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1.  Case management for frequent users of the emergency department: study protocol of a randomised controlled trial 
Background
We devised a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of an intervention based on case management care for frequent emergency department users. The aim of the intervention is to reduce such patients’ emergency department use, to improve their quality of life, and to reduce costs consequent on frequent use. The intervention consists of a combination of comprehensive case management care and standard emergency care. It uses a clinical case management model that is patient-identified, patient-directed, and developed to provide high intensity services. It provides a continuum of hospital- and community-based patient services, which include clinical assessment, outreach referral, and coordination and communication with other service providers.
Methods/Design
We aim to recruit, during the first year of the study, 250 patients who visit the emergency department of the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland. Eligible patients will have visited the emergency department 5 or more times during the previous 12 months. Randomisation of the participants to the intervention or control groups will be computer generated and concealed. The statistician and each patient will be blinded to the patient’s allocation. Participants in the intervention group (N = 125), additionally to standard emergency care, will receive case management from a team, 1 (ambulatory care) to 3 (hospitalization) times during their stay and after 1, 3, and 5 months, at their residence, in the hospital or in the ambulatory care setting. In between the consultations provided, the patients will have the opportunity to contact, at any moment, the case management team. Participants in the control group (N = 125) will receive standard emergency care only. Data will be collected at baseline and 2, 5.5, 9, and 12 months later, including: number of emergency department visits, quality of life (EuroQOL and WHOQOL), health services use, and relevant costs. Data on feelings of discrimination and patient’s satisfaction will also be collected at the baseline and 12 months later.
Discussion
Our study will help to clarify knowledge gaps regarding the positive outcomes (emergency department visits, quality of life, efficiency, and cost-utility) of an intervention based on case management care.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01934322.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-264
PMCID: PMC4071797  PMID: 24938769
Randomised controlled trial; Case management; Emergency department; Frequent users; Quality of life
2.  Screening Primary-Care Patients Forgoing Health Care for Economic Reasons 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94006.
Background
Growing social inequities have made it important for general practitioners to verify if patients can afford treatment and procedures. Incorporating social conditions into clinical decision-making allows general practitioners to address mismatches between patients' health-care needs and financial resources.
Objectives
Identify a screening question to, indirectly, rule out patients' social risk of forgoing health care for economic reasons, and estimate prevalence of forgoing health care and the influence of physicians' attitudes toward deprivation.
Design
Multicenter cross-sectional survey.
Participants
Forty-seven general practitioners working in the French–speaking part of Switzerland enrolled a random sample of patients attending their private practices.
Main Measures
Patients who had forgone health care were defined as those reporting a household member (including themselves) having forgone treatment for economic reasons during the previous 12 months, through a self-administered questionnaire. Patients were also asked about education and income levels, self-perceived social position, and deprivation levels.
Key Results
Overall, 2,026 patients were included in the analysis; 10.7% (CI95% 9.4–12.1) reported a member of their household to have forgone health care during the 12 previous months. The question “Did you have difficulties paying your household bills during the last 12 months” performed better in identifying patients at risk of forgoing health care than a combination of four objective measures of socio-economic status (gender, age, education level, and income) (R2 = 0.184 vs. 0.083). This question effectively ruled out that patients had forgone health care, with a negative predictive value of 96%. Furthermore, for physicians who felt powerless in the face of deprivation, we observed an increase in the odds of patients forgoing health care of 1.5 times.
Conclusion
General practitioners should systematically evaluate the socio-economic status of their patients. Asking patients whether they experience any difficulties in paying their bills is an effective means of identifying patients who might forgo health care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094006
PMCID: PMC3974836  PMID: 24699726
3.  Cultural competency of health-care providers in a Swiss University Hospital: self-assessed cross-cultural skillfulness in a cross-sectional study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:19.
Background
As the diversity of the European population evolves, measuring providers’ skillfulness in cross-cultural care and understanding what contextual factors may influence this is increasingly necessary. Given limited information about differences in cultural competency by provider role, we compared cross-cultural skillfulness between physicians and nurses working at a Swiss university hospital.
