To distinguish the effects of drug abuse, mental disorders, and problem drinking on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and highly active ART (HAART) use.
Prospective population-based probability sample of 2,267 (representing 213,308) HIV-infected persons in care in the United States in early 1996.
Self-reported ART from first (January 1997–July 1997) to second (August 1997–January 1998) follow-up interviews. Drug abuse/dependence, severity of abuse, alcohol use, and probable mental disorders assessed in the first follow-up interview. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) estimated from weighted models for 1) receipt of any ART, and 2) receipt of HAART among those on ART.
Of our study population, ART was reported by 90% and HAART by 61%. Over one third had a probable mental disorder and nearly half had abused any drugs, but drug dependence (9%) or severe abuse (10%) was infrequent. Any ART was less likely for persons with dysthymia (AOR, 0.74; CI, 0.58 to 0.95) but only before adjustment for drug abuse. After full adjustment with mental health and drug abuse variables, any ART was less likely for drug dependence (AOR, 0.58; CI, 0.34 to 0.97), severe drug abuse (AOR, 0.52; CI, 0.32 to 0.87), and HIV risk from injection drug use (AOR, 0.55; CI, 0.39 to 0.79). Among drug users on ART, only mental health treatment was associated with HAART (AOR, 1.57; CI, 1.11 to 2.08).
Drug abuse-related factors were greater barriers to ART use in this national sample than mental disorders but once on ART, these factors were unrelated to type of therapy.
anti-HIV agents; substance-related disorders; substance abuse, intravenous drug abuse; mental disorders; HIV infections
Lipodystrophy is a common long-term complication of HIV infection that may lead to decreased quality of life and less adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). A complete understanding of the etiology of HIV-associated lipodystrophy has not as yet been achieved, although factors related to the virus, per se, and use of ART appear to be related. Alcohol use is common among HIV-infected patients and has biological effects on fat distribution, yet alcohol’s relationship to HIV-associated lipodystrophy has not been examined. The goal of this clinical study was to assess the effect of alcohol consumption on lipodystrophy in HIV-infected adults with alcohol problems. This was a prospective study (2001 - 2006) of 289 HIV-infected persons with alcohol problems. The primary outcome was self-reported lipodystrophy, which was assessed at one timepoint (median 29 months after enrollment). Alcohol use was assessed every 6 months and classified as: abstinent at all interviews; ≥1 report of moderate drinking but no heavy drinking; 1 or 2 reports of heavy drinking; or ≥3 reports of heavy drinking. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit to the data. Fifty-two percent (150/289) of subjects reported lipodystrophy. Alcohol consumption was: 34% abstinent at all interviews; 12% ≥1 report of moderate drinking, but no heavy drinking; 34% 1-2 reports of heavy drinking; 20% ≥3 reports of heavy drinking. Although not statistically significant, subjects with alcohol use had a higher odds of lipodystrophy [adjusted odds ratios and 95% CI: ≥1 report of moderate drinking, 2.36 (0.89, 6.24); 1-2 reports of heavy drinking, 1.34 (0.69, 2.60); ≥3 reports of heavy drinking, 2.07 (0.90, 4.73)]. Alcohol use may increase the odds of developing HIV-associated lipodystrophy among subjects with alcohol problems. However, larger studies are needed to elucidate fully the role and impact of alcohol consumption on the development of this common long-term complication of HIV infection and its treatment.
lipodystrophy; HIV; alcohol consumption
OBJECTIVE: To determine the properties of the alcohol use disorders identification test in screening primary care attenders for alcohol problems. DESIGN: A validity study among consecutive primary care attenders aged 18-65 years. Every third subject completed the alcohol use disorders identification test (a 10 item self report questionnaire on alcohol intake and related problems) and was interviewed by an investigator with the composite international diagnostic interview alcohol use module (a standardised interview for the independent assessment of alcohol intake and related disorders). SETTING: 10 primary care clinics in Verona, north eastern Italy. PATIENTS: 500 subjects were approached and 482 (96.4%) completed evaluation. RESULTS: When the alcohol use disorders identification test was used to detect subjects with alcohol problems the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.95. The cut off score of 5 was associated with a sensitivity of 0.84, a specificity of 0.90, and a positive predictive value of 0.60. The screening ability of the total score derived from summing the responses to the five items minimising the probability of misclassification between subjects with and without alcohol problems provided an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.93. A score of 5 or more on the five items was associated with a sensitivity of 0.79, a specificity of 0.95, and a positive predictive value of 0.73. CONCLUSIONS: The alcohol use disorders identification test performs well in detecting subjects with formal alcohol disorders and those with hazardous alcohol intake. Using five of the 10 items on the questionnaire gives reasonable accuracy, and these are recommended as questions of choice to screen patients for alcohol problems.
