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1.  Behavioural Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes 
Executive Summary
In June 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Diabetes Strategy Evidence Project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding strategies for successful management and treatment of diabetes. This project came about when the Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the Ministry’s newly released Diabetes Strategy.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified five key areas in which evidence was needed. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these five areas: insulin pumps, behavioural interventions, bariatric surgery, home telemonitoring, and community based care. For each area, an economic analysis was completed where appropriate and is described in a separate report.
To review these titles within the Diabetes Strategy Evidence series, please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html,
Diabetes Strategy Evidence Platform: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Pumps for Type 1 and Type 2 Adult Diabetics: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Bariatric Surgery for People with Diabetes and Morbid Obesity: An Evidence-Based Summary
Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telemonitoring for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Application of the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) to Determine the Cost-effectiveness and Budget Impact of Selected Type 2 Diabetes Interventions in Ontario
Objective
The objective of this report is to determine whether behavioural interventions1 are effective in improving glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Background
Diabetes is a serious chronic condition affecting millions of people worldwide and is the sixth leading cause of death in Canada. In 2005, an estimated 8.8% of Ontario’s population had diabetes, representing more than 816,000 Ontarians. The direct health care cost of diabetes was $1.76 billion in the year 2000 and is projected to rise to a total cost of $3.14 billion by 2016. Much of this cost arises from the serious long-term complications associated with the disease including: coronary heart disease, stroke, adult blindness, limb amputations and kidney disease.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90–95% of diabetes and while type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in people aged 40 years and older, prevalence in younger populations is increasing due to a rise in obesity and physical inactivity in children.
Data from the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) has shown that tight glycemic control can significantly reduce the risk of developing serious complications in type 2 diabetics. Despite physicians’ and patients’ knowledge of the importance of glycemic control, Canadian data has shown that only 38% of patients with diabetes have HbA1C levels in the optimal range of 7% or less. This statistic highlights the complexities involved in the management of diabetes, which is characterized by extensive patient involvement in addition to the support provided by physicians. An enormous demand is, therefore, placed on patients to self-manage the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of living with a chronic illness.
Despite differences in individual needs to cope with diabetes, there is general agreement for the necessity of supportive programs for patient self-management. While traditional programs were didactic models with the goal of improving patients’ knowledge of their disease, current models focus on behavioural approaches aimed at providing patients with the skills and strategies required to promote and change their behaviour.
Several meta-analyses and systematic reviews have demonstrated improved health outcomes with self-management support programs in type 2 diabetics. They have all, however, either looked at a specific component of self-management support programs (i.e. self-management education) or have been conducted in specific populations. Most reviews are also qualitative and do not clearly define the interventions of interest, making findings difficult to interpret. Moreover, heterogeneity in the interventions has led to conflicting evidence on the components of effective programs. There is thus much uncertainty regarding the optimal design and delivery of these programs by policymakers.
Evidence-Based Analysis of Effectiveness
Research Questions
Are behavioural interventions effective in improving glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes?
Is the effectiveness of the intervention impacted by intervention characteristics (e.g. delivery of intervention, length of intervention, mode of instruction, interventionist etc.)?
Inclusion Criteria
English Language
Published between January 1996 to August 2008
Type 2 diabetic adult population (>18 years)
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
Systematic reviews, or meta-analyses
Describing a multi-faceted self-management support intervention as defined by the 2007 Self-Management Mapping Guide (1)
Reporting outcomes of glycemic control (HbA1c) with extractable data
Studies with a minimum of 6-month follow up
Exclusion Criteria
Studies with a control group other than usual care
Studies with a sample size <30
Studies without a clearly defined intervention
Outcomes of Interest
Primary outcome: glycemic control (HbA1c)
Secondary outcomes: systolic blood pressure (SBP) control, lipid control, change in smoking status, weight change, quality of life, knowledge, self-efficacy, managing psychosocial aspects of diabetes, assessing dissatisfaction and readiness to change, and setting and achieving diabetes goals.
Search Strategy
A search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 1996 and August 2008. Abstracts were reviewed by a single author and studies meeting the inclusion criteria outlined above were obtained. Data on population characteristics, glycemic control outcomes, and study design were extracted. Reference lists were also checked for relevant studies. The quality of the evidence was assessed as being either high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology.
Summary of Findings
The search identified 638 citations published between 1996 and August 2008, of which 12 met the inclusion criteria and one was a meta-analysis (Gary et al. 2003). The remaining 11 studies were RCTs (9 were used in the meta-analysis) and only one was defined as small (total sample size N=47).
Summary of Participant Demographics across studies
A total of 2,549 participants were included in the 11 identified studies. The mean age of participants reported was approximately 58 years and the mean duration of diabetes was approximately 6 years. Most studies reported gender with a mean percentage of females of approximately 67%. Of the eleven studies, two focused only on women and four included only Hispanic individuals. All studies evaluated type 2 diabetes patients exclusively.
Study Characteristics
The studies were conducted between 2002 and 2008. Approximately six of 11 studies were carried out within the USA, with the remaining studies conducted in the UK, Sweden, and Israel (sample size ranged from 47 to 824 participants). The quality of the studies ranged from moderate to low with four of the studies being of moderate quality and the remaining seven of low quality (based on the Consort Checklist). Differences in quality were mainly due to methodological issues such as inadequate description of randomization, sample size calculation allocation concealment, blinding and uncertainty of the use of intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis. Patients were recruited from several settings: six studies from primary or general medical practices, three studies from the community (e.g. via advertisements), and two from outpatient diabetes clinics. A usual care control group was reported in nine of 11 of the studies and two studies reported some type of minimal diabetes care in addition to usual care for the control group.
Intervention Characteristics
All of the interventions examined in the studies were mapped to the 2007 Self-management Mapping Guide. The interventions most often focused on problem solving, goal setting and encouraging participants to engage in activities that protect and promote health (e.g. modifying behaviour, change in diet, and increase physical activity). All of the studies examined comprehensive interventions targeted at least two self-care topics (e.g. diet, physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, foot care, etc.). Despite the homogeneity in the aims of the interventions, there was substantial clinical heterogeneity in other intervention characteristics such as duration, intensity, setting, mode of delivery (group vs. individual), interventionist, and outcomes of interest (discussed below).
Duration, Intensity and Mode of Delivery
Intervention durations ranged from 2 days to 1 year, with many falling into the range of 6 to 10 weeks. The rest of the interventions fell into categories of ≤ 2 weeks (2 studies), 6 months (2 studies), or 1 year (3 studies). Intensity of the interventions varied widely from 6 hours over 2 days, to 52 hours over 1 year; however, the majority consisted of interventions of 6 to 15 hours. Both individual and group sessions were used to deliver interventions. Group counselling was used in five studies as a mode of instruction, three studies used both individual and group sessions, and one study used individual sessions as its sole mode of instruction. Three studies also incorporated the use of telephone support as part of the intervention.
Interventionists and Setting
The following interventionists were reported (highest to lowest percentage, categories not mutually exclusive): nurse (36%), dietician (18%), physician (9%), pharmacist (9%), peer leader/community worker (18%), and other (36%). The ‘other’ category included interventionists such as consultants and facilitators with unspecified professional backgrounds. The setting of most interventions was community-based (seven studies), followed by primary care practices (three studies). One study described an intervention conducted in a pharmacy setting.
Outcomes
Duration of follow up of the studies ranged from 6 months to 8 years with a median follow-up duration of 12 months. Nine studies followed up patients at a minimum of two time points. Despite clear reporting of outcomes at follow up time points, there was poor reporting on whether the follow up was measured from participant entry into study or from end of intervention. All studies reported measures of glycemic control, specifically HbA1c levels. BMI was measured in five studies, while body weight was reported in two studies. Cholesterol was examined in three studies and blood pressure reduction in two. Smoking status was only examined in one of the studies. Additional outcomes examined in the trials included patient satisfaction, quality of life, diabetes knowledge, diabetes medication reduction, and behaviour modification (i.e. daily consumption of fruits/vegetables, exercise etc). Meta-analysis of the studies identified a moderate but significant reduction in HbA1c levels -0.44% 95%CI: -0.60, -0.29) for behavioural interventions in comparison to usual care for adults with type 2 diabetes. Subgroup analyses suggested the largest effects in interventions which were of at least duration and interventions in diabetics with higher baseline HbA1c (≥9.0). The quality of the evidence according to GRADE for the overall estimate was moderate and the quality of evidence for the subgroup analyses was identified as low.
Summary of Meta-Analysis of Studies Investigating the Effectiveness of Behavioural Interventions on HbA1c in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.