Methods
A survey on cross-cultural care was mailed in November 2010 to front-line providers in Lausanne, Switzerland. This questionnaire included some questions from the previously validated Cross-Cultural Care Survey. We compared physicians’ and nurses’ mean composite scores and proportion of “3-good/4-very good” responses, for nine perceived skillfulness items (4-point Likert-scale) using the validated tool. We used linear regression to examine how provider role (physician vs. nurse) was associated with composite skillfulness scores, adjusting for demographics (gender, non-French dominant language), workplace (time at institution, work-unit “sensitized” to cultural-care), reported cultural-competence training, and cross-cultural care problem-awareness.
Results
Of 885 questionnaires, 368 (41.2%) returned the survey: 124 (33.6%) physicians and 244 (66.4%) nurses, reflecting institutional distribution of providers. Physicians had better mean composite scores for perceived skillfulness than nurses (2.7 vs. 2.5, p < 0.005), and significantly higher proportion of “good/very good” responses for 4/9 items. After adjusting for explanatory variables, physicians remained more likely to have higher skillfulness (β = 0.13, p = 0.05). Among all, higher skillfulness was associated with perception/awareness of problems in the following areas: inadequate cross-cultural training (β = 0.14, p = 0.01) and lack of practical experience caring for diverse populations (β = 0.11, p = 0.04). In stratified analyses among physicians alone, having French as a dominant language (β = −0.34, p < 0.005) was negatively correlated with skillfulness.
Conclusions
Overall, there is much room for cultural competency improvement among providers. These results support the need for cross-cultural skills training with an inter-professional focus on nurses, education that attunes provider awareness to the local issues in cross-cultural care, and increased diversity efforts in the work force, particularly among physicians.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-19
PMCID: PMC3914723  PMID: 24479405
Cultural competency; Cross-cultural care; Medical education; Health disparities; Vulnerable populations; Immigrant populations
4.  General Practitioners Can Evaluate the Material, Social and Health Dimensions of Patient Social Status 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84828.
Objective
To identify which physician and patient characteristics are associated with physicians' estimation of their patient social status.
Design
Cross-sectional multicentric survey.
Setting
Fourty-seven primary care private offices in Western Switzerland.
Participants
Random sample of 2030 patients ≥16, who encountered a general practitioner (GP) between September 2010 and February 2011.
Main measures
Primary outcome: patient social status perceived by GPs, using the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status, ranging from the bottom (0) to the top (10) of the social scale.Secondary outcome: Difference between GP's evaluation and patient's own evaluation of their social status. Potential patient correlates: material and social deprivation using the DiPCare-Q, health status using the EQ-5D, sources of income, and level of education. GP characteristics: opinion regarding patients' deprivation and its influence on health and care.
Results
To evaluate patient social status, GPs considered the material, social, and health aspects of deprivation, along with education level, and amount and type of income. GPs declaring a frequent reflexive consideration of their own prejudice towards deprived patients, gave a higher estimation of patients' social status (+1.0, p = 0.002). Choosing a less costly treatment for deprived patients was associated with a lower estimation (−0.7, p = 0.002). GP's evaluation of patient social status was 0.5 point higher than the patient's own estimate (p<0.0001).
Conclusions
GPs can perceive the various dimensions of patient social status, although heterogeneously, according partly to their own characteristics. Compared to patients' own evaluation, GPs overestimate patient social status.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084828
PMCID: PMC3893170  PMID: 24454752
5.  Factors associated with latent tuberculosis among asylum seekers in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study in Vaud County 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:285.
Background
Screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in asylum seekers (AS) may prevent future cases of tuberculosis. As the screening with Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) is costly, the objective of this study was to assess which factors were associated with LTBI and to define a score allowing the selection of AS with the highest risk of LTBI.
Methods
In across-sectional study, AS seekers recently arrived in Vaud County, after screening for tuberculosis at the border were offered screening for LTBI with T-SPOT.TB and questionnaire on potentially risk factors. The factors associated with LTBI were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression.
Results
Among 393 adult AS, 98 (24.93%) had a positive IGRA response, five of them with active tuberculosis previously undetected. Six factors associated with LTBI were identified in multivariate analysis: origin, travel conditions, marital status, cough, age and prior TB exposure. Their combination leads to a robust LTBI predictive score.