Alcohol use and depressive symptoms are associated with reduced access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the developed world. Whether alcohol use and depressive symptoms limit access to ART in resource-limited settings is unknown. This cross-sectional study examined the association between alcohol use, depressive symptoms and the receipt of ART among randomly selected HIV-positive persons presenting for primary health care services at an outpatient HIV clinic in Uganda. Depressive symptoms were defined by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist and alcohol use was measured through frequency of consumption questions. Antiretroviral use was assessed using a standardized survey and confirmed by medical record review. Predictors of ART use were determined via logistic regression. Among 421 HIV-infected patients, factors associated with the receipt of ART were having at least primary education, having an opportunistic infection in the last 3 months, and not drinking within the last year.
Antiretroviral therapy; Alcohol use; Depression; Africa; Access to care
We discuss current status and developments in the care of stroke patients in Portugal.
Theory and methods
Stroke is the main cause of death in Portugal and the main cause of disability on elderly people. This situation has raised great concern and several initiatives have been put in place to deal with the problem. The Unidades de Acidentes Vasculares Cerebrais – (UAVC) (Stroke Unit) were launched in 2001, aiming at reducing length of stay in acute care hospitals, functional incapacity and post-stroke complications, the number of patients in need of home nursing or specialized inpatient long-term care, as well as facilitating reintegration in family and society, namely return to workplace. The study is based on deep literature review and clinical experience in specialized care for stroke patients in Portugal.
Until the launch of UAVCs, a patient suffering from stroke would be admitted to a Serviço de Neurologia (Neurology Service) or to a Serviço de Medicina Interna (Internal Medicine Service), probably in the hospital closest to the occurrence and care would be oriented to the acute phase. Nowadays, patients with a diagnosis of stroke are preferably directed to a UAVC. These units integrate health professionals especially trained for these situations and apply diagnostic and therapeutic procedures according to protocols that follow the most recent international recommendations. The multidisciplinary teams execute integrated care and rehabilitation plans based on the individual needs. Complementary exams are done systematically aiming at more complete understanding. After discharge, patients are followed up in outpatient specific consultation. One of the most relevant practices adopted is physiotherapy care that promotes early mobilization and get up.
Conclusions and discussion
There are about 30 UAVCS in Portugal, some of them still working under technical and human limitations. However, these units are but one of the links in the chain of care. Many attempts have been made to integrate care in Portugal. At least in some areas, much is still to be done in this regard.
stroke care; Unidade de Acidente Vascular Cerebral; rehabilitation; RNCCI; integrated care; Portugal
We describe the restructuring that is taking place in primary health care (PHC) in Portugal and discuss how the new emerging organization and work practices reflect in care transitions and intra- and inter-organizational integration.
Theory and methods
PHC represents an essential support for the restructuring that is taking place in health care in Portugal. We conducted a case study on a health centre located in the Centre Region of Portugal. We identified and analyzed internal units and care transitions and conducted interviews.
Health centres are reorganizing toward a new model characterized by an organizational structure based on functional units: Family Health Unit (FHU), Community Care Unit (CCU), and Personalized Healthcare Unit (PHU), which will be in place in all of them plus transversal units, common to a group of these arrangements. The overarch management body is the ACES (Agrupamento de Centros de Saúde), that reports to a Health Regional Administration (HRA). In Portugal, there are five HRA. An ACES may coordinate a number of FHU, CCU and PHU but has only one Public Health Unit and one Shared Resources Care Unit. Units are based on multidisciplinary teamwork, having: specific missions, although inter-cooperative and complementary, organized in a network; administrative autonomy; proper instruments of organizational management; well-defined leadership and clinical governance systems and mechanisms of representation and participation of the community and citizens.