Based on one study
Conclusions
Based on moderate quality evidence, behavioural interventions as defined by the 2007 Self-management mapping guide (Government of Victoria, Australia) produce a moderate reduction in HbA1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes compared with usual care.
Based on low quality evidence, the interventions with the largest effects are those:
- in diabetics with higher baseline HbA1c (≥9.0)
- in which the interventions were of at least 1 year in duration
PMCID: PMC3377516  PMID: 23074526
2.  Effectiveness of moving on: an Australian designed generic self-management program for people with a chronic illness 
Background
This paper presents the evaluation of “Moving On”, a generic self-management program for people with a chronic illness developed by Arthritis NSW. The program aims to help participants identify their need for behaviour change and acquire the knowledge and skills to implement changes that promote their health and quality of life.
Method
A prospective pragmatic randomised controlled trial involving two group programs in community settings: the intervention program (Moving On) and a control program (light physical activity). Participants were recruited by primary health care providers across the north-west region of metropolitan Sydney, Australia between June 2009 and October 2010. Patient outcomes were self-reported via pre- and post-program surveys completed at the time of enrolment and sixteen weeks after program commencement. Primary outcomes were change in self-efficacy (Self-efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease 6-Item Scale), self-management knowledge and behaviour and perceived health status (Self-Rated Health Scale and the Health Distress Scale).
Results
A total of 388 patient referrals were received, of whom 250 (64.4%) enrolled in the study. Three patients withdrew prior to allocation. 25 block randomisations were performed by a statistician external to the research team: 123 patients were allocated to the intervention program and 124 were allocated to the control program.
97 (78.9%) of the intervention participants commenced their program. The overall attrition rate of 40.5% included withdrawals from the study and both programs. 24.4% of participants withdrew from the intervention program but not the study and 22.6% withdrew from the control program but not the study. A total of 62 patients completed the intervention program and follow-up evaluation survey and 77 patients completed the control program and follow-up evaluation survey.
At 16 weeks follow-up there was no significant difference between intervention and control groups in self-efficacy; however, there was an increase in self-efficacy from baseline to follow-up for the intervention participants (t=−1.948, p=0.028). There were no significant differences in self-rated health or health distress scores between groups at follow-up, with both groups reporting a significant decrease in health distress scores. There was no significant difference between or within groups in self-management knowledge and stage of change of behaviours at follow-up. Intervention group attenders had significantly higher physical activity (t=−4.053, p=0.000) and nutrition scores (t=2.315, p= 0.01) at follow-up; however, these did not remain significant after adjustment for covariates. At follow-up, significantly more participants in the control group (20.8%) indicated that they did not have a self-management plan compared to those in the intervention group (8.8%) (X2=4.671, p=0.031). There were no significant changes in other self-management knowledge areas and behaviours after adjusting for covariates at follow-up.
Conclusions
The study produced mixed findings. Differences between groups as allocated were diluted by the high proportion of patients not completing the program. Further monitoring and evaluation are needed of the impact and cost effectiveness of the program.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12609000298213
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-90
PMCID: PMC3605265  PMID: 23497326
Self-management; Primary health care; Self-efficacy; Chronic illness
3.  Multi-centre parallel arm randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a group-based cognitive behavioural approach to managing fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:43.
Background
Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported and debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS); approximately two-thirds of people with MS consider it to be one of their three most troubling symptoms. It may limit or prevent participation in everyday activities, work, leisure, and social pursuits, reduce psychological well-being and is one of the key precipitants of early retirement. Energy effectiveness approaches have been shown to be effective in reducing MS-fatigue, increasing self-efficacy and improving quality of life. Cognitive behavioural approaches have been found to be effective for managing fatigue in other conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, and more recently, in MS. The aim of this pragmatic trial is to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a recently developed group-based fatigue management intervention (that blends cognitive behavioural and energy effectiveness approaches) compared with current local practice.
Methods/Design
This is a multi-centre parallel arm block-randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a six session group-based fatigue management intervention, delivered by health professionals, compared with current local practice. 180 consenting adults with a confirmed diagnosis of MS and significant fatigue levels, recruited via secondary/primary care or newsletters/websites, will be randomised to receive the fatigue management intervention or current local practice. An economic evaluation will be undertaken alongside the trial. Primary outcomes are fatigue severity, self-efficacy and disease-specific quality of life. Secondary outcomes include fatigue impact, general quality of life, mood, activity patterns, and cost-effectiveness. Outcomes in those receiving the fatigue management intervention will be measured 1 week prior to, and 1, 4, and 12 months after the intervention (and at equivalent times in those receiving current local practice). A qualitative component will examine what aspects of the fatigue management intervention participants found helpful/unhelpful and barriers to change.
Discussion
This trial is the fourth stage of a research programme that has followed the Medical Research Council guidance for developing and evaluating complex interventions. What makes the intervention unique is that it blends cognitive behavioural and energy effectiveness approaches. A potential strength of the intervention is that it could be integrated into existing service delivery models as it has been designed to be delivered by staff already working with people with MS. Service users will be involved throughout this research.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN76517470
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-43
PMCID: PMC2905353  PMID: 20553617
4.  A pragmatic parallel arm multi-centre randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a group-based fatigue management programme (FACETS) for people with multiple sclerosis 
Background
Fatigue is a common and troubling symptom for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Aim
To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a six-session group-based programme for managing MS-fatigue (Fatigue: Applying Cognitive behavioural and Energy effectiveness Techniques to lifeStyle (FACETS)).
Methods
Three-centre parallel arm randomised controlled trial with economic evaluation. Patients with MS and significant fatigue were randomised to FACETS plus current local practice (FACETS) or current local practice alone (CLP), using concealed computer-generated randomisation. Participant blinding was not possible. Primary outcomes were fatigue severity (Fatigue Assessment Instrument), self-efficacy (Multiple Sclerosis-Fatigue Self-Efficacy) and disease-specific quality of life (Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29)) at 1 and 4 months postintervention (follow-up 1 and 2). Quality adjusted life years (QALYs) were calculated (EuroQoL 5-Dimensions questionnaire and the Short-form 6-Dimensions questionnaire).
Results
Between May 2008 and November 2009, 164 patients were randomised; primary outcome data were available for 146 (89%). Statistically significant differences favour the intervention group on fatigue self-efficacy at follow-up 1 (mean difference (MD) 9, 95% CI (4 to 14), standardised effect size (SES) 0.54, p=0.001) and follow-up 2 (MD 6, 95% CI (0 to 12), SES 0.36, p=0.05) and fatigue severity at follow-up 2 (MD −0.36, 95% CI (−0.63 to −0.08), SES −0.35, p=0.01) but no differences for MSIS-29 or QALYs. No adverse events reported. Estimated cost per person for FACETS is £453; findings suggest an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £2157 per additional person with a clinically significant improvement in fatigue.
Conclusions
FACETS is effective in reducing fatigue severity and increasing fatigue self-efficacy. However, it is difficult to assess the additional cost in terms of cost-effectiveness (ie, cost per QALY) as improvements in fatigue are not reflected in the QALY outcomes, with no significant differences between FACETS and CLP. The strengths of this trial are its pragmatic nature and high external validity.
Trial registration:
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN76517470.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-303816
PMCID: PMC3786656  PMID: 23695501
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS; RANDOMISED TRIALS; QUALITY OF LIFE; PSYCHOLOGY; INTERVENTIONAL
5.  RESTORE: an exploratory trial of an online intervention to enhance self-efficacy to manage problems associated with cancer-related fatigue following primary cancer treatment: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:184.
Background
There are over 25 million people worldwide living with or beyond cancer and this number is increasing. Cancer survivors face a range of problems following primary treatment. One of the most frequently reported and distressing symptoms experienced by cancer survivors is fatigue. There is growing support for survivors who are experiencing problems after cancer treatment to engage in supported self-management. To date there is some evidence of effective interventions to manage fatigue in this population; however, to our knowledge there are no online resources that draw on this information to support self-management of fatigue. This paper describes the protocol for an exploratory randomized controlled trial of an online intervention to support self-management of cancer-related fatigue after primary cancer treatment.
Methods/design
This is a parallel-group two-armed (1:1) exploratory randomized controlled trial including 125 cancer survivors experiencing fatigue (scoring ≥4 on a unidimensional 11-point numeric rating scale for fatigue intensity) within five years of primary treatment completion with curative intent. Participants will be recruited from 13 NHS Trusts across the UK and randomized to either the online intervention (RESTORE), or a leaflet comparator (Macmillan Cancer Backup, Coping with Fatigue). The primary outcome is a change in Perceived Self-Efficacy for Fatigue Self-Management (as measured by the Perceived Self-Efficacy for Fatigue Self-Management Instrument). Secondary outcomes include impact on perception and experience of fatigue (measured by the Brief Fatigue Inventory), and quality of life (measured by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - General and the Personal Wellbeing Index). Outcome measures will be collected at baseline, 6 weeks (completion of intervention), and 3 months. Process evaluation (including telephone interviews with recruiting staff and participants) will determine acceptability of the intervention and trial processes.