Conclusions
The prevalence of LTBI and active tuberculosis in AS is high. A predictive score integrating six factors could identify the asylum seekers with the highest risk for LTBI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-285
PMCID: PMC3551725  PMID: 23121680
Asylum seeker; Latent tuberculosis infection; Tuberculosis; Risk factors; Predictive score; Interferon gamma release assay
6.  HIV Testing Practices by Clinical Service before and after Revised Testing Guidelines in a Swiss University Hospital 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39299.
Objectives
To determine 1) HIV testing practices in a 1400-bed university hospital where local HIV prevalence is 0.4% and 2) the effect on testing practices of national HIV testing guidelines, revised in March 2010, recommending Physician-Initiated Counselling and Testing (PICT).
Methods
Using 2 hospital databases, we determined the number of HIV tests performed by selected clinical services, and the number of patients tested as a percentage of the number seen per service (‘testing rate’). To explore the effect of the revised national guidelines, we examined testing rates for two years pre- and two years post-PICT guideline publication.
Results
Combining the clinical services, 253,178 patients were seen and 9,183 tests were performed (of which 80 tested positive, 0.9%) in the four-year study period. The emergency department (ED) performed the second highest number of tests, but had the lowest testing rates (0.9–1.1%). Of inpatient services, neurology and psychiatry had higher testing rates than internal medicine (19.7% and 9.6% versus 8%, respectively). There was no significant increase in testing rates, either globally or in the majority of the clinical services examined, and no increase in new HIV diagnoses post-PICT recommendations.
Conclusions
Using a simple two-database tool, we observe no global improvement in HIV testing rates in our hospital following new national guidelines but do identify services where testing practices merit improvement. This study may show the limit of PICT strategies based on physician risk assessment, compared to the opt-out approach.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039299
PMCID: PMC3386253  PMID: 22761757
7.  Detecting and measuring deprivation in primary care: development, reliability and validity of a self-reported questionnaire: the DiPCare-Q 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000692.
Objectives
Advances in biopsychosocial science have underlined the importance of taking social history and life course perspective into consideration in primary care. For both clinical and research purposes, this study aims to develop and validate a standardised instrument measuring both material and social deprivation at an individual level.
Methods
We identified relevant potential questions regarding deprivation using a systematic review, structured interviews, focus group interviews and a think-aloud approach. Item response theory analysis was then used to reduce the length of the 38-item questionnaire and derive the deprivation in primary care questionnaire (DiPCare-Q) index using data obtained from a random sample of 200 patients during their planned visits to an ambulatory general internal medicine clinic. Patients completed the questionnaire a second time over the phone 3 days later to enable us to assess reliability. Content validity of the DiPCare-Q was then assessed by 17 general practitioners. Psychometric properties and validity of the final instrument were investigated in a second set of patients. The DiPCare-Q was administered to a random sample of 1898 patients attending one of 47 different private primary care practices in western Switzerland along with questions on subjective social status, education, source of income, welfare status and subjective poverty.
Results
Deprivation was defined in three distinct dimensions: material (eight items), social (five items) and health deprivation (three items). Item consistency was high in both the derivation (Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 (KR20) =0.827) and the validation set (KR20 =0.778). The DiPCare-Q index was reliable (interclass correlation coefficients=0.847) and was correlated to subjective social status (rs=−0.539).
Conclusion
The DiPCare-Q is a rapid, reliable and validated instrument that may prove useful for measuring both material and social deprivation in primary care.
Article summary
Article focus
This study aims to identify and test the relevance of existing indicators of deprivation to help clinicians investigate social status.
We constructed and validated an individual-level measurement of deprivation for patients attending their general practitioner: the deprivation in primary care questionnaire (DiPCare-Q).
Key messages
The DiPCare-Q proposes a reliable, validated instrument for screening and measuring deprivation among patients in developed countries.
Compared with usual indicators of socioeconomical status, the DipCare-Q index gives important additional information on subjective social status and state of deprivation.
Social deprivation is an important aspect of deprivation in general and needs to be distinguished from material deprivation.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Compared with socioeconomical status, self-reported perceived signs of deprivation are more relevant in identifying potential underlying social distress. However, the DiPCare-Q only identifies signs of deprivation without highlighting their reasons.
To improve public health and limit effects of health disparities, detecting deprivation also requires physicians to know how this is to affect their relation with their patient's in a beneficial way.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000692
PMCID: PMC3274718  PMID: 22307103
8.  Sexual behaviour of men that consulted in medical outpatient clinics in Western Switzerland from 2005-2006: risk levels unknown to doctors? 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:528.