Conclusions and discussion
It is too soon to assess the implications that the reorganization of PHC might have in the integration of care in Portugal.
primary care; Health Center; integrated care; health and social services; care transitions; RNCCI
Most adults in North America are either light drinkers or abstainers, so alcohol does not cause them problems. However, a small but often highly visible minority--approximately 5% of the adult population--show major symptoms of alcohol dependence. Between these extremes, there is a sizable group of about 20% of the population, particularly young men, who are drinking at risk levels and have encountered some problems related to their alcohol use. Traditionally, physicians' efforts have focused on diagnosing and treating patients with a substantial history of alcohol dependence, and relatively little attention has been given to early intervention with nondependent problem drinkers, such as identifying patients who present in primary care settings with alcohol-related morbidity or an accidental injury. Recent evidence indicates that early intervention by primary care physicians is an effective strategy for reducing alcohol problems among patients.
The increasing diversity of population in European Countries poses new challenges to national health systems. There is a lack of data on accessibility and use of health care services by migrants, appropriateness of the care provided, client satisfaction and problems experienced when confronting the health care system. This limits knowledge about the multiple determinants of the utilization of health services. The aim of this study was to describe the access of migrants to health care and its determinants in Portugal.
The study sample included 1513 immigrants (53% men), interviewed at the National Immigrant Support Centre, in Lisbon. Data were collected using questionnaires. The magnitude of associations between use of National Health Service and socio-demographic variables was estimated by means of odds ratios (OR) at 95% confidence intervals, calculated using logistic regression.
Among participants, 3.6% stated not knowing where to go if facing a health problem. Approximately 20% of the respondents reported that they had never used the National Health Service, men more than women. Among National Health Service users, 35.6% attended Health Centres, 12% used Hospital services, and 54.4% used both. Among the participants that ever used the health services, 22.4% reported to be unsatisfied or very unsatisfied. After adjusting for all variables, utilization of health services, among immigrant men, remained significantly associated with length of stay, legal status, and country of origin. Among immigrant women, the use of health services was significantly associated with length of stay and country of origin.
There is a clear need to better understand how to ensure access to health care services and to deliver appropriate care to immigrants, and that special consideration must be given to recent and undocumented migrants. To increase health services use, and the uptake of prevention programs, barriers must be identified and approaches to remove them developed, through coherent and comprehensive strategies.
Acculturation is one of the determinants of mental health among immigrants. Evaluating adaptation to the host culture is insufficient, since immigrants will develop various degrees of bi- or multicultural identity. However, mental health professionals lack simple and easy to use instruments to guide them with bicultural identity evaluation in their practice. Our aim was to develop such an instrument to be used for clinical purposes among economical migrants from three South European countries living in Geneva, Switzerland.
We adapted from existing instruments a 24 item bi-dimensional scale to assess involvement in both culture of origin and host culture. The study included 93 immigrant adults from three south European countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain). Thirty-eight patients were recruited in an outpatient treatment program for alcohol-related problems and 55 participants were hospital employees.
The questionnaire was rated as easy or rather easy by 97.8% of participants. Median time to complete it was 5 minutes. The instrument allowed discriminating between patients and healthy subjects, with scores for Swiss culture significantly higher among hospital workers. The subscales related to culture of origin and host culture displayed adequate internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.77 and 0.73 respectively).
It is possible to assist clinicians' assessment of cultural identity of Italian, Portuguese and Spanish economical immigrants in Switzerland with a single and easy to use instrument.
Coinfection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a substantial medical and public health concern due to its increasing prevalence and complex patient management. Alcohol use may worsen HCV-related liver disease and interfere with adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and medical care. We therefore studied the association between HCV infection and markers of HIV disease progression in adults with alcohol problems.
