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1.  Rating and Ranking the Role of Bibliometrics and Webometrics in Nursing and Midwifery 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:135812.
Background. Bibliometrics are an essential aspect of measuring academic and organizational performance. Aim. This review seeks to describe methods for measuring bibliometrics, identify the strengths and limitations of methodologies, outline strategies for interpretation, summarise evaluation of nursing and midwifery performance, identify implications for metric of evaluation, and specify the implications for nursing and midwifery and implications of social networking for bibliometrics and measures of individual performance. Method. A review of electronic databases CINAHL, Medline, and Scopus was undertaken using search terms such as bibliometrics, nursing, and midwifery. The reference lists of retrieved articles and Internet sources and social media platforms were also examined. Results. A number of well-established, formal ways of assessment have been identified, including h- and c-indices. Changes in publication practices and the use of the Internet have challenged traditional metrics of influence. Moreover, measuring impact beyond citation metrics is an increasing focus, with social media representing newer ways of establishing performance and impact. Conclusions. Even though a number of measures exist, no single bibliometric measure is perfect. Therefore, multiple approaches to evaluation are recommended. However, bibliometric approaches should not be the only measures upon which academic and scholarly performance are evaluated.
doi:10.1155/2014/135812
PMCID: PMC3914409  PMID: 24550691
2.  A randomized controlled trial to evaluate an educational strategy involving community health volunteers in improving self-care in patients with chronic heart failure: Rationale, design and methodology 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:689.
Background
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is an increasingly important health problem worldwide. Effective self-care can improve the outcomes and quality of life in patients with CHF. Acknowledging the important role of educational interventions for improving self-care, we sought to assess a new educational strategy involving community health volunteers (CHVs) that could reduce the cost and, hypothetically, increase the effectiveness of self-care education in patients with CHF.
Methods/Design
In this ongoing three-arm controlled trial, approved by two human research ethics committees in Australia and Iran, 231 patients with CHF registered at a referral cardiovascular hospital in Iran were randomly allocated into three groups -trained by community health volunteers at patients’ homes, rained by formal health professionals at hospital; and a control group with no formal educational exposure. Data obtained through interviewing participants and using the Persian self-care of CHF index (pSCHFI) before and two months after interventions will be analysed using SAS and SPSS.
Discussion
The results of this study may help health service systems, especially in countries with limited resources, make use of community volunteers to teach patients with CHF to develop self-care behaviors and skills, reducing the cost of care and improving CHF outcomes. Also, this home-based educational strategy using face-to-face training, if successful, may provide psychosocial supports for patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
Trial registration number
ACTRN12614000788673 (Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry)
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-689
PMCID: PMC4252496  PMID: 25512887
Community health workers; Chronic illnesses; Home-based education; Health education; Congestive heart failure; Self-management; Medical adherence; Adherence to treatment
3.  Australian Survey of Current Practice and Guideline Use in Adult Cancer Pain Assessment and Management: Perspectives of Palliative Care Physicians 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2013;16(11):1403-1409.
Abstract
Background
Cancer pain continues to be undertreated, despite the availability of evidence-based guidelines. The Australian National Pain Strategy identified establishment of systems and guidelines to adequately manage cancer pain as a high priority.
Objectives
This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to adult cancer pain assessment and management as perceived by Australian health professionals; establish the perceived need for new Australian guidelines and implementation strategies; identify which guidelines are used; and identify barriers and facilitators to guideline use. This article focuses on the perceptions of responding palliative care physicians.
Design
A cross-sectional survey was administered online.
Participants
Invitations were circulated via peak bodies and clinical leaders. Comments were coded independently by two researchers.
Results
Ninety-two palliative care physicians responded to the survey; 39% of the national total. The majority reported barriers to pain management, including insufficient access to nonpharmacologic interventions, poor coordination between services, and management challenges posed by comorbidities. Forty-five percent reported using pain guidelines, most commonly the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines—Palliative Care. Respondents were largely supportive of the development of new Australian guidelines and implementation strategies, in particular any offering advice on specific cases of cancer pain (e.g., neuropathic), patient self-management resources, assessment of patient priorities, and disciplinary roles.
Conclusion
Barriers to evidence-based practice identified by our survey might be addressed via strategies to support decision making and coordination of care (e.g., a clinical pathway). Particular attention should be paid to promoting access to nonpharmacologic interventions and patient education, and improving referral and care coordination.
doi:10.1089/jpm.2013.0245
PMCID: PMC3822364  PMID: 24168350
4.  The Health of Women and Girls Determines the Health and Well-Being of Our Modern World: A White Paper From the International Council on Women’s Health Issues 
Health care for women international  2011;32(10):870-886.