Discussion
Data from this trial will be used to refine the intervention and contribute to the design of an effectiveness trial. This intervention will be expanded to address other cancer-related problems important to cancer survivors following primary cancer treatment.
Trial registration
ISRCTN67521059
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-184
PMCID: PMC3698162  PMID: 23786716
Cancer survivors; Fatigue; Online; Self-efficacy; Self-management
6.  Design of the Physical exercise during Adjuvant Chemotherapy Effectiveness Study (PACES):A randomized controlled trial to evaluate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of physical exercise in improving physical fitness and reducing fatigue 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:673.
Background
Cancer chemotherapy is frequently associated with a decline in general physical condition, exercise tolerance, and muscle strength and with an increase in fatigue. While accumulating evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise interventions during chemotherapy treatment may contribute to maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness and strength, the results of studies conducted to date have not been consistent. Additional research is needed to determine the optimal intensity of exercise training programs in general and in particular the relative effectiveness of supervised, outpatient (hospital- or physical therapy practice-based) versus home-based programs.
Methods
This multicenter, prospective, randomized trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a low to moderate intensity, home-based, self-management physical activity program, and a high intensity, structured, supervised exercise program, in maintaining or enhancing physical fitness (cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength), in minimizing fatigue and in enhancing the health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast or colon cancer (n = 360) are being recruited from twelve hospitals in the Netherlands, and randomly allocated to one of the two treatment groups or to a 'usual care' control group. Performance-based and self-reported outcomes are assessed at baseline, at the end of chemotherapy and at six month follow-up.
Discussion
This large, multicenter, randomized clinical trial will provide additional empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of physical exercise during adjuvant chemotherapy in enhancing physical fitness, minimizing fatigue, and maintaining or enhancing patients' quality of life. If demonstrated to be effective, exercise intervention programs will be a welcome addition to the standard program of care offered to patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy.
Trial registration
This study is registered at the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR 2159)
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-673
PMCID: PMC3002358  PMID: 21138561
7.  An intervention program with the aim to improve and maintain work productivity for workers with rheumatoid arthritis: design of a randomized controlled trial and cost-effectiveness study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:496.
Background
Workers with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often experience restrictions in functioning at work and participation in employment. Strategies to maintain work productivity exist, but these interventions do not involve the actual workplace. Therefore the aim of this study is to investigate the (cost)effectiveness of an intervention program at the workplace on work productivity for workers with RA.
Methods/design
This study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in specialized rheumatology treatment centers in or near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Randomisation to either the control or the intervention group is performed at patient level. Both groups will receive care as usual by the rheumatologist, and patients in the intervention group will also take part in the intervention program. The intervention program consists of two components; integrated care, including a participatory workplace intervention. Integrated care involves a clinical occupational physician, who will act as care manager, to coordinate the care. The care manager has an intermediate role between clinical and occupational care. The participatory workplace intervention will be guided by an occupational therapist, and involves problem solving by the patient and the patients’ supervisor. The aim of the workplace intervention is to achieve consensus between patient and supervisor concerning feasible solutions for the obstacles for functioning at work. Data collection will take place at baseline and after 6 and 12 months by means of a questionnaire. The primary outcome measure is work productivity, measured by hours lost from work due to presenteeism. Secondary outcome measures include sick leave, quality of life, pain and fatigue. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention program will be evaluated from the societal perspective.
Discussion
Usual care of primary and outpatient health services is not aimed at improving work productivity. Therefore it is desirable to develop interventions aimed at improving functioning at work. If the intervention program will be (cost)effective, substantial improvements in work productivity might be obtained among workers with RA at lower costs. Results are expected in 2015.
Trial registration number
NTR2886
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-496
PMCID: PMC3528624  PMID: 22747949
8.  Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes 
Executive Summary
In June 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Diabetes Strategy Evidence Project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding strategies for successful management and treatment of diabetes. This project came about when the Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the Ministry’s newly released Diabetes Strategy.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified five key areas in which evidence was needed. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these five areas: insulin pumps, behavioural interventions, bariatric surgery, home telemonitoring, and community based care. For each area, an economic analysis was completed where appropriate and is described in a separate report.
To review these titles within the Diabetes Strategy Evidence series, please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site, http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html,
Diabetes Strategy Evidence Platform: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Pumps for Type 1 and Type 2 Adult Diabetics: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Bariatric Surgery for People with Diabetes and Morbid Obesity: An Evidence-Based Summary
Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telemonitoring for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Application of the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) to Determine the Cost-effectiveness and Budget Impact of Selected Type 2 Diabetes Interventions in Ontario
Objective
The objective of this report is to determine the efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Diabetes (i.e. diabetes mellitus) is a highly prevalent chronic metabolic disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to produce or effectively use insulin. The majority (90%) of diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes. (1) Based on the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), intensive blood glucose and blood pressure control significantly reduce the risk of microvascular and macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetics. While many studies have documented that patients often do not meet the glycemic control targets specified by national and international guidelines, factors associated with glycemic control are less well studied, one of which is the provider(s) of care.
Multidisciplinary approaches to care may be particularly important for diabetes management. According guidelines from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), the diabetes health care team should be multi-and interdisciplinary. Presently in Ontario, the core diabetes health care team consists of at least a family physician and/or diabetes specialist, and diabetes educators (registered nurse and registered dietician).
Increasing the role played by allied health care professionals in diabetes care and their collaboration with physicians may represent a more cost-effective option for diabetes management. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have examined multidisciplinary care programs, but these have either been limited to a specific component of multidisciplinary care (e.g. intensified education programs), or were conducted as part of a broader disease management program, of which not all were multidisciplinary in nature. Most reviews also do not clearly define the intervention(s) of interest, making the evaluation of such multidisciplinary community programs challenging.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What is the evidence of efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care provided by at least a registered nurse, registered dietician and physician (primary care and/or specialist) for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care? [Henceforth referred to as Model 1]
What is the evidence of efficacy of specialized multidisciplinary community care provided by at least a pharmacist and a primary care physician for the management of type 2 diabetes compared to usual care? [Henceforth referred to as Model 2]
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports
Published between January 1, 2000 and September 28, 2008
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Type 2 diabetic adult population (≥18 years of age)
Total sample size ≥30
Describe specialized multidisciplinary community care defined as ambulatory-based care provided by at least two health care disciplines (of which at least one must be a specialist in diabetes) with integrated communication between the care providers.
Compared to usual care (defined as health care provision by non-specialist(s) in diabetes, such as primary care providers; may include referral to other health care professionals/services as necessary)
≥6 months follow-up
Exclusion Criteria
Studies where discrete results on diabetes cannot be abstracted
Predominantly home-based interventions
Inpatient-based interventions
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcomes for this review were glycosylated hemoglobin (rHbA1c) levels and systolic blood pressure (SBP).
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on September 28, 2008 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 1, 2000 and September 28, 2008. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Given the high clinical heterogeneity of the articles that met the inclusion criteria, specific models of specialized multidisciplinary community care were examined based on models of care that are currently being supported in Ontario, models of care that were commonly reported in the literature, as well as suggestions from an Expert Advisory Panel Meeting held on January 21, 2009.
Summary of Findings
The initial search yielded 2,116 unique citations, from which 22 RCTs trials and nine systematic reviews published were identified as meeting the eligibility criteria. Of these, five studies focused on care provided by at least a nurse, dietician, and physician (primary care and/or specialist) model of care (Model 1; see Table ES 1), while three studies focused on care provided by at least a pharmacist and primary care physician (Model 2; see Table ES 2).
Based on moderate quality evidence, specialized multidisciplinary community care Model 2 has demonstrated a statistically and clinically significant reduction in HbA1c of 1.0% compared with usual care. The effects of this model on SBP, however, are uncertain compared with usual care, based on very-low quality evidence. Specialized multidisciplinary community care Model 2 has demonstrated a statistically and clinically significant reduction in both HbA1c of 1.05% (based on high quality evidence) and SBP of 7.13 mm Hg (based on moderate quality evidence) compared to usual care. For both models, the evidence does not suggest a preferred setting of care delivery (i.e., primary care vs. hospital outpatient clinic vs. community clinic).