Background
To determine male outpatient attenders' sexual behaviours, expectations and experience of talking about their sexuality and sexual health needs with a doctor.
Methods
A survey was conducted among all male patients aged 18-70, recruited from the two main medical outpatient clinics in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2005-2006. The anonymous self-administered questionnaire included questions on sexual behaviour, HIV/STI information needs, expectations and experiences regarding discussion of sexual matters with a doctor.
Results
The response rate was 53.0% (N = 1452). The mean age was 37.7 years. Overall, 13.4% of patients were defined as at STI risk - i.e. having not consistently used condoms with casual partners in the last 6 months, or with a paid partner during the last intercourse - regarding their sexual behaviour in the last year. 90.9% would have liked their physician to ask them questions concerning their sexual life; only 61.4% had ever had such a discussion. The multivariate analysis showed that patients at risk tended to have the following characteristics: recruited from the HIV testing clinic, lived alone, declared no religion, had a low level of education, felt uninformed about HIV/AIDS, were younger, had had concurrent sexual partners in the last 12 months. However they were not more likely to have discussed sexual matters with their doctor than patients not at risk.
Conclusion
Recording the sexual history and advice on the prevention of the risks of STI should become routine practice for primary health care doctors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-528
PMCID: PMC2939648  PMID: 20813029
9.  Clients of sex workers in Switzerland: it makes sense to counsel and propose rapid test for HIV on the street, a preliminary report 
Background
Clients of street sex workers may be at higher risk for HIV infection than the general population. Furthermore, there is a lack of knowledge regarding HIV testing of clients of sex workers in developed countries.
Method
This pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptance of rapid HIV testing by the clients of street-based sex workers in Lausanne, Switzerland. For 5 evenings, clients in cars were stopped by trained field staff for face-to-face interviews focusing on sex-related HIV risk behaviors and HIV testing history. The clients were then offered a free anonymous rapid HIV test in a bus parked nearby. Rapid HIV testing and counselling were performed by experienced nurse practitioners. Clients with reactive tests were offered confirmatory testing, medical evaluation, and care in our HIV clinic.
Result
We intercepted 144 men, 112 (77.8%) agreed to be interviewed. Among them, 50 (46.6%) had never been tested for HIV. A total of 31 (27.7%) rapid HIV tests were performed, 16 (51.6%) in clients who had not previously been tested. None were reactive. Initially, 19 (16.9%) additional clients agreed to HIV testing but later declined due to the 40-minute queue for testing.
Conclusion
This pilot study showed that rapid HIV testing in the red light district of Lausanne was feasible, and that the clients of sex workers accepted testing at an unexpectedly high rate. This setting seems particularly appropriate for targeted HIV screening, since more than 40% of the clients had not previously been tested for HIV even though they engaged in sex-related HIV risk behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-74
PMCID: PMC2856572  PMID: 20302649
10.  Cobalamin deficiency resulting in a rare haematological disorder: a case report 
Introduction
We present the case of a patient with a cobalamin deficiency resulting in pancytopaenia, emphasizing the importance to define, diagnose and treat cobalamin deficiency.
Case presentation
A 52-year-old man from the Democratic Republic of Congo presented to the emergency department with shortness of breath and a sore tongue. Physical examination was unremarkable. His haemoglobin was low and the peripheral blood smear revealed pancytopaenia with a thrombotic microangiopathy. The findings were low cobalamin and folate levels, and high homocysteine and methylmalonate levels. Pernicious anaemia with chronic atrophic gastritis was confirmed by gastric biopsy and positive antiparietal cell and anti-intrinsic factor antibodies. Cobalamin with added folate was given. Six months later, the patient was asymptomatic.
Conclusion
Cobalamin deficiency should always be ruled out in a patient with pancytopaenia. Our case report highlights a life-threatening cobalamin deficiency completely reversible after treatment.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-3-80
PMCID: PMC2783079  PMID: 19946556
11.  Use of nicotine substitute prescribed at hourly plus ab libitum intake or ad libitum for heavy smokers willing to quit: a randomized controlled trial 
Objective
To assess the impact of instructional guidance in the regular use of use nicotine nasal spray (NNS) on the true use of NNS during the first three weeks of smoking cessation for heavy smokers who are willing to quit.