The International Council on Women’s Health Issues (ICOWHI) is an international nonprofit association dedicated to the goal of promoting health, health care, and well-being of women and girls throughout the world through participation, empowerment, advocacy, education, and research. We are a multidisciplinary network of women’s health providers, planners, and advocates from all over the globe. We constitute an international professional and lay network of those committed to improving women and girl’s health and quality of life. This document provides a description of our organization mission, vision, and commitment to improving the health and well-being of women and girls globally.
doi:10.1080/07399332.2011.603872
PMCID: PMC3703826  PMID: 21919625
6.  Discussing prognosis and end-of-life care in the final year of life: a randomised controlled trial of a nurse-led communication support programme for patients and caregivers 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e005745.
Introduction
Timely communication about life expectancy and end-of-life care is crucial for ensuring good patient quality-of-life at the end of life and a good quality of death. This article describes the protocol for a multisite randomised controlled trial of a nurse-led communication support programme to facilitate patients’ and caregivers’ efforts to communicate about these issues with their healthcare team.
Methods and analysis
This NHMRC-sponsored trial is being conducted at medical oncology clinics located at/affiliated with major teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia. Patients with advanced, incurable cancer and life expectancy of less than 12 months will participate together with their primary informal caregiver where possible. Guided by the self-determination theory of health-behaviour change, the communication support programme pairs a purpose-designed Question Prompt List (QPL—an evidence-based list of questions patients/caregivers can ask clinicians) with nurse-led exploration of QPL content, communication challenges, patient values and concerns and the value of early discussion of end-of-life issues. Oncologists are also cued to endorse patient and caregiver question asking and use of the QPL. Behavioural and self-report data will be collected from patients/caregivers approximately quarterly for up to 2.5 years or until patient death, after which patient medical records will be examined. Analyses will examine the impact of the intervention on patients’ and caregivers’ participation in medical consultations, their self-efficacy in medical encounters, quality-of-life, end-of-life care receipt and quality-of-death indicators.
Ethics and dissemination
Approvals have been granted by the human ethics review committee of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and governance officers at each participating site. Results will be reported in peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.
Trial registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000724077.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005745
PMCID: PMC4078787  PMID: 24969786
Communication; Cancer; End-of-life care; Advance care planning; Question prompt list; Caregivers
7.  Social capital in a lower socioeconomic palliative care population: a qualitative investigation of individual, community and civic networks and relations 
BMC Palliative Care  2014;13:30.
Background
Lower socioeconomic populations live and die in contexts that render them vulnerable to poorer health and wellbeing. Contexts of care at the end of life are overwhelmingly determined by the capacity and nature of formal and informal networks and relations to support care. To date, studies exploring the nature of networks and relations of support in lower socioeconomic populations at the end of life are absent. This qualitative study sought to identify the nature of individual, community and civic networks and relations that defined the contexts of care for this group.
Methods
Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 patients and 6 informal carers who identified that they had social and economic needs and were from a lower socioeconomic area. A social capital questionnaire identifying individual, community and civic networks and relations formed the interview guide. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed using framework analysis.
Results
Participants identified that individual and community networks and relations of support were mainly inadequate to meet care needs. Specifically, data revealed: (1) individual (informal caregivers) networks and relations were small and fragile due to the nature of conflict and crisis; (2) community trust and engagement was limited and shifted by illness and caregiving; (3) and formal care services were inconsistent and provided limited practical support. Some transitions in community relations for support were noted. Levels of civic and government engagement and support were overall positive and enabled access to welfare resources.
Conclusion
Networks and relations of support are essential for ensuring quality end of life care is achieved. Lower socioeconomic groups are at a distinct disadvantage where these networks and relations are limited, as they lack the resources necessary to augment these gaps. Understanding of the nature of assets and limitations, in networks and relations of support, is necessary to inform interventions to improve end of life care for lower socioeconomic populations.
doi:10.1186/1472-684X-13-30
PMCID: PMC4067081  PMID: 24959101
Palliative care; End of life care; Lower socioeconomic; Social capital; Networks and relations
8.  Making progress: the role of cancer councils in Australia in indigenous cancer control 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:347.
Background
Indigenous Australians have poorer outcomes from cancer for a variety of reasons including poorer participation in screening programs, later diagnosis, higher rates of cancer with poor prognosis and poorer uptake and completion of treatment. Cancer prevention and support for people with cancer is part of the core business of the State and Territory Cancer Councils. To support sharing of lessons learned, this paper reports an environmental scan undertaken in 2010 in cancer councils (CCs) nationwide that aimed to support Indigenous cancer control.