Summary of Results of Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Multidisciplinary Care Model 1
Mean change from baseline to follow-up between intervention and control groups
Summary of Results of Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Multidisciplinary Care Model 2
Mean change from baseline to follow-up between intervention and control groups
PMCID: PMC3377524  PMID: 23074528
9.  Protocol for the "four steps to control your fatigue (4-STEPS)" randomised controlled trial: a self-regulation based physical activity intervention for patients with unexplained chronic fatigue 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:202.
Background
Unexplained Chronic Fatigue is a medical condition characterized by the presence of persistent, severe and debilitating medically unexplained fatigue, leading to impaired functioning and lower quality of life. Research suggests that physical activity can contribute to the reduction of fatigue and other somatic symptoms and can thus significantly improve physical functioning and quality of life in these patients. Based on the self-regulation (SR) theory of behaviour change, we developed a brief physical activity program for patients suffering from unexplained chronic fatigue which focuses on the training of self-regulation skills, the "4-STEPS to control your fatigue" program.
Methods/Design
This is a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial (RCT) that will be carried out in local primary care centres and at the Portuguese Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Association. Patients aged between 18 and 65 and fulfilling operationalized criteria for Idiopathic Chronic Fatigue (ICF) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) will be recruited and randomly allocated to standard care (SC) or standard care plus a self-regulation based physical activity program (4-STEPS). Patients will be assessed at baseline, after the intervention (3 months) and at 12 months follow-up. The primary outcome is fatigue severity.
Discussion
The results of the RCT will provide information about the effectiveness of a brief self-regulation intervention for promoting physical activity in patients with unexplained chronic fatigue. If the program proves to be effective, it may be considered as an adjunctive treatment for these patients.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN: ISRCTN70763996
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-202
PMCID: PMC3359226  PMID: 22429404
Unexplained Chronic Fatigue; Physical activity; Self-Regulation; Randomized Controlled Trial
10.  P009: Fighting Fatigue: Designing a Multidisciplinary Intervention for Cancer-Related Fatigue 
Current Oncology  2012;19(5):e373.
Objectives:
This program was developed in response to the pervasiveness of fatigue reported by cancer patients. Patients of the Northeast Cancer Centre (necc), including those receiving care at one of 14 Community Oncology Clinic Network (cocn) sites, are routinely screened for distress using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (esas). Patients reporting cancerrelated fatigue (crf) were referred to the Supportive Care Program (scp) for individual interventions, including psychosocial, nutrition, and physiotherapy services. To ensure access for patients to receive guidance encompassing a variety of strategies for crf, a psychoeducational class was developed by an inter-professional team within the scp at necc.
Methods:
The scp created an inter-professional committee to develop an interactive, psychoeducational class for cancer patients. The focus was multidimensional, supported with current evidence-based guidelines on fatigue, and developed with expertise from the fields of social work, neuropsychology, nutrition, and physiotherapy. Additional input was received from a group of cancer survivors. A electronic slide presentation and patient workbook highlight objectives, including understanding crf, learning management strategies, and building a personalized plan. The class is professionally facilitated by members of the scp and offered monthly at the necc. Patients are welcome to bring caregivers. Several strategies to promote the intervention included centre-wide distribution of posters and information sessions for oncology health care providers.
Results:
An integrated psychoeducational intervention targeting crf was created and offered to patients of the necc beginning in spring 2012. Initial feedback via formal evaluation was overwhelmingly positive as it related to patients receiving evidence-based guidelines to self-manage crf.
Conclusions:
To improve accessibility for patients throughout Northeastern Ontario, this intervention will be offered by telemedicine in fall 2012. In future research, patient-reported outcomes for the management of crf will be tracked.
PMCID: PMC3457896
11.  Randomised controlled trial of a supervised exercise rehabilitation program for colorectal cancer survivors immediately after chemotherapy: study protocol 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:154.
Background
Colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis and the ensuing treatments can have a substantial impact on the physical and psychological health of survivors. As the number of CRC survivors increases, so too does the need to develop viable rehabilitation programs to help these survivors return to good health as quickly as possible. Exercise has the potential to address many of the adverse effects of CRC treatment; however, to date, the role of exercise in the rehabilitation of cancer patients immediately after the completion of treatment has received limited research attention. This paper presents the design of a randomised controlled trial which will evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a 12-week supervised aerobic exercise program (ImPACT Program) on the physiological and psychological markers of rehabilitation, in addition to biomarkers of standard haematological outcomes and the IGF axis.
Methods/Design
Forty CRC patients will be recruited through oncology clinics and randomised to an exercise group or a usual care control group. Baseline assessment will take place within 4 weeks of the patient completing adjuvant chemotherapy treatment. The exercise program for patients in the intervention group will commence a week after the baseline assessment. The program consists of three supervised moderate-intensity aerobic exercise sessions per week for 12 weeks. All participants will have assessments at baseline (0 wks), mid-intervention (6 wks), post-intervention (12 wks) and at a 6-week follow-up (18 wks). Outcome measures include cardio-respiratory fitness, biomarkers associated with health and survival, and indices of fatigue and quality of life. Process measures are participants' acceptability of, adherence to, and compliance with the exercise program, in addition to the safety of the program.
Discussion
The results of this study will provide valuable insight into the role of supervised exercise in improving life after CRC. Additionally, process analyses will inform the feasibility of implementing the program in a population of CRC patients immediately after completing chemotherapy.
Trial registration
ACTRN012606000395538
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-154
PMCID: PMC1973083  PMID: 17686184
12.  Wide Awake Parenting: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of a parenting program for the management of post-partum fatigue 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:26.
Background
Exhaustion and fatigue are commonly experienced by parents during the post-partum period, and can have implications for daily functioning, mental health and parenting practices. There is a need for the development of effective interventions to assist parents with the management of fatigue. This paper outlines the procedure for a randomised controlled study which aims to test the efficacy of Wide Awake Parenting, a program for the management of fatigue in the postnatal period.
Methods/design
Parents with an infant less than 6 months of age, and from seven Local Government Areas in Melbourne, Australia were invited to participate in this study. Parents were randomised to receive the Wide Awake Parenting program (intervention groups) or usual care (control group) offered by health services. The Wide Awake Parenting program provides parents with psycho-education and information about fatigue, and strategies to reduce its effects either via a self-directed method, or professionally led with a home visit and telephone support. Baseline data will be collected prior to randomisation, and further data will be collected at 2- and 6-weeks post intervention.
Discussion
To our knowledge this is the first randomised controlled trial of a program which compares the efficacy of a self-management approach and health professional assistance for the management of fatigue in the early post-partum period. If effective, it could offer an important, universal public health management approach to this common health concern.
Trial registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12611000133932.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-26
PMCID: PMC3553020  PMID: 23311498
Fatigue; Parents; Post-partum; Pycho-educational Intervention
13.  Self-Management Support Interventions for Persons With Chronic Disease 
Background
Self-management support interventions such as the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) are becoming more widespread in attempt to help individuals better self-manage chronic disease.
Objective
To systematically assess the clinical effectiveness of self-management support interventions for persons with chronic diseases.
Data Sources
A literature search was performed on January 15, 2012, using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for studies published between January 1, 2000, and January 15, 2012. A January 1, 2000, start date was used because the concept of non-disease-specific/general chronic disease self-management was first published only in 1999. Reference lists were examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Review Methods
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing self-management support interventions for general chronic disease against usual care were included for analysis. Results of RCTs were pooled using a random-effects model with standardized mean difference as the summary statistic.
Results
Ten primary RCTs met the inclusion criteria (n = 6,074). Nine of these evaluated the Stanford CDSMP across various populations; results, therefore, focus on the CDSMP.
Health status outcomes: There was a small, statistically significant improvement in favour of CDSMP across most health status measures, including pain, disability, fatigue, depression, health distress, and self-rated health (GRADE quality low). There was no significant difference between modalities for dyspnea (GRADE quality very low). There was significant improvement in health-related quality of life according to the EuroQol 5-D in favour of CDSMP, but inconsistent findings across other quality-of-life measures.
Healthy behaviour outcomes: There was a small, statistically significant improvement in favour of CDSMP across all healthy behaviours, including aerobic exercise, cognitive symptom management, and communication with health care professionals (GRADE quality low).
Self-efficacy: There was a small, statistically significant improvement in self-efficacy in favour of CDSMP (GRADE quality low).
Health care utilization outcomes: There were no statistically significant differences between modalities with respect to visits with general practitioners, visits to the emergency department, days in hospital, or hospitalizations (GRADE quality very low).
All results were measured over the short term (median 6 months of follow-up).