This is a longitudinal study of 396 HIV-infected persons with alcohol problems, 199 (50%) of whom were coinfected with HCV (positive HCV RNA test). CD4 cell counts and HIV RNA levels were assessed at baseline and then every 6 months for up to 42 months. Hepatitis C virus RNA status was determined at study enrollment. We examined the relationship between HCV infection and laboratory markers of HIV progression (CD4 cell count and log10 HIV RNA) by fitting multivariable longitudinal regression models for each outcome.
Among subjects who were adherent to ART, the presence of HCV infection was associated with a lower CD4 cell count (adjusted mean difference -46.0 cells/μL, p = 0.03). There was no association observed between HCV infection and CD4 cell count among those not adherent to ART or those not taking ART. No significant association was observed between HCV infection and HIV RNA regardless of ART status.
Hepatitis C virus infection has an adverse effect on CD4 cell count in patients with alcohol problems who are adherent to ART. Addressing HCV coinfection among these patients may confer additional immunologic benefit for this patient population.
Hepatitis C Virus; HIV; Coinfection; Disease Progression; Alcohol Abuse
Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) are specific cognitive-behavioral strategies designed to reduce alcohol consumption and resulting negative consequences. A host of studies have examined the cross-sectional relationship between such strategies and alcohol use in the high-risk population of United States college students, but prospective studies on the construct are lacking. The primary purposes of this study were to determine if PBS use prospectively predicted subsequent alcohol use/alcohol-related problems and if changes in PBS use were associated with less alcohol use and fewer problems.
Data were examined from 521 heavy drinking college students (60% male, 84% White, mean age = 18.9 years). Participants completed questionnaires assessing alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and PBS use at baseline, 6-month, and 12-month follow-ups.
Analysis of residualized change scores indicated that increases in some PBS across time were associated with less alcohol use and fewer alcohol-related problems at follow-up. Findings regarding the prospective relationship between PBS use and subsequent alcohol use/problems were equivocal.
Results from the study suggest that PBS may have value in alcohol-related interventions among college students. Clinicians who help clients increase their use of PBS may help those clients increase the probability of drinking less and experiencing fewer alcohol-related problems in the future.
Alcohol; College Student; Protective Behavioral Strategies
Task-shifting is promoted widely as a mechanism for expanding antiretroviral treatment (ART) access. However, the evidence for nurse-initiated and managed ART (NIMART) in Africa is limited, and little is known about the key barriers and enablers to implementing NIMART programmes on a large scale. The STRETCH (Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV) programme was a complex educational and organisational intervention implemented in the Free State Province of South Africa to enable nurses providing primary HIV/AIDS care to expand their roles and include aspects of care and treatment usually provided by physicians. STRETCH used a phased implementation approach and ART treatment guidelines tailored specifically to nurses. The effects of STRETCH on pre-ART mortality, ART provision, and the quality of HIV/ART care were evaluated through a randomised controlled trial. This study was conducted alongside the trial to develop a contextualised understanding of factors affecting the implementation of the programme.
This study was a qualitative process evaluation using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with patients, health workers, health managers, and other key informants as well as observation in clinics. Research questions focused on perceptions of STRETCH, changes in health provider roles, attitudes and patient relationships, and impact of the implementation context on trial outcomes. Data were analysed collaboratively by the research team using thematic analysis.
NIMART appears to be highly acceptable among nurses, patients, and physicians. Managers and nurses expressed confidence in their ability to deliver ART successfully. This confidence developed slowly and unevenly, through a phased and well-supported approach that guided nurses through training, re-prescription, and initiation. The research also shows that NIMART changes the working and referral relationships between health staff, demands significant training and support, and faces workload and capacity constraints, and logistical and infrastructural challenges.
Large-scale NIMART appears to be feasible and acceptable in the primary level public sector health services in South Africa. Successful implementation requires a comprehensive approach with: an incremental and well supported approach to implementation; clinical guidelines tailored to nurses; and significant health services reorganisation to accommodate the knock-on effects of shifts in practice.