Methods
The methods replicated the approach used in a 2006 environmental scan of Indigenous related activity in CCs. The Chief Executive Officer of each CC nominated individuals for interview. Interviews explored staffing, projects, programs and activities to progress cancer control issues for Indigenous Australians, through phone or face-to-face interviews. Reported initiatives were tabulated using predetermined categories of activity and summaries were returned to interviewees, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Subcommittee and Chief Executive Officers for verification.
Results
All CCs participated and modest increases in activity had occurred in most states since 2006 through different means. Indigenous staff numbers were low and no Indigenous person had yet been employed in smaller CCs; no CC had an Indigenous Board member and efforts at capacity building were often directed outside of the organisation. Developing partnerships with Indigenous organisations were ongoing. Acknowledgement and specific mention of Indigenous people in policy was increasing. Momentum increased following the establishment of a national subcommittee which increased the profile of Indigenous issues and provided collegial and practical support for those committed to reducing Indigenous cancer disparities. Government funding of “Closing the Gap” and research in the larger CCs have been other avenues for increasing knowledge and activity in Indigenous cancer control.
Conclusions
This environmental scan measured progress, allowed sharing of information and provided critical assessment of progress across areas of importance for increasing Indigenous cancer control. Structured examination of policies, institutional support systems, programs and interventions is a useful means of highlighting opportunities for progress with minority groups relevant for many organisations. Progress has occurred with momentum likely to increase in the future and benefit from commitment to long-term monitoring and sharing of achievements.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-347
PMCID: PMC4004461  PMID: 24725974
Cancer; Aboriginal; Indigenous; Environmental scan; Delivery of health care/*organization & administration; Health services accessibility; Neoplasms/*prevention & control
9.  Elements of effective palliative care models: a rapid review 
Background
Population ageing, changes to the profiles of life-limiting illnesses and evolving societal attitudes prompt a critical evaluation of models of palliative care. We set out to identify evidence-based models of palliative care to inform policy reform in Australia.
Method
A rapid review of electronic databases and the grey literature was undertaken over an eight week period in April-June 2012. We included policy documents and comparative studies from countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published in English since 2001. Meta-analysis was planned where >1 study met criteria; otherwise, synthesis was narrative using methods described by Popay et al. (2006).
Results
Of 1,959 peer-reviewed articles, 23 reported systematic reviews, 9 additional RCTs and 34 non-randomised comparative studies. Variation in the content of models, contexts in which these were implemented and lack of detailed reporting meant that elements of models constituted a more meaningful unit of analysis than models themselves. Case management was the element most consistently reported in models for which comparative studies provided evidence for effectiveness. Essential attributes of population-based palliative care models identified by policy and addressed by more than one element were communication and coordination between providers (including primary care), skill enhancement, and capacity to respond rapidly to individuals’ changing needs and preferences over time.
Conclusion
Models of palliative care should integrate specialist expertise with primary and community care services and enable transitions across settings, including residential aged care. The increasing complexity of care needs, services, interventions and contextual drivers warrants future research aimed at elucidating the interactions between different components and the roles played by patient, provider and health system factors. The findings of this review are limited by its rapid methodology and focus on model elements relevant to Australia’s health system.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-136
PMCID: PMC3986907  PMID: 24670065
Palliative care; Models of care; Rapid review; Case management; Home based care; Nursing homes; Specialist palliative care; Acute care; Emergency departments
10.  The evolution of nursing in Australian general practice: a comparative analysis of workforce surveys ten years on 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:52.
Background
Nursing in Australian general practice has grown rapidly over the last decade in response to government initiatives to strengthen primary care. There are limited data about how this expansion has impacted on the nursing role, scope of practice and workforce characteristics. This study aimed to describe the current demographic and employment characteristics of Australian nurses working in general practice and explore trends in their role over time.
Methods
In the nascence of the expansion of the role of nurses in Australian general practice (2003–2004) a national survey was undertaken to describe nurse demographics, clinical roles and competencies. This survey was repeated in 2009–2010 and comparative analysis of the datasets undertaken to explore workforce changes over time.
Results
Two hundred eighty four nurses employed in general practice completed the first survey (2003/04) and 235 completed the second survey (2009/10). Significantly more participants in Study 2 were undertaking follow-up of pathology results, physical assessment and disease specific health education. There was also a statistically significant increase in the participants who felt that further education/training would augment their confidence in all clinical tasks (p < 0.001). Whilst the impact of legal implications as a barrier to the nurses’ role in general practice decreased between the two time points, more participants perceived lack of space, job descriptions, confidence to negotiate with general practitioners and personal desire to enhance their role as barriers. Access to education and training as a facilitator to nursing role expansion increased between the two studies. The level of optimism of participants for the future of the nurses’ role in general practice was slightly decreased over time.
