evaluates diverse palliative care needs of adults in all healthcare settings. The evaluation results in Client Assessment Protocols (CAPs: indications of problems that need addressing) and Scales (e.g. Palliative Index for Mortality (PIM)) which can be used to design, evaluate and adjust care plans. This study aims to examine the effect of using the interRAI PC on the quality of palliative care in nursing homes. Additionally, it aims to evaluate the feasibility and validity of the interRAI PC.
Methods
This study covers phases 0, I and II of the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for designing and evaluating complex interventions, with a longitudinal, quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design and with mixed methods of evaluation. In phase 0, a systematic literature search is conducted. In phase I, the interRAI PC is adapted for use in Belgium and implemented on the BelRAI-website and a practical training is developed. In phase II, the intervention is tested in fifteen nursing homes. Participating nursing homes fill out the interRAI PC during one year for all residents receiving palliative care. Using a pretest-posttest design with quasi-random assignment to the intervention or control group, the effect of the interRAI PC on the quality of palliative care is evaluated with the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS). Psychometric analysis is conducted to evaluate the predictive validity of the PIM and the convergent validity of the CAP ‘Mood’ of the interRAI PC. Qualitative data regarding the usability and face validity of the instrument are collected through focus groups, interviews and field notes.
Discussion
This is the first study to evaluate the validity and effect of the interRAI PC in nursing homes, following a methodology based on the MRC framework. This approach improves the study design and implementation and will contribute to a higher generalizability of results. The final result will be a psychometrically evaluated CGA for nursing home residents receiving palliative care.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02281032. Registered October 30th, 2014.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-132
PMCID: PMC4280705  PMID: 25479633
Palliative care; Nursing homes; Comprehensive geriatric assessment; interRAI Palliative Care instrument; Older adults; Study protocol

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