Limitations
Trials generally did not appropriately report data according to intention-to-treat principles. Results therefore reflect “available case analyses,” including only those participants whose outcome status was recorded. For this reason, there is high uncertainty around point estimates.
Conclusions
The Stanford CDSMP led to statistically significant, albeit clinically minimal, short-term improvements across a number of health status measures (including some measures of health-related quality of life), healthy behaviours, and self-efficacy compared to usual care. However, there was no evidence to suggest that the CDSMP improved health care utilization. More research is needed to explore longer-term outcomes, the impact of self-management on clinical outcomes, and to better identify responders and non-responders.
Plain Language Summary
Self-management support interventions are becoming more common as a structured way of helping patients learn to better manage their chronic disease. To assess the effects of these support interventions, we looked at the results of 10 studies involving a total of 6,074 people with various chronic diseases, such as arthritis and chronic pain, chronic respiratory diseases, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Most trials focused on a program called the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). When compared to usual care, the CDSMP led to modest, short-term improvements in pain, disability, fatigue, depression, health distress, self-rated health, and health-related quality of life, but it is not possible to say whether these changes were clinically important. The CDSMP also increased how often people undertook aerobic exercise, how often they practiced stress/pain reduction techniques, and how often they communicated with their health care practitioners. The CDSMP did not reduce the number of primary care doctor visits, emergency department visits, the number of days in hospital, or the number of times people were hospitalized. In general, there was high uncertainty around the quality of the evidence, and more research is needed to better understand the effect of self-management support on long-term outcomes and on important clinical outcomes, as well as to better identify who could benefit most from self-management support interventions like the CDSMP.
PMCID: PMC3814807  PMID: 24194800
14.  Randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of progressive resistance training compared to progressive muscle relaxation in breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy: the BEST study 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:162.
Background
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most common and distressing side effects of cancer and its treatment. During and after radiotherapy breast cancer patients often suffer from CRF which frequently impairs quality of life (QoL). Despite the high prevalence of CRF in breast cancer patients and the severe impact on the physical and emotional well-being, effective treatment methods are scarce.
Physical activity for breast cancer patients has been reported to decrease fatigue, to improve emotional well-being and to increase physical strength. The pathophysiological and molecular mechanisms of CRF and the molecular-biologic changes induced by exercise, however, are poorly understood.
In the BEST trial we aim to assess the effects of resistance training on fatigue, QoL and physical fitness as well as on molecular, immunological and inflammatory changes in breast cancer patients during adjuvant radiotherapy.
Methods/design
The BEST study is a prospective randomized, controlled intervention trial investigating the effects of a 12-week supervised progressive resistance training compared to a 12-week supervised muscle relaxation training in 160 patients with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy. To determine the effect of exercise itself beyond potential psychosocial group effects, patients in the control group perform a group-based progressive muscle relaxation training. Main inclusion criterion is histologically confirmed breast cancer stage I-III after lumpectomy or mastectomy with indication for adjuvant radiotherapy. Main exclusion criteria are acute infectious diseases, severe neurological, musculosceletal or cardiorespiratory disorders. The primary endpoint is cancer-related fatigue; secondary endpoints include immunological and inflammatory parameters analyzed in peripheral blood, saliva and urine. In addition, QoL, depression, physical performance and cognitive capacity will be assessed.
Discussion
The BEST study is the first randomized controlled trial comparing progressive resistance training with muscle relaxation training in breast cancer patients during adjuvant radiotherapy. Based on the analysis of physiological, immunological and inflammatory parameters it will contribute to a better understanding of the physiological and psychosocial effects and the biological mechanisms of resistance training. The ultimate goal is the implementation of optimized intervention programs to reduce fatigue, improve quality of life and potentially the prognosis after breast cancer.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01468766
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-162
PMCID: PMC3617011  PMID: 23537231
15.  Does Effective Management of Sleep Disorders Reduce Cancer-Related Fatigue? 
Drugs  2009;69(Suppl 2):29-41.
Cancer and cancer therapy are often associated with symptoms such as fatigue and sleep disturbances, before, during and after therapy. These symptoms of fatigue and poor sleep often occur in parallel having a significant impact on the physical functioning of patients with cancer. A strong correlation between cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and sleep has been observed in several studies, suggesting that they may be reciprocally related. The co-clustering of these symptoms suggests that they may have similar underlying aetiology and that treatments targeting either symptom may positively affect the other. Studies examining these clusters have shown that these symptoms often co-vary together. The potential mechanisms that link the relationship between insomnia and CRF are intriguing but require further investigation. Despite the high prevalence of insomnia and the often bidirectional relationship between poor sleep and fatigue, there are limited data to support the use of sleep management interventions as a means to reduce fatigue in patients with cancer. Assessment of the available evidence across trials is complicated by different study designs, patient selection criteria, stage of cancer treatment and by the nature of the interventions studied. Improvements from baseline in both sleep parameters and CRF have been documented in a limited number of studies, including two randomized-controlled trials using cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). In contrast, the efficacy of pharmacological therapies in reducing both insomnia and CRF is largely lacking. Clearly, treating clinically significant insomnia is likely to have benefits for the patient with cancer and for those who are recovering from cancer. In particular, pharmacotherapies for insomnia, singly or in combination with CBT-I, should be evaluated in multicentre randomized clinical trials to examine their efficacy in improving sleep quality and reducing associated CRF.
doi:10.2165/11531140-000000000-00000
PMCID: PMC3138396  PMID: 20047349
16.  Randomised controlled trial of patient education to encourage graded exercise in chronic fatigue syndrome 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;322(7283):387.
Objective
To assess the efficacy of an educational intervention explaining symptoms to encourage graded exercise in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Design
Randomised controlled trial.
Setting
Chronic fatigue clinic and infectious diseases outpatient clinic.
Subjects
148 consecutively referred patients fulfilling Oxford criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Interventions
Patients randomised to the control group received standardised medical care. Patients randomised to intervention received two individual treatment sessions and two telephone follow up calls, supported by a comprehensive educational pack, describing the role of disrupted physiological regulation in fatigue symptoms and encouraging home based graded exercise. The minimum intervention group had no further treatment, but the telephone intervention group received an additional seven follow up calls and the maximum intervention group an additional seven face to face sessions over four months.
Main outcome measure
A score of ⩾25 or an increase of ⩾10 on the SF-36 physical functioning subscale (range 10 to 30) 12 months after randomisation.
Results
21 patients dropped out, mainly from the intervention groups. Intention to treat analysis showed 79 (69%) of patients in the intervention groups achieved a satisfactory outcome in physical functioning compared with two (6%) of controls, who received standardised medical care (P<0.0001). Similar improvements were observed in fatigue, sleep, disability, and mood. No significant differences were found between the three intervention groups.
Conclusions
Treatment incorporating evidence based physiological explanations for symptoms was effective in encouraging self managed graded exercise. This resulted in substantial improvement compared with standardised medical care.
PMCID: PMC26565  PMID: 11179154
17.  Development and pilot test of a peer-support based Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program: A study protocol 
Background
People with cardiac disease and type 2 diabetes have higher hospital readmission rates (22%) compared to those without diabetes (6%). Self-management is an effective approach to achieve better health outcomes; however there is a lack of specifically designed programs for patients with these dual conditions. This project aims to extend the development and pilot test of a Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program incorporating user-friendly technologies and the preparation of lay personnel to provide follow-up support.
Methods/Design
A randomised controlled trial will be used to explore the feasibility and acceptability of the Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program incorporating DVD case studies and trained peers to provide follow-up support by telephone and text-messaging. A total of 30 cardiac patients with type 2 diabetes will be randomised, either to the usual care group, or to the intervention group. Participants in the intervention group will received the Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management Program in addition to their usual care. The intervention consists of three face-to-face sessions as well as telephone and text-messaging follow up. The face-to-face sessions will be provided by a trained Research Nurse, commencing in the Coronary Care Unit, and continuing after discharge by trained peers. Peers will follow up patients for up to one month after discharge using text messages and telephone support. Data collection will be conducted at baseline (Time 1) and at one month (Time 2). The primary outcomes include self-efficacy, self-care behaviour and knowledge, measured by well established reliable tools.
Discussion
This paper presents the study protocol of a randomised controlled trial to pilot evaluates a Cardiac-Diabetes Self-Management program, and the feasibility of incorporating peers in the follow-ups. Results of this study will provide directions for using such mode in delivering a self-management program for patients with both cardiac condition and diabetes. Furthermore, it will provide valuable information of refinement of the intervention program.