Conclusions
This study has identified that some of the structural barriers to nursing in Australian general practice have been addressed over time. However, it also identifies continuing barriers that impact practice nurse role development. Understanding and addressing these issues is vital to optimise the effectiveness of the primary care nursing workforce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-52
PMCID: PMC3987204  PMID: 24666420
Practice nurse; Nursing workforce; Survey; Office nurse; General practice; Primary care, Australia
11.  Management of intra-abdominal hypertension and abdominal compartment syndrome: a review 
Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are at risk of developing of intra abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS).
Aim: This review seeks to define IAH and ACS, identify the aetiology and presentation of IAH and ACS, identify IAP measurement techniques, identify current management and discuss the implications of IAH and ACS for nursing practice. A search of the electronic databases was supervised by a health librarian. The electronic data bases Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL); Medline, EMBASE, and the World Wide Web was undertaken from 1996- January 2011 using MeSH and key words which included but not limited to: abdominal compartment syndrome, intra -abdominal hypertension, intra-abdominal pressure in adult populations met the search criteria and were reviewed by three authors using a critical appraisal tool. Data derived from the retrieved material are discussed under the following themes: (1) etiology of intra-abdominal hypertension; (2) strategies for measuring intra-abdominal pressure (3) the manifestation of abdominal compartment syndrome; and (4) the importance of nursing assessment, observation and interventions. Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) have the potential to alter organ perfusion and compromise organ function.
doi:10.1186/1752-2897-8-2
PMCID: PMC3925290  PMID: 24499574
Intra-abdominal pressure; Intra-abdominal hypertension; Abdominal compartment syndrome; Abdominal perfusion pressure
12.  The caregiving perspective in heart failure: a population based study 
Background
Heart failure (HF) is a frequent condition in the elderly and mortality is high. This study sought to describe the profile of those providing care in the community and their needs.
Methods
The South Australian Health Omnibus is an annual, random, face-to-face, cross sectional survey conducted within the state. Having standardized data to the whole population, the study describes the subset of the population who identify that they actively cared for someone at the end of life with HF in the five years before survey administration.
Results
Three hundred and seventy three respondents (2.0% of the whole population; 4.9% of caregivers) reported being a caregiver of someone with HF. There were 84 active caregivers (day-to-day or intermittent hands on caregivers) for people with HF. Mean age for caregivers for those with HF was much higher than other caregivers (55.7 vs 49.4; p < 0.001) with care lasting for an average of 48.9 months (SD 66.2). People caring for those with HF were far less likely to access specialist palliative care services (38.1% vs 60.9%; p < 0.0001) despite having much greater levels of unmet needs for physical care 28.3% vs 14.1%; p = 0.008).
Conclusion
Study findings suggest that there is a significant burden placed on caregivers for people with HF over extended periods in the community. There are differences in access to services for these caregivers compared to those dying from other conditions, particularly cancer.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-342
PMCID: PMC3847156  PMID: 24004964
Heart failure; Caregivers; Australia
13.  Assays to measure nuclear mechanics in interphase cells 
The nucleus is the characteristic hallmark of all eukaryotic cells. The physical properties of the nucleus reflect important biological characteristics, such as chromatin organization or nuclear envelope composition; they can also directly affect cellular function, for example, when cells pass through narrow constrictions, where the stiff nucleus may present a limiting factor. We present two complementary techniques to probe the mechanical properties of the nucleus. In the first, nuclear stiffness relative to the surrounding cytoskeleton is inferred from induced nuclear deformations during strain application to cells on an elastic substrate. In the second approach, nuclear deformability is deduced from the transit time through a perfusion-based microfabricated device with constrictions smaller than the size of the nucleus. These complementary methods, which can be applied to measure nuclear stiffness in large numbers of living adherent or suspended cells, can help identify important changes in nuclear mechanics associated with disease or development.
doi:10.1002/0471143030.cb2216s56
PMCID: PMC3605726  PMID: 22968843
Nucleus; microfluidics; cell/nuclear mechanics; deformation
14.  ‘Doing the hard yards’: carer and provider focus group perspectives of accessing Aboriginal childhood disability services 
Background
Despite a high prevalence of disability, Aboriginal Australians access disability services in Australia less than non-Aboriginal Australians with a disability. The needs of Aboriginal children with disability are particularly poorly understood. They can endure long delays in treatment which can impact adversely on development. This study sought to ascertain the factors involved in accessing services and support for Aboriginal children with a disability.
