To investigate organisational factors influencing the implementation challenges of redesigning services for people with long term conditions in three locations in England, using remote care (telehealth and telecare).
Case-studies of three sites forming the UK Department of Health’s Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) Programme. Qualitative research techniques were used to obtain data from various sources, including semi-structured interviews, observation of meetings over the course programme and prior to its launch, and document review. Participants were managers and practitioners involved in the implementation of remote care services.
The implementation of remote care was nested within a large pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT), which formed a core element of the WSD programme. To produce robust benefits evidence, many aspect of the trial design could not be easily adapted to local circumstances. While remote care was successfully rolled-out, wider implementation lessons and levels of organisational learning across the sites were hindered by the requirements of the RCT.
The implementation of a complex innovation such as remote care requires it to organically evolve, be responsive and adaptable to the local health and social care system, driven by support from front-line staff and management. This need for evolution was not always aligned with the imperative to gather robust benefits evidence. This tension needs to be resolved if government ambitions for the evidence-based scaling-up of remote care are to be realised.
Telecare; Telehealth; Whole system redesign; Organisational change; Adoption; Implementation; Ethnographic methods
Improving the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers has become a national priority in many countries. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups can be beneficial in improving cognition and quality of life for people with dementia. The aim of the current study is to develop and evaluate a home-based individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (iCST) programme for people with dementia which can be delivered by their family carer.
This multi-centre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT) will compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of iCST for people with dementia with a treatment as usual control group. The intervention consists of iCST sessions delivered by a carer for 30 minutes, 3 times a week over 25 weeks.
For people with dementia the primary outcome measures are cognition assessed by the ADAS-Cog, and quality of life assessed by QoL-AD. For carers, quality of life using the SF-12 is the primary outcome measure. Using a 5% significance level, comparison of 306 participants will yield 80% power to detect an effect size of 0.35 for cognition as measured by the ADAS-Cog, and quality of life as measured by the QoL-AD. Quality of life for the carer will be measured using the SF-12. The trial will include a cost-effectiveness analysis from a public sector perspective.
The UK Department of Health has recently stressed that improving access to psychological therapies is a national priority, but many people with dementia are unable to access psychological interventions. The development of a home-based individual version of CST will provide an easy to use, widely available therapy package that will be evaluated for effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in a multi centre RCT.
The PACE trial compared the effectiveness of adding adaptive pacing therapy (APT), cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), or graded exercise therapy (GET), to specialist medical care (SMC) for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This paper reports the