Methods
This randomized, open, controlled trial included 50 patients who were heavy smokers, were willing to quit, and attending an academic outpatient clinic in Western Switzerland. Patients were randomised to instruction on NNS use as "ad libitum" (administration whenever cravings appear; control group) or to use NNS when craving appears and at least every hour when awake (intervention group). Intakes were monitored using an electronic device fixed in the spray unit (MDILog™) during the first three weeks of use. Self reported abstinence from smoking at six months was confirmed by expired-air carbon monoxide. Using intention-to-treat analysis, random-effect GLS regression was used to calculate the mean difference of daily doses between groups controlling for lack of independence between measures from the same individual.
Results
One patient was lost to follow-up. At baseline randomization, the group receiving instruction to use NNS hourly included more women, patients with previous desires to quit, and patients with more psychiatric comorbidities and less somatic complaints compared to the group instructed to use NNS with cravings (group imbalance). Both groups self-administered more than the daily recommended dosage of 8 uses. Mean daily usage was 13.6 dose/day and 11.1 dose/day for the group instructed to use NNS hourly and with cravings, respectively. Adjusting for baseline imbalance, the increased daily doses in the intervention group (hourly use) remained nonsignificant compared to ad libitum use (-0.5 dose/day; CI 95% -6.2; 5.3, from day 1 to day 7; and 2.3 dose/day; CI 95% -5.4; 10.0, from day 8 to day 21). Instructing patients to use the NNS daily had no effect on smoking cessation at six months (RR = 0.69; CI 95% 0.34; 1.39).
Conclusion
Heavy smokers willing to quit use NNS frequently, regardless of the instructions given. Recommending the use of NNS only when craving appears for heavy smokers willing to quit seems acceptable compared to prescribing hourly administration.
Trial registration-
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00861276
doi:10.1186/1747-597X-4-12
PMCID: PMC2698911  PMID: 19490626
12.  Screening for latent tuberculosis infection among undocumented immigrants in Swiss healthcare centres; a descriptive exploratory study 
Background
Migration is one of the major causes of tuberculosis in developed countries. Undocumented patients are usually not screened at the border and are not covered by a health insurance increasing their risk of developing the disease unnoticed. Urban health centres could help identify this population at risk. The objective of this study is to assess the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and adherence to preventive treatment in a population of undocumented immigrant patients.
Methods
All consecutive undocumented patients that visited two urban healthcare centres for vulnerable populations in Lausanne, Switzerland for the first time were offered tuberculosis screening with an interferon-γ assay. Preventive treatment was offered if indicated. Adherence to treatment was evaluated monthly over a nine month period.
Results
Of the 161 participants, 131 (81.4%) agreed to screening and 125 had complete examinations. Twenty-four of the 125 patients (19.2%; CI95% 12.7;27.2) had positive interferon-γ assay results, two of which had active tuberculosis. Only five patients with LTBI completed full preventive treatments. Five others initiated the treatment but did not follow through.
Conclusion
Screening for tuberculosis infection in this hard-to-reach population is feasible in dedicated urban clinics, and the prevalence of LTBI is high in this vulnerable population. However, the low adherence to treatment is an important public health concern, and new strategies are needed to address this problem.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-34
PMCID: PMC2667187  PMID: 19317899
13.  Chlamydia trachomatis prevalence in undocumented migrants undergoing voluntary termination of pregnancy: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:391.
Background
Chlamydia trachomatis infection (CTI) is the most frequent sexual transmitted disease (STI) in Switzerland but its prevalence in undocumented migrants is unknown. We aimed to compare CTI prevalence among undocumented migrants undergoing termination of pregnancy (ToP) to the prevalence among women with residency permit.
Methods
This prospective cohort study included all pregnant, undocumented women presenting from March 2005 to October 2006 to the University hospital for ToP. The control group consisted of a systematic sample of pregnant women with legal residency permit coming to the same hospital during the same time period for ToP
Results
One hundred seventy five undocumented women and 208 women with residency permit (controls) were included in the study. Mean ages were 28.0 y (SD 5.5) and 28.2 y (SD 7.5), respectively (p = 0.77). Undocumented women came primarily from Latin-America (78%). Frequently, they lacked contraception (23%, controls 15%, OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.04;2.9). Thirteen percent of undocumented migrants were found to have CTI (compared to 4.4% of controls; OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.4;7.3).