Antiretroviral treatment; NIMART; South Africa; Primary healthcare; Nurse training; Process evaluation; PALSA PLUS
General Practice/Family Medicine is a specialty focused on the provision of comprehensive, continuing, and community oriented, person-centred care. The lack of prestige and the difficulty in attracting trainees to the specialty have been longstanding problems in most countries around the world. In Europe, General Practice/Family Medicine is also hampered for not being recognized as a specialty throughout Europe. As for Portugal, General Practice/Family Medicine is undergoing a massive organizational reform, as well as unprecedented levels of popularity among trainees.
General Practice/Family holds tremendous latent potential, and is thus a specialty with a bright future ahead. It could well establish itself as the specialty of the future if it is able to overcome the barriers that currently make of General Practice/Family Medicine an unpopular career choice. It is important to train confident, competent and polyvalent family physicians, but it is also necessary to overhaul payment schemes, to invest in primary care infra-structure and organization, and to continue to attract more and more bright and motivated trainees.
Initiatives by individuals, private foundations and government have led to improvements in the United States in medical education dealing with alcohol and drug-related problems. Progress has been made, particularly in the past 5 years, in developing new medical school curricula and in faculty development. Greater activity by national professional organizations has helped raise the priority of training in alcohol- and drug-related areas for undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. As an example, Project ADEPT (Alcohol and Drug Education for Physician Training in primary care) at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is described. The importance of positive and motivated faculty role models and of skills training is emphasized.
The course of alcohol consumption and cognitive dimensions of behavior change (readiness to change, importance of changing and confidence in ability to change) in primary care patients are not well described. The objective of the study was to determine changes in readiness, importance and confidence after a primary care visit, and 6-month improvements in both drinking and cognitive dimensions of behavior change, in patients with unhealthy alcohol use.
Prospective cohort study of patients with unhealthy alcohol use visiting primary care physicians, with repeated assessments of readiness, importance, and confidence (visual analogue scale (VAS), score range 1–10 points). Improvements 6 months later were defined as no unhealthy alcohol use or any increase in readiness, importance, or confidence. Regression models accounted for clustering by physician and adjusted for demographics, alcohol consumption and related problems, and discussion with the physician about alcohol.
From before to immediately after the primary care physician visit, patients (n = 173) had increases in readiness (mean +1.0 point), importance (+0.2), and confidence (+0.5) (all p < 0.002). In adjusted models, discussion with the physician about alcohol was associated with increased readiness (+0.8, p = 0.04). At 6 months, many participants had improvements in drinking or readiness (62%), drinking or importance (58%), or drinking or confidence (56%).
Readiness, importance and confidence improve in many patients with unhealthy alcohol use immediately after a primary care visit. Six months after a visit, most patients have improvements in either drinking or these cognitive dimensions of behavior change.
Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is currently the international standard of care for treating degenerative and rheumatologic knee joint disease, as well as certain knee joint fractures. We sought to answer the following three research questions: (1) What is the international variance in primary and revision TKA rates around the world? (2) How do patient demographics (e.g., age, gender) vary internationally? (3) How have the rates of TKA utilization changed over time?
The survey included 18 countries with a total population of 755 million, and an estimated 1,324,000 annual primary and revision total knee procedures. Ten national inpatient databases were queried for this study from Canada, the United States, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Inpatient data were also compared with published registry data for eight countries with operating arthroplasty registers (Denmark, England & Wales, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand).
The average and median rate of primary and revision (combined) total knee replacement was 175 and 149 procedures/100,000 population, respectively, and ranged between 8.8 and 234 procedures/100,000 population. We observed that the procedure rate significantly increased over time for the countries in which historical data were available. The compound annual growth in the incidence of TKA ranged by country from 5.3% (France) to 17% (Portugal). We observed a nearly 27-fold range of TKA utilization rates between the 18 different countries included in the survey.
It is apparent from the results of this study that the demand for TKA has risen substantially over the past decade in countries around the world.