Methods
Using the focus group method, two community forums, one for health and service providers and one for carers of Aboriginal children with a disability, were held at an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) in the Sydney, metropolitan area of New South Wales, Australia. Framework analysis was applied to qualitative data to elucidate key issues relevant to the dimensions of access framework. Independent coding consistency checks were performed and consensus of analysis verified by the entire research team, several of whom represented the local Aboriginal community.
Results
Seventeen health and social service providers representing local area government and non-government-funded health and social service organisations and five carers participated in two separate forums between September and October 2011. Lack of awareness of services and inadequate availability were prominent concerns in both groups despite geographic proximity to a major metropolitan area with significant health infrastructure. Carers noted racism, insufficient or non-existent services, and the need for an enhanced role of ACCHSs and AHWs in disability support services. Providers highlighted logistical barriers and cultural and historical issues that impacted on the effectiveness of mainstream services for Aboriginal people.
Conclusions
Despite dedicated disability services in an urban community, geographic proximity does not mitigate lack of awareness and availability of support. This paper has enumerated a number of considerations to address provision of disability services in an urban Australian Aboriginal community including building expertise and specialist capacity within Aboriginal Health Worker positions and services.
Increasing awareness of services, facilitating linkages and referrals, eliminating complexities to accessing support, and working with families and Aboriginal community organisations within a framework of resilience and empowerment to ensure a relevant and acceptable model are necessary steps to improving support and care for Aboriginal children with a disability.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-326
PMCID: PMC3765087  PMID: 23958272
Childhood disability; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Early intervention; Focus groups
15.  Barriers and facilitators to self-care in chronic heart failure: a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:320.
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a costly condition that places large demands on self-care. Failure to adhere with self-care recommendations is common and associated with frequent hospitalization. Understanding the factors that enable or inhibit self-care is essential in developing effective health care interventions. This qualitative review was conducted to address the research question, "What are the barriers and facilitators to self-care among patients with CHF?” Electronic databases including Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus and Google scholar were searched. Articles were included if they were peer reviewed (1995 to 2012), in English language and investigated at least one contextual or individual factor impacting on self-care in CHF patients > 18years. The criteria defined by Kuper et al. including clarity and appropriateness of sampling, data collection and data analysis were used to appraise the quality of articles. Twenty-three articles met the inclusion criteria. Factors impacting on self-care were included factors related to symptoms of CHF and the self-care process; factors related to personal characteristics; and factors related to environment and self-care system. Important factors such as socioeconomic situation and education level have not been explored extensively and there were minimal data on the influence of age, gender, self-confidence and duration of disease. Although there is an emerging literature, further research is required to address the barriers and facilitators to self-care in patients with CHF in order to provide an appropriate guide for intervention strategies to improve self-care in CHF.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-320
PMCID: PMC3727080  PMID: 23961394
Congestive heart failure; CHF; Self-management; Treatment adherence; Compliance; Self-care determinants; Qualitative review
16.  Health transitions in recently widowed older women: a mixed methods study 
Background
Older recently widowed women are faced with increased health risks and chronic conditions associated not only with bereavement, but also, older age. Loss and grief, adjusting to living alone, decreased income, and managing multiple chronic conditions can impact on older women’s ability to transition following recent spousal bereavement. Providing appropriate, timely, and effective services to foster this life transition is of critical importance, yet few services directed towards these women exist in Australia, and there is little data describing the experiences of women and their support needs at this time.
Methods
We conducted a longitudinal mixed method study using in-depth semi-structured interviews and questionnaires that were administered three times over a twelve month period to understand the experiences and needs of older women in the period following their husbands’ deaths. Descriptive statistics and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data, respectively, prior to data integration.
Results
Participants were twenty-one community-dwelling recently widowed older women who were an average age of 71 (SD 6.13) years. The majority of participants scored within normal ranges of depression, anxiety, and stress, yet a subset of participants had elevated levels of each of these constructs (37%, 27%, and 19%, respectively) throughout the study period. Positive self-reports of general health predominated, yet 86% of participants were living with one or more chronic condition and taking an average of 4 medications per day. The majority (76%) experienced exacerbations of existing conditions or were diagnosed with a new illness in the early bereavement period, leading to planned and unplanned hospitalisations and other health service use. Qualitative data provided insight into these experiences, the meanings women ascribed to them, and their reasons for enacting certain health risk behaviours.