Conclusion
This population of undocumented, pregnant migrants consisted primarily of young, Latino-American women. Compared to control women, undocumented migrants showed higher prevalence rates of genital CTI, which indicates that health professionals should consider systematic screening for STI in this population. There is a need to design programs providing better access to treatment and education and to increase migrants' awareness of the importance of contraception and transmission of STI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-391
PMCID: PMC2605464  PMID: 19025656
14.  Medical care of asylum seekers: a descriptive study of the appropriateness of nurse practitioners' care compared to traditional physician-based care in a gatekeeping system 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:310.
Background
Medical care for asylum seekers is a complex and critical issue worldwide. It is influenced by social, political, and economic pressures, as well as premigration conditions, the process of migration, and postmigration conditions in the host country. Increasing needs and healthcare costs have led public health authorities to put nurse practitioners in charge of the management of a gatekeeping system for asylum seekers. The quality of this system has never been evaluated. We assessed the competencies of nurses and physicians in identifying the medical needs of asylum seekers and providing them with appropriate treatment that reflects good clinical practice.
Methods
This cross-sectional descriptive study evaluated the appropriateness of care provided to asylum seekers by trained nurse practitioners in nursing healthcare centers and by physicians in private practices, an academic medical outpatient clinic, and the emergency unit of the university hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. From 1687 asylum seeking patients who had consulted each setting between June and December 2003, 450 were randomly selected to participate. A panel of experts reviewed their medical records and assessed the appropriateness of medical care received according to three parameters: 1) use of appropriate procedures to identify medical needs (medical history, clinical examination, complementary investigations, and referral), 2) provision of access to treatment meeting medical needs, and 3) absence of unnecessary medical procedures.
Results
In the nurse practitioner group, the procedures used to identify medical needs were less often appropriate (79% of reports vs. 92.4% of reports; p < 0.001). Nevertheless, access to treatment was judged satisfactory and was similar (p = 0.264) between nurse practitioners and physicians (99% and 97.6% of patients, respectively, received adequate care). Excessive care was observed in only 2 physician reports (0.8%) and 3 nurse reports (1.5%) (p = 0.481).
Conclusion
Although the nursing gatekeeping system provides appropriate treatment to asylum seekers, it might be improved with further training in recording medical history and performing targeted clinical examination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-310
PMCID: PMC2194697  PMID: 17974001
15.  Violence in primary care: Prevalence and follow-up of victims 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:15.
Background
Primary care physicians underestimate the prevalence of domestic violence and community violence. Victims are therefore at risk of further episodes of violence, with psychological and physical consequences. We used an interview to assess the prevalence of domestic and community violence among Swiss natives and foreigners. In a follow-up study, we evaluated the consequences of the interview for the positive patients.
Methods
We evaluated the prevalence of violence by use of a questionnaire in an interview, in an academic general internal medicine clinic in Switzerland. In a follow-up, we evaluated the consequences of the interview for positive patients. The participants were 38 residents and 446 consecutive patients. Questionnaires were presented in the principal language spoken by our patients. They addressed sociodemographics, present and past violence, the security or lack of security felt by victims of violence, and the patients' own violence. Between 3 and 6 months after the first interview, we did a follow-up of all patients who had reported domestic violence in the last year.
Results
Of the 366 patients included in the study, 36 (9.8%) reported being victims of physical violence during the last year (physicians identified only 4 patients out of the 36), and 34/366 (9.3%) reported being victims of psychological violence. Domestic violence was responsible for 67.3% of the cases, and community violence for 21.8%. In 10.9% of the cases, both forms of violence were found.
Of 29 patients who reported being victims of domestic violence, 22 were found in the follow-up. The frequency of violence had diminished (4/22) or the violence had ceased (17/22).
Conclusion
The prevalence of violence is high; domestic violence is more frequent than community violence. There was no statistically significant difference between the Swiss and foreign patients' responses related to the rates of violence. Patients in a currently violent relationship stated that participating in the study helped them and that the violence decreased or ceased a few months later.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-7-15
PMCID: PMC1421406  PMID: 16526962

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