While the U. S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several medications for the treatment of alcohol-related problems, their use has not gained wide acceptance in the United States. Typically, patients with alcohol use disorders are only referred to psychosocial support (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous). However, the use of pharmacotherapy may complement psychosocial treatments, as evidence shows that pharmacotherapy can improve treatment outcomes. The effectiveness of pharmacotherapy depends on patient compliance with taking the medication and the context in which the medication is administered. BRENDA is a psychosocial program designed specifically to be used by many types of healthcare providers, including primary care clinicians. Designed to enhance medication and treatment compliance, BRENDA is an ideal approach for use in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. The BRENDA approach has 6 components: 1) a biopsychosocial evaluation; 2) a report of findings from the evaluation given to the patient; 3) empathy; 4) addressing patient needs; 5) providing direct advice; and 6) assessing patient reaction to advice and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. This paper describes these components and discusses how the empirical support for each component is linked to the enhancement of medication compliance and the improvement of treatment outcomes.
alcohol use disorder; BRENDA program; treatment compliance; acamprosate; disulfiram; naltrexone
Alcohol-related problems are common among patients in emergency departments. Primary care physicians must recognize and treat a variety of alcohol-related and alcohol-induced problems: alcohol withdrawal, alcohol-related seizures, delirium tremens, malnutrition, concomitant illness, poisoning, trauma, and lack of social support. This paper focuses an recognizing and managing acute alcohol withdrawal.
To assess the relation between alcohol consumption and laboratory markers of HIV disease progression.
We prospectively assessed CD4 cell counts, HIV RNA levels, and alcohol consumption for up to 7 years in 595 HIV-infected persons with alcohol problems recruited between 1997 and 2003. We investigated the relation of these markers of HIV disease progression to alcohol consumption using longitudinal regression models controlling for known prognostic factors, including adherence and depressive symptoms, and stratified by antiretroviral therapy (ART) use.
Among subjects who were not on ART, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with a lower CD4 cell count (adjusted mean decrease of 48.6 cells/µL compared with abstinence; P = 0.03) but not with higher log10 HIV RNA. Among subjects who were on ART, heavy alcohol consumption was not associated with a lower CD4 cell count or higher log10 HIV RNA.
Heavy alcohol consumption has a negative impact on the CD4 cell count in HIV-infected persons not receiving ART. In addition to the known deleterious effects of alcohol on ART adherence, these findings suggest that avoiding heavy alcohol consumption in patients not on ART may have a beneficial effect on HIV disease progression.
alcohol; CD4; HIV disease progression; HIV viral load
Group cohesion in sport is a widely spread theme today. Research has found cohesion to be influenced by several individual and group components. Among the cognitive variables that relate to cohesion we found competitive anxiety. The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between task cohesion (ATG-T, and GI-T) and competitive state anxiety (A-state), and also if there would be a relation between cohesion and self-confidence. Participants were 366 football players of both genders male and female, aged between 15 to 23 years old, from Portugal’s championships. Cohesion was measured using the Portuguese version of the Group Environment Questionnaire, and to assess competitive anxiety, we used the Portuguese version of the Competition State Anxiety Inventory 2. Our results show that female athletes report experiencing more cognitive anxiety and less self-confidence than male athletes. Only cognitive anxiety relates in a significantly negative way with the perception of cohesion (GI-T e ATG-T) in the total number of participants and in male athletes. Relatively to the somatic anxiety, it only relates negatively with the perception of the integration of the group in the total number of participants and in the male gender.
Group Dynamics; cohesion; anxiety; soccer
The alcohol treatment field has focused on promoting screening and brief intervention (SBI) in medically based settings, particularly primary care. In this Commentary, we consider the potential unintended consequences for disparities in access to care for alcohol problems. National data show significant racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in the rates at which at-risk drinkers and persons with alcohol use disorders come into contact with primary care providers. This suggests that implementing SBI in mostly primary care settings could inadvertently widen the gap in alcohol-related health disparities. To ensure that all populations in need benefit from this evidence-based treatment, SBI should be considered and adapted for a wider range of service venues, including Federally Qualified Health Centers and non-medical venues frequented by racial/ethnic minorities and the uninsured.
Alcohol consumption, smoking and weight problems are common risk factors for different health problems. We examine how these risk factors are associated with the use of health care services.
Data for 6500 individuals in the 25–64 age group came from three cross-sectional postal surveys conducted in 2004, 2006, and 2008 in Estonia. The effect of alcohol consumption, smoking and weight problems on the use of primary and specialist care services, hospitalizations and ambulance calls was analysed separately for men and women by using binary logistic regression.