Conclusions
The combination of co-morbidities, polypharmacy, and risk behaviors impacted on medication management and appeared associated with health events. The feminization of ageing and an increasing number of older women living alone with multiple chronic conditions represent significant challenges to health services and societal support systems. Older women’s transition to widowhood signals concomitant health transitions and multidimensional support needs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-143
PMCID: PMC3648377  PMID: 23597163
Widowhood; Older women; Health transitions; Health care utilization; Mixed method; Qualitative
17.  Patient Preferences and Willingness-To-Pay for a Home or Clinic Based Program of Chronic Heart Failure Management: Findings from the Which? Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58347.
Background
Beyond examining their overall cost-effectiveness and mechanisms of effect, it is important to understand patient preferences for the delivery of different modes of chronic heart failure management programs (CHF-MPs). We elicited patient preferences around the characteristics and willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a clinic or home-based CHF-MP.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A Discrete Choice Experiment was completed by a sub-set of patients (n = 91) enrolled in the WHICH? trial comparing home versus clinic-based CHF-MP. Participants provided 5 choices between hypothetical clinic and home-based programs varying by frequency of nurse consultations, nurse continuity, patient costs, and availability of telephone or education support. Participants (aged 71±13 yrs, 72.5% male, 25.3% NYHA class III/IV) displayed two distinct preference classes. A latent class model of the choice data indicated 56% of participants preferred clinic delivery, access to group CHF education classes, and lower cost programs (p<0.05). The remainder preferred home-based CHF-MPs, monthly rather than weekly visits, and access to a phone advice service (p<0.05). Continuity of nurse contact was consistently important. No significant association was observed between program preference and participant allocation in the parent trial. WTP was estimated from the model and a dichotomous bidding technique. For those preferring clinic, estimated WTP was ≈AU$9-20 per visit; however for those preferring home-based programs, WTP varied widely (AU$15-105).
Conclusions/Significance
Patient preferences for CHF-MPs were dichotomised between a home-based model which is more likely to suit older patients, those who live alone, and those with a lower household income; and a clinic-based model which is more likely to suit those who are more socially active and wealthier. To optimise the delivery of CHF-MPs, health care services should consider their patients’ preferences when designing CHF-MPs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058347
PMCID: PMC3591337  PMID: 23505491
18.  In pursuit of certainty: can the systematic review process deliver? 
Background
There has been increasing emphasis on evidence-based approaches to improve patient outcomes through rigorous, standardised and well-validated approaches. Clinical guidelines drive this process and are largely developed based on the findings of systematic reviews (SRs). This paper presents a discussion of the SR process in providing decisive information to shape and guide clinical practice, using a purpose-built review database: the Cochrane reviews; and focussing on a highly prevalent medical condition: hypertension.
Methods
We searched the Cochrane database and identified 25 relevant SRs incorporating 443 clinical trials. Reviews with the terms ‘blood pressure’ or ‘hypertension’ in the title were included. Once selected for inclusion, the abstracts were assessed independently by two authors for their capacity to inform and influence clinical decision-making. The inclusions were independently audited by a third author.
Results
Of the 25 SRs that formed the sample, 12 provided conclusive findings to inform a particular treatment pathway. The evidence-based approaches offer the promise of assisting clinical decision-making through clarity, but in the case of management of blood pressure, half of the SRs in our sample highlight gaps in evidence and methodological limitations. Thirteen reviews were inconclusive, and eight, including four of the 12 conclusive SRs, noted the lack of adequate reporting of potential adverse effects or incidence of harm.
Conclusions
These findings emphasise the importance of distillation, interpretation and synthesis of information to assist clinicians. This study questions the utility of evidence-based approaches as a uni-dimensional approach to improving clinical care and underscores the importance of standardised approaches to include adverse events, incidence of harm, patient’s needs and preferences and clinician’s expertise and discretion.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-25
PMCID: PMC3586345  PMID: 23425307
Systematic review; Research-in-practice; Research implementation; Translational research; Evidence-based practice; Clinical decision-making
19.  Childhood disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: a literature review 
Introduction
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have higher rates of disability than non-Indigenous children and are considered doubly disadvantaged, yet there is very little data reflecting prevalence and service access to inform design and delivery of services. Failing to address physical, social, and psychological factors can have life-long consequences and perpetuate longstanding health disparities.
Methods
A narrative literature review was undertaken to identify peer reviewed literature describing factors impacting on the prevention, recognition, and access to support and management of disability in Indigenous Australian children.