Trial Registration Number
ACTRN12611000086965
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-74
PMCID: PMC3094205  PMID: 21481274
18.  Evaluation of a self-management programme for congestive heart failure patients: design of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Congestive heart failure (CHF) has a substantial impact on care utilisation and quality of life. It is crucial for patients to cope with CHF adequately, if they are to live an acceptable life. Self-management may play an important role in this regard. Previous studies have shown the effectiveness of the 'Chronic Disease Self-Management Program' (CDSMP), a group-based cognitive behavioural programme for patients with various chronic conditions. However, the programme's effectiveness has not yet been studied specifically among CHF patients. This paper presents the design of a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effects of the CDSMP on psychosocial attributes, health behaviour, quality of life, and health care utilisation of CHF patients.
Methods/Design
The programme is being evaluated in a two-group randomised controlled trial. Patients were eligible if they had been diagnosed with CHF and experienced slight to marked limitation of physical activity. They were selected from the Heart Failure and/or Cardiology Outpatient Clinics of six hospitals. Eligible patients underwent a baseline assessment and were subsequently allocated to the intervention or control group. Patients allocated to the intervention group were invited to attend the self-management programme consisting of six weekly sessions, led by a CHF nurse specialist and a CHF patient. Those allocated to the control group received care as usual. Follow-up measurements are being carried out immediately after the intervention period, and six and twelve months after the start of the intervention.
An effect evaluation and a process evaluation are being conducted. The primary outcomes of the effect evaluation are self-efficacy expectancies, perceived control, and cognitive symptom management. The secondary outcome measures are smoking and drinking behaviour, Body Mass Index (BMI), physical activity level, self-care behaviour, health-related quality of life, perceived autonomy, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and health care utilisation. The programme's feasibility is assessed by measuring compliance with the protocol, patients' attendance and adherence, and the opinions about the programme.
Discussion
A total number of 318 patients were included in the trial. At present, follow-up data are being collected. The results of the trial become clear after completion of the data collection in January 2007.
Trial Registration
Trialregister () ISRCTN88363287.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-91
PMCID: PMC1569834  PMID: 16857049
19.  Systematic Review of Abstinence-Plus HIV Prevention Programs in High-Income Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(9):e275.
Background
Abstinence-plus (comprehensive) interventions promote sexual abstinence as the best means of preventing HIV, but also encourage condom use and other safer-sex practices. Some critics of abstinence-plus programs have suggested that promoting safer sex along with abstinence may undermine abstinence messages or confuse program participants; conversely, others have suggested that promoting abstinence might undermine safer-sex messages. We conducted a systematic review to investigate the effectiveness of abstinence-plus interventions for HIV prevention among any participants in high-income countries as defined by the World Bank.
Methods and Findings
Cochrane Collaboration systematic review methods were used. We included randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials of abstinence-plus programs for HIV prevention among any participants in any high-income country; trials were included if they reported behavioural or biological outcomes. We searched 30 electronic databases without linguistic or geographical restrictions to February 2007, in addition to contacting experts, hand-searching conference abstracts, and cross-referencing papers. After screening 20,070 abstracts and 325 full published and unpublished papers, we included 39 trials that included approximately 37,724 North American youth. Programs were based in schools (10), community facilities (24), both schools and community facilities (2), health care facilities (2), and family homes (1). Control groups varied. All outcomes were self-reported. Quantitative synthesis was not possible because of heterogeneity across trials in programs and evaluation designs. Results suggested that many abstinence-plus programs can reduce HIV risk as indicated by self-reported sexual behaviours. Of 39 trials, 23 found a protective program effect on at least one sexual behaviour, including abstinence, condom use, and unprotected sex (baseline n = 19,819). No trial found adverse program effects on any behavioural outcome, including incidence of sex, frequency of sex, sexual initiation, or condom use. This suggests that abstinence-plus approaches do not undermine program messages encouraging abstinence, nor do they undermine program messages encouraging safer sex. Findings consistently favoured abstinence-plus programs over controls for HIV knowledge outcomes, suggesting that abstinence-plus programs do not confuse participants. Results for biological outcomes were limited by floor effects. Three trials assessed self-reported diagnosis or treatment of sexually transmitted infection; none found significant effects. Limited evidence from seven evaluations suggested that some abstinence-plus programs can reduce pregnancy incidence. No trial observed an adverse biological program effect.
Conclusions
Many abstinence-plus programs appear to reduce short-term and long-term HIV risk behaviour among youth in high-income countries. Programs did not cause harm. Although generalisability may be somewhat limited to North American adolescents, these findings have critical implications for abstinence-based HIV prevention policies. Suggestions are provided for improving the conduct and reporting of trials of abstinence-plus and other behavioural interventions to prevent HIV.
In their systematic review, Underhill and colleagues found that abstinence-plus programs appear to reduce short-term and long-term HIV risk behavior among youth in high-income countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, is most often spread through unprotected sex (vaginal, oral, or anal) with an infected partner. Individuals can reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV by abstaining from sex or delaying first sex, by being faithful to one partner or having few partners, and by always using a male or female condom. Various HIV prevention programs targeted at young people encourage these protective sexual behaviors. Abstinence-only programs (for example, Project Reality in the US) present no sex before marriage as the only means of reducing the risk of catching HIV. Abstinence-plus programs (for example, the UK Apause program) also promote sexual abstinence as the safest behavior choice to prevent HIV infection. However, recognizing that not everyone will remain abstinent, and that in many locations same-sex couples are not permitted to marry, abstinence-plus programs also encourage young people who do become sexually active to use condoms and other safer-sex strategies. Safer-sex programs, a third approach, teach people how to protect themselves from pregnancy and infections and might recommend delaying first sex until they are physically and emotionally ready, but do not promote sexual abstinence over safer-sex strategies such as condom use.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is considerable controversy, particularly in the US, about the relative merits of abstinence-based programs for HIV prevention. Abstinence-only programs, which the US government supports, have been criticized because they provide no information to protect participants who do become sexually active. Critics of abstinence-plus programs contend that teaching young people about safer sex undermines the abstinence message, confuses participants, and may encourage them to become sexually active. Conversely, some people worry that the promotion of abstinence might undermine the safer-sex messages of abstinence-plus programs. Little has been done, however, to look methodically at how these programs change sexual behavior. In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed studies of abstinence-plus interventions for HIV prevention in high-income countries to get an idea of their effect on sexual behavior.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In an extensive search for existing abstinence-plus studies, the researchers identified 39 trials done in high-income countries that compared the effects on sexual behavior of various abstinence-plus programs with the effects of no intervention or of other interventions designed to prevent HIV infection. All the trials met strict preset criteria (for example, trial participants had to have an unknown or negative HIV status), and all studies meeting the criteria turned out to involve young people in the US, Canada, or the Bahamas, nearly 40,000 participants in total. In 23 of the trials, the abstinence-plus program studied was found to improve at least one self-reported protective sexual behavior (for example, it increased abstinence or condom use) when compared to the other interventions in the trial; none of the trials reported a significant negative effect on any behavioral outcome. Limited evidence from a few trials indicated that some abstinence-plus programs reduced pregnancy rates, providing a biological indicator of program effectiveness. Conversely, there were no indications of adverse biological outcomes such as an increased occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases in any of the trials.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that some abstinence-plus programs reduce HIV risk behavior among young people in North America. Importantly, the findings do not uncover evidence of any abstinence-plus program causing harm. That is, fears that these programs might encourage young people to become sexually active earlier or confuse them about the use of condoms for HIV prevention seem unfounded. These findings may not apply to all abstinence-plus programs in high-income countries, do not include low-income countries, do not specifically address nonheterosexual risk behavior, and are subject to limited reliability in self-reporting of sexual activity by young people. Nonetheless, this analysis provides support for the use of abstinence-plus programs, particularly in light of another systematic review by the same authors (A systematic review of abstinence-only programs for prevention of HIV infection, published in the British Medical Journal), which found that abstinence-only programs did not reduce pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, or sexual behaviors that increase HIV risk. Abstinence-plus programs, these findings suggest, represent a reasonable strategy for HIV prevention among young people in high-income countries.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040275.
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases fact sheet on HIV infection and AIDS
• Information from the UK charity AVERT on all aspects of HIV and AIDS, including HIV and AIDS prevention
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet on HIV/AIDS among young people (in English and Spanish)
• Information on Project Reality, a US abstinence-only program
• Information on Reducing the Risk and on Apause, US and UK abstinence-plus programs, respectively
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040275
PMCID: PMC1976624  PMID: 17880259
20.  A Phase III Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial of the Effect of Modafinil on Cancer-Related Fatigue among 631 Patients Receiving Chemotherapy: A URCC CCOP Research Base Study 
Cancer  2010;116(14):3513-3520.