Overweight and/or obesity were strongly related to the use of primary care and out-patient specialist services for both genders, and to hospitalizations and ambulance calls for women. Current smoking was related to ambulance calls for both genders, whereas smoking in the past was related to the use of primary care and specialist services among men and to hospitalizations among women. Beer drinking was negatively associated with all types of health care services and similar association was found between wine drinking and hospitalizations. Wine drinking was positively related to specialist visits. The frequent drinking of strong alcohol led to an increased risk for ambulance calls. Drinking light alcoholic drinks was positively associated with all types of health care services (except ambulance calls) among men and with the use of specialist services among women.
Overweight and smoking had the largest impact on health care utilization in Estonia. Considering the high prevalence of these behavioural risk factors, health policies should prioritize preventive programs that promote healthy lifestyles in order to decrease the disease burden and to reduce health care costs.
Health care utilization; Smoking; Alcohol; Overweight; Obesity
This article explores the transfer of World Health Organization's (WHO) policy initiative Health for All by the Year 2000 (HFA2000) into national contexts by using the changes in the public health policies of Finland and Portugal from the 1970's onward and the relationship of these changes to WHO policy development as test cases. Finland and Portugal were chosen to be compared as they represent different welfare state types and as the paradigmatic transition from the old to new public health is assumed to be related to the wider welfare state development.
The policy transfer approach is used as a conceptual tool to analyze the possible policy changes related to the adaptation of HFA into the national context. To be able to analyze not only the content but also the contextual conditions of policy transfer Kingdon's analytical framework of policy analysis is applied.
Our analysis suggests that no significant change of health promotion policy resulted from the launch of HFA program neither in Finland nor in Portugal. Instead the changes that occurred in both countries were of incremental nature, in accordance with the earlier policy choices, and the adaptation of HFA program was mainly applied to the areas where there were national traditions.
Excessive drinking and alcohol dependence are common and costly public health problems. Anecdotal and systematic evidence suggests that such problems are under-detected in the primary care setting, and that the latest generation of pharmacological treatments is under-utilized. Several screening instruments are available for the detection of alcohol problems; we discuss epidemiological data gathered using one such instrument, the Patient Health Questionnaire alcohol abuse module. In a random sample of 917 adults from the general population greater St. Louis, 19.6% of respondents screened positive for “probable alcohol abuse or dependence”. While this is likely to be too high for an estimate of serious cases of alcoholism, evidence suggests that those who screen positive are much more likely to drink heavily on a regular basis, and to score low on a measure of mental-health related quality of life than those who do not screen positive. Hence, screening positive is indicative of unhealthy drinking patterns. The regular use of such instruments in primary care settings could facilitate patient-physician communication regarding alcohol problems, thereby improving detection and leading to greater utilization of appropriate medical treatment, including pharmacotherapy.
Alcohol Abuse; Alcohol Dependence; Heavy Drinking; Quality of Life; Screening
Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) Software has been developed for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to allow States to calculate mortality, years of potential life lost (YPLL), direct health-care costs, indirect morbidity and mortality costs, and nonhealth-sector costs associated with alcohol use and misuse. The mortality related measures--mortality, YPLL, and indirect mortality costs--are computed for 35 diagnoses related to alcohol use and misuse. A review of clinical research studies and injury surveillance studies was conducted to produce estimates of the alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF) for each diagnosis. For these measures, age-specific and age-adjusted rates are also calculated. Health care costs, morbidity costs, and nonhealth-sector costs are prorated from national studies to the State or locality. This multiple-measure approach to quantifying a health problem is termed "disease impact estimation." National estimates of the disease impact of alcohol use and misuse have been produced using ARDI software and State-specific estimates are in preparation. Designed to CDC specifications, ARDI is completely menu-driven and operates within Lotus 1-2-3 software as a set of linked spreadsheets. ARDI adapts national epidemiologic and health economics methods for use by State and local health agencies. ARDI produces data on the health consequences of alcohol use and misuse for use by locally based policymakers, public health professionals, and researchers, while permitting comparison and compilation of these data across jurisdictions.