Results
Twenty-seven peer-reviewed journal articles met inclusion criteria. The majority of articles focused on the hearing loss and learning disabilities consequent of otitis media. Few articles reported data on urban or metropolitan Indigenous populations or described interventions. Individual/community-, provider-, and systems level factors were identified as impacting on recognition and management of disability in young Indigenous children.
Conclusions
Given the burden of childhood disability, the limited literature retrieved is concerning as this is a barometer of activity and investment. Solutions addressing childhood disability will require collaboration between health, social and educational disciplines as well as an increased investment in prevention, identification and promotion of access.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-12-7
PMCID: PMC3641946  PMID: 23327694
Aboriginal and Torres strait islander; Childhood; Disability; Early intervention
20.  Atrial fibrillation and thromboprophylaxis in heart failure: the need for patient-centered approaches to address adherence 
Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia in heart failure and a risk factor for stroke. Risk assessment tools can assist clinicians with decision making in the allocation of thromboprophylaxis. This review provides an overview of current validated risk assessment tools for atrial fibrillation and emphasizes the importance of tailoring individual risk and the importance of weighing the benefits of treatment. Further, this review provides details of innovative and patient-centered methods for ensuring optimal adherence to prescribed therapy. Prior to initiating oral anticoagulant therapy, a comprehensive risk assessment should include evaluation of associated cardiogeriatric conditions, potential for adherence to prescribed therapy, frailty, and functional and cognitive ability.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S39571
PMCID: PMC3551455  PMID: 23345982
stroke risk; heart failure; atrial fibrillation; anticoagulation; risk stratification; medication adherence
21.  Heart failure among Indigenous Australians: a systematic review 
Background
Cardiovascular diseases contribute substantially to the poor health and reduced life expectancy of Indigenous Australians. Heart failure is a common, disabling, progressive and costly complication of these disorders. The epidemiology of heart failure and the adequacy of relevant health service provision in Indigenous Australians are not well delineated.
Methods
A systematic search of the electronic databases PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cinahl Plus, Informit and Google Scholar was undertaken in April 2012 for peer-reviewed journal articles relevant to the topic of heart failure in Indigenous Australians. Additionally, a website search was done to identify other pertinent publications, particularly government reports.
Results
There was a paucity of relevant peer-reviewed research, and government reports dominated the results. Ten journal articles, 1 published conference abstract and 10 reports were eligible for inclusion. Indigenous Australians reportedly have higher morbidity and mortality from heart failure than their non-Indigenous counterparts (age-standardised prevalence ratio 1.7; age-standardised hospital separation ratio ≥3; crude per capita hospital expenditure ratio 1.58; age-adjusted mortality ratio >2). Despite the evident disproportionate burden of heart failure in Indigenous Australians, the accuracy of estimation from administrative data is limited by poor indigenous identification, inadequate case ascertainment and exclusion of younger subjects from mortality statistics. A recent journal article specifically documented a high prevalence of heart failure in Central Australian Aboriginal adults (5.3%), noting frequent undiagnosed disease. One study examined barriers to health service provision for Indigenous Australians in the context of heart failure.
Conclusions
Despite the shortcomings of available published data, it is clear that Indigenous Australians have an excess burden of heart failure. Emerging data suggest that undiagnosed cases may be common in this population. In order to optimise management and to inform policy, high quality research on heart failure in Indigenous Australians is required to delineate accurate epidemiological indicators and to appraise health service provision.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-99
PMCID: PMC3521206  PMID: 23116367
Heart failure; Australia; Indigenous; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Cardiac failure; Cardiovascular; Heart disease
22.  Developing Targeted Health Service Interventions Using the PRECEDE-PROCEED Model: Two Australian Case Studies 
Nursing Research and Practice  2012;2012:279431.
Aims and Objectives. This paper provides an overview of the applicability of the PRECEDE-PROCEED Model to the development of targeted nursing led chronic illness interventions. Background. Changing health care practice is a complex and dynamic process that requires consideration of social, political, economic, and organisational factors. An understanding of the characteristics of the target population, health professionals, and organizations plus identification of the determinants for change are also required. Synthesizing this data to guide the development of an effective intervention is a challenging process. The PRECEDE-PROCEED Model has been used in global health care settings to guide the identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation of various health improvement initiatives. Design. Using a reflective case study approach, this paper examines the applicability of the PRECEDE-PROCEED Model to the development of targeted chronic care improvement interventions for two distinct Australian populations: a rapidly expanding and aging rural population with unmet palliative care needs and a disadvantaged urban community at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Results. The PRECEDE-PROCEED Model approach demonstrated utility across diverse health settings in a systematic planning process. In environments characterized by increasing health care needs, limited resources, and growing community expectations, adopting planning tools such as PRECEDE-PROCEED Model at a local level can facilitate the development of the most effective interventions. Relevance to Clinical Practice. The PRECEDE-PROCEED Model is a strong theoretical model that guides the development of realistic nursing led interventions with the best chance of being successful in existing health care environments.
doi:10.1155/2012/279431
PMCID: PMC3407641  PMID: 22852076
23.  An online survey of Australian physicians reported practice with the off-label use of nebulised frusemide 
BMC Palliative Care  2012;11:6.