Background
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a debilitating symptom affecting psychosocial functioning and quality of life in 70 to 100% of cancer patients during and following treatment. We examined the effect of 200 mg of modafinil daily on the severity of CRF.
Methods
We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial to examine the effect of modafinil on patient-reported fatigue in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A sample of 877 cancer patients beginning chemotherapy at 23 geographically separate URCC CCOP affiliates were assessed for fatigue. Patients who reported fatigue (N=867) were randomly assigned to receive either 200 mg of oral modafinil (PROVIGIL®) daily or a placebo. Treatment began on Day 5 of Cycle 2 and ended after Day 7 of Cycle 4. Fatigue and depression were assessed during Cycles 2 to 4 using psychometrically valid measures. Group differences (treatment versus control) in the worst level of fatigue during the previous week at Cycle 4 were examined using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) adjusting for baseline fatigue (Cycle 2).
Results
631 patients (315 modafinil, 316 placebo) provided evaluable data. ANCOVA showed a significant interaction between treatment condition and baseline fatigue (p = 0.017), where patients with severe baseline fatigue (n=458) benefited from modafinil while patients with mild or moderate fatigue did not. Modafinil had no statistically significant effect on depression (p > 0.05).
Conclusion
Modafinil may be useful in controlling CRF in patients presenting with severe fatigue but not in patients with mild or moderate fatigue.
doi:10.1002/cncr.25083
PMCID: PMC2941794  PMID: 20564068
Cancer-Related Fatigue; Cancer Side Effects; Symptom Management; Cancer; Chemotherapy; Cancer; Behavioral Oncology
21.  Acupressure for persistent cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors (AcuCrft): a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Despite high levels of clinically significant persistent cancer related fatigue in breast cancer survivors few treatments are currently available and most pose a significant burden on the part of the woman. Acupressure, a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has been shown to decrease fatigue levels by as much as 70% in cancer survivors while being inexpensive, non-toxic and an easy to use intervention. The primary aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of two types of self-administered acupressure (relaxation acupressure and stimulating acupressure), compared to standard of care on fatigue severity. Secondary aims were to evaluate the efficacy of two types of acupressure on sleep and kinetic parameters required for implementation of acupressure in a clinical setting; The purpose of this paper is to share the methodology used including challenges and insights.
Methods/design
This study is a three group, randomized clinical trial. 375 breast cancer survivors at least 12 months after completion of cancer treatments, with moderate to severe persistent fatigue, are being randomized to one of 3 groups: self-administered relaxation acupressure; self-administered stimulating acupressure; or standard of care. Participants are assessed at baseline, 3 weeks, and 6 weeks followed by a 4-week follow-up period. The primary aim is to examine the effect of 6-weeks of relaxation acupressure compared to stimulatory acupressure or standard of care on fatigue as assessed by: weekly self-report using the Brief Fatigue Inventory; objective daytime physical activity on actigraph; or fatigue patterns assessed 4-times daily using a visual analog scale. Secondary endpoints include depression, anxiety, self-efficacy, and sleep quality.
Discussion
This study has the potential to develop a low-cost, self-care intervention for the most troubling of late-term effects in breast cancer populations, fatigue. The methods used may lend constructive ideas to other investigators working with this population and/or intervention.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrial.Gov Trials Register NCT01281904
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-132
PMCID: PMC3492211  PMID: 22909076
Acupressure; Persistent fatigue; Breast cancer; Cancer survivor; Sleep quality; Ecological momentary assessment; Traditional Chinese Medicine; Actigraphy
22.  Physiotherapy Rehabilitation After Total Knee or Hip Replacement 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology policy analysis was to determine, where, how, and when physiotherapy services are best delivered to optimize functional outcomes for patients after they undergo primary (first-time) total hip replacement or total knee replacement, and to determine the Ontario-specific economic impact of the best delivery strategy. The objectives of the systematic review were as follows:
To determine the effectiveness of inpatient physiotherapy after discharge from an acute care hospital compared with outpatient physiotherapy delivered in either a clinic-based or home-based setting for primary total joint replacement patients
To determine the effectiveness of outpatient physiotherapy delivered by a physiotherapist in either a clinic-based or home-based setting in addition to a home exercise program compared with a home exercise program alone for primary total joint replacement patients
To determine the effectiveness of preoperative exercise for people who are scheduled to receive primary total knee or hip replacement surgery
Clinical Need
Total hip replacements and total knee replacements are among the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Ontario. Physiotherapy rehabilitation after first-time total hip or knee replacement surgery is accepted as the standard and essential treatment. The aim is to maximize a person’s functionality and independence and minimize complications such as hip dislocation (for hip replacements), wound infection, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.
The Therapy
The physiotherapy rehabilitation routine has 4 components: therapeutic exercise, transfer training, gait training, and instruction in the activities of daily living. Physiotherapy rehabilitation for people who have had total joint replacement surgery varies in where, how, and when it is delivered. In Ontario, after discharge from an acute care hospital, people who have had a primary total knee or hip replacement may receive inpatient or outpatient physiotherapy. Inpatient physiotherapy is delivered in a rehabilitation hospital or specialized hospital unit. Outpatient physiotherapy is done either in an outpatient clinic (clinic-based) or in the person’s home (home-based). Home-based physiotherapy may include practising an exercise program at home with or without supplemental support from a physiotherapist.
Finally, physiotherapy rehabilitation may be administered at several points after surgery, including immediately postoperatively (within the first 5 days) and in the early recovery period (within the first 3 months) after discharge. There is a growing interest in whether physiotherapy should start before surgery. A variety of practises exist, and evidence regarding the optimal pre- and post-acute course of rehabilitation to obtain the best outcomes is needed.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat used its standard search strategy, which included searching the databases of Ovid MEDLINE, CINHAL, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and PEDro from 1995 to 2005. English-language articles including systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), non-RCTs, and studies with a sample size of greater than 10 patients were included. Studies had to include patients undergoing primary total hip or total knee replacement, aged 18 years of age or older, and they had to have investigated one of the following comparisons: inpatient rehabilitation versus outpatient (clinic- or home-based therapy) rehabilitation, land-based post-acute care physiotherapy delivered by a physiotherapist compared with patient self-administered exercise and a land-based exercise program before surgery. The primary outcome was postoperative physical functioning. Secondary outcomes included the patient’s assessment of therapeutic effect (overall improvement), perceived pain intensity, health services utilization, treatment side effects, and adverse events
The quality of the methods of the included studies was assessed using the criteria outlined in the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group Quality Assessment Tool. After this, a summary of the biases threatening study validity was determined. Four methodological biases were considered: selection bias, performance bias, attrition bias, and detection bias. A meta-analysis was conducted when adequate data were available from 2 or more studies and where there was no statistical or clinical heterogeneity among studies. The GRADE system was used to summarize the overall quality of evidence.
Summary of Findings
The search yielded 422 citations; of these, 12 were included in the review including 10 primary studies (9 RCTs, 1 non-RCT) and 2 systematic reviews.
The Medical Advisory Secretariat review included 2 primary studies (N = 334) that examined the effectiveness of an inpatient physiotherapy rehabilitation program compared with an outpatient home-based physiotherapy program on functional outcomes after total knee or hip replacement surgery. One study, available only as an abstract, found no difference in functional outcome at 1 year after surgery (TKR or THR) between the treatments. The other study was an observational study that found that patients who are younger than 71 years of age on average, who do not live alone, and who do not have comorbid illnesses recover adequate function with outpatient home-based physiotherapy. However results were only measured up to 3 months after surgery, and the outcome measure they used is not considered the best one for physical functioning.
Three primary studies (N = 360) were reviewed that tested the effectiveness of outpatient home-based or clinic-based physiotherapy in addition to a self-administered home exercise program, compared with a self-administered exercise program only or in addition to using another therapy (phone calls or continuous passive movement), on postoperative physical functioning after primary TKR surgery. Two of the studies reported no difference in change from baseline in flexion range of motion between those patients receiving outpatient or home-based physiotherapy and doing a home exercise program compared with patients who did a home exercise program only with or without continuous passive movement. The other study reported no difference in the Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores between patients receiving clinic-based physiotherapy and practising a home exercise program and those who received monitoring phone calls and did a home exercise program after TKR surgery.
The Medical Advisory Secretariat reviewed two systematic reviews evaluating the effects of preoperative exercise on postoperative physical functioning. One concluded that preoperative exercise is not effective in improving functional recovery or pain after TKR and any effects after THR could not be adequately determined. The other concluded that there was inconclusive evidence to determine the benefits of preoperative exercise on functional recovery after TKR. Because 2 primary studies were added to the published literature since the publication of these systematic reviews the Medical Advisory Secretariat revisited the question of effectiveness of a preoperative exercise program for patients scheduled for TKR ad THR surgery.