Background
Off-label prescribing is common in palliative care. Despite inconsistent reports of the benefit of nebulised frusemide for breathlessness, its use continues to be reported.
Methods
An online survey was emailed to 249 members of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine to estimate the use of nebulised frusemide for breathlessness by Australian physicians involved in palliative care in the previous 12 months.
Results
There were 52/249 (21%) respondents to the survey. The majority (44/52; 85%) had not prescribed nebulised frusemide in the previous 12 months. The most common (18/44; 43%) reason for not prescribing nebulised frusemide was a belief that there was not enough evidence to support its use. Whilst only a few respondents (8/52; 15%) reported having used nebulised frusemide, all that had used it thought there was at least some benefit in relieving breathlessness.
Conclusion
This report adds to the series of case studies reporting some benefit from nebulised frusemide in relieving breathlessnes.
doi:10.1186/1472-684X-11-6
PMCID: PMC3422185  PMID: 22546176
Nebulised frusemide; Online survey; Off-label use
24.  Home medicines reviews following acute coronary syndrome: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:30.
Background
Despite continual improvements in the management of acute coronary syndromes, adherence to guideline-based medications remains suboptimal. We aim to improve adherence with guideline-based therapy following acute coronary syndrome using an existing service that is provided by specifically trained pharmacists, called a Home Medicines Review. We have made two minor adjustments to target the focus of the existing service including an acute coronary syndrome specific referral letter and a training package for the pharmacists providing the service.
Methods/Design
We will be conducting a randomized controlled trial to compare the directed home medicines review service to usual care following acute coronary syndromes. All patients aged 18 to 80 years and with a working diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome, who are admitted to two public, acute care hospitals, will be screened for enrolment into the trial. Exclusion criteria will include: not being discharged home, documented cognitive decline, non-Medicare eligibility, and presence of a terminal malignancy. Randomization concealment and sequence generation will occur through a centrally-monitored computer program. Patients randomized to the control group will receive usual post-discharge care. Patients randomized to receive the intervention will be offered usual post-discharge care and a directed home medicines review at two months post-discharge. The study endpoints will be six and twelve months post-discharge. The primary outcome will be the proportion of patients who are adherent to a complete, guideline-based medication regimen. Secondary outcomes will include hospital readmission rates, length of hospital stays, changes in quality of life, smoking cessation rates, cardiac rehabilitation completion rates, and mortality.
Discussion
As the trial is closely based on an existing service, any improvements observed should be highly translatable into regular practice. Possible limitations to the success of the trial intervention include general practitioner approval of the intervention, general practitioner acceptance of pharmacists' recommendations, and pharmacists' ability to make appropriate recommendations. A detailed monitoring process will detect any barriers to the success of the trial. Given that poor medication persistence following acute coronary syndrome is a worldwide problem, the findings of our study may have international implications for the care of this patient group.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000452998
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-30
PMCID: PMC3349589  PMID: 22463733
Acute coronary syndrome; Home medicines review; Medication adherence
25.  Caring for Others, but Not Themselves: Implications for Health Care Interventions in Women with Cardiovascular Disease 
Nursing Research and Practice  2011;2011:376020.
Cardiovascular disease is the largest killer of women internationally and women often suffer inferior outcomes following an acute cardiac event as compared to men. A gendered approach to investigating cardiovascular disease in women incorporates the unique social, cultural, and economic circumstances that being a woman brings to the health encounter. The multiple roles enacted by many women may be important factors in this health discrepancy. In order to more fully understand the impact of the roles of women on health, a questionnaire was administered to participants of the Heart Awareness for Women group cardiac rehabilitation program which assessed women's role perceptions followed by discussions. We found that caregiving can be both positive and negative. It gives a sense of purpose, meaning, and community connection as well as burden and conflict. Emphasis must be placed on promoting strategies in women to achieve a balance between caregiving responsibilities and prioritisation of cardiovascular health.
doi:10.1155/2011/376020
PMCID: PMC3169919  PMID: 21994825

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