The Medical Advisory Secretariat also reviewed 3 primary studies (N = 184) that tested the effectiveness of preoperative exercise beginning 4-6 weeks before surgery on postoperative outcomes after primary TKR surgery. All 3 studies reported negative findings with regard to the effectiveness of preoperative exercise to improve physical functioning after TKR surgery. However, 2 failed to show an effect of the preoperative exercise program before surgery in those patients receiving preoperative exercise. The third study did not measure functional outcome immediately before surgery in the preoperative exercise treatment group; therefore the study’s authors could not document an effect of the preoperative exercise program before surgery. Regarding health services utilization, 2 of the studies did not find significant differences in either the length of the acute care hospital stay or the inpatient rehabilitation care setting between patients treated with a preoperative exercise program and those not treated. The third study did not measure health services utilization.
These results must be interpreted within the limitations and the biases of each study. Negative results do not necessarily support a lack of treatment effect but may be attributed to a type II statistical error.
Finally, the Medical Advisory Secretariat reviewed 2 primary studies (N = 136) that examined the effectiveness of preoperative exercise on postoperative functional outcomes after primary THR surgery. One study did not support the effectiveness of an exercise program beginning 8 weeks before surgery. However, results from the other did support the effectiveness of an exercise program 8 weeks before primary THR surgery on pain and functional outcomes 1 week before and 3 weeks after surgery.
Conclusions
Based on the evidence, the Medical Advisory Secretariat reached the following conclusions with respect to physiotherapy rehabilitation and physical functioning 1 year after primary TKR or THR surgery:
There is high-quality evidence from 1 large RCT to support the use of home-based physiotherapy instead of inpatient physiotherapy after primary THR or TKR surgery.
There is low-to-moderate quality evidence from 1 large RCT to support the conclusion that receiving a monitoring phone call from a physiotherapist and practising home exercises is comparable to receiving clinic-based physiotherapy and practising home exercises for people who have had primary TKR surgery. However, results may not be generalizable to those who have had THR surgery.
There is moderate evidence to suggest that an exercise program beginning 4 to 6 weeks before primary TKR surgery is not effective.
There is moderate evidence to support the effectiveness of an exercise program beginning 8 weeks before surgery to improve physical functioning 3 weeks after THR surgery.
PMCID: PMC3382414  PMID: 23074477
23.  Evaluating an evidence-based curriculum in undergraduate palliative care education: piloting a phase II exploratory trial for a complex intervention 
Background
By 2013 Palliative Care will become a mandatory examination subject in the medical curriculum in Germany. There is a pressing need for effective and well-designed curricula and assessment methods. Debates are on going as how Undergraduate Palliative Care Education (UPCE) should be taught and how knowledge and skills should be assessed. It is evident by this time that the development process of early curricula in the US and UK has led to a plethora of diverse curricula which seem to be partly ineffective in improving the care for the seriously ill and dying offered by newly qualified doctors, as is demonstrated in controlled evaluations. The goals of this study were to demonstrate an evidence-based approach towards developing UPCE curricula and investigate the change in medical students’ self-perceived readiness to deal with palliative care patients and their families.
Methods
To evaluate the effects of the UPCE curriculum we chose a prospective, controlled, quasi-experimental, pre, retrospective-pre, post study design. A total of n = 37 3rd and 4th –year medical students were assigned to the intervention group (n = 15; 4th -year) and to the control group (n = 22; 3rd-year). Resting on the self-efficacy concept of Bandura the measurement was conducted by a refined test-battery based on two independent measurements (the revised Collet-Lester-Fear-of-Death-Scale and the instrument of the “Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice” at Harvard Medical School) including 68 items altogether in a five-point Likert-scale. These items were designed to test elementary skills in caring for the dying and their relatives as perceived by medical undergraduates. Datasets from both groups were analysed by paired and independent two-sample t-test. The TREND statement for reporting non-randomized evaluations was applied for reporting on this quasi-experimental study.
Results
Three constructs showed statistically significant differences comparing the intervention group before and after. Willingness to accompany a dying patient increased from 21.40 to 37.30 (p < .001). Self-estimation of competence in communication with dying patients and their relatives increased from 12.00 to 23.60 (p = .001). Finally, self-estimation of knowledge and skills in Palliative Care increased from 8.30 to 13.20 (p = .001).
Conclusions
This study is a small but systematic step towards rigorous curricular development in palliative care. Our manualised curriculum is available for scrutiny and scientific feedback to support an open and constructive process of best-practice comparison in palliative care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-1
PMCID: PMC3546306  PMID: 23286697
24.  A self-management program for employees with complaints of the arm, neck, or shoulder (CANS): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:258.
Background
Complaints of the arm, neck, or shoulder (CANS) have a multifactorial origin and cause considerable work problems, including decreased work productivity, sickness absence, and, ultimately, job loss. There is a need for intervention programs for people with CANS. Self-management is an approach used in chronic disease care to improve self-efficacy and wellness behaviors to facilitate participants to make informed choices and carry them out. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of a self-management program (including ehealth) and compare it to usual care among employees with chronic CANS (lasting >3 months).
Methods/design
This is a randomized controlled trial in which 142 participants will be recruited and randomized (with pre-stratification) to either the intervention group (IG) or control group (CG). The IG will participate in a self-management program consisting of six group sessions and an ehealth module. The CG is allowed to use all usual care available. The primary outcome of the study is the self-reported disability of arm, shoulder, and hand, measured with the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire (DASH). Secondary outcomes include: absenteeism, pain in the previous week, quality of life, catastrophizing pain, self-efficacy, workstyle, presenteeism, fatigue, the use of usual care, and limitations experienced on the job. Data are collected at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months follow-up.
Discussion
Following the process of intervention mapping we developed a self-management program to suit and alleviate the problems and needs of employees with CANS. A strength of the study is that our intervention is specifically tailored to match the needs of employees with CANS. The study also has some potential weaknesses (for example, use of co-interventions, combination of group sessions and ehealth, self-reporting of data and possible contamination, Hawthorne effect, and recall or information bias) which are discussed.
Trial registration
The trial is registered with the Dutch Trial Register (http://www.trialregister.nlNTR3816): (January 2013). The first participant was randomized in September 2012.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-258
PMCID: PMC3751728  PMID: 23958154
CANS; RSI; RCT; Self-management; ehealth
25.  Empowering employees with chronic diseases; development of an intervention aimed at job retention and design of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Persons with a chronic disease are less often employed than healthy persons. If employed, many of them experience problems at work. Therefore, we developed a training programme aimed at job retention. The objective of this paper is to describe this intervention and to present the design of a study to evaluate its effectiveness.
Development and description of intervention
A systematic review, a needs assessment and discussions with Dutch experts led to a pilot group training, tested in a pilot study. The evaluation resulted in the development of a seven-session group training combined with three individual counselling sessions. The training is based on an empowerment perspective that aims to help individuals enhance knowledge, skills and self-awareness. These advances are deemed necessary for problem solving in three stages: exploration and clarification of work related problems, communication at the workplace, and development and implementation of solutions. Seven themes are discussed and practised in the group sessions: 1) Consequences of a chronic disease in the workplace, 2) Insight into feelings and thoughts about having a chronic disease, 3) Communication in daily work situations, 4) Facilities for disabled employees and work disability legislation, 5) How to stand up for oneself, 6) A plan to solve problems, 7) Follow-up.
Methods
Participants are recruited via occupational health services, patient organisations, employers, and a yearly national conference on chronic diseases. They are eligible when they have a chronic physical medical condition, have a paid job, and experience problems at work. Workers on long-term, 100% sick leave that is expected to continue during the training are excluded. After filling in the baseline questionnaire, the participants are randomised to either the control or the intervention group. The control group will receive no care or care as usual. Post-test mail questionnaires will be sent after 4, 8, 12 and 24 months. Primary outcome measures are job retention, self efficacy, fatigue and work pleasure. Secondary outcome measures are work-related problems, sick leave, quality of life, acquired work accommodations, burnout, and several quality of work measures. A process evaluation will be conducted and satisfaction with the training, its components and the training methods will be assessed.
Discussion
Many employees with a chronic condition experience problems in performing tasks and in managing social relations at work. We developed an innovative intervention that addresses practical as well as psychosocial problems. The results of the study will be relevant for employees, employers, occupational health professionals and human resource professionals (HRM).
Trial registration
ISRCTN77240155
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-224
PMCID: PMC2614990  PMID: 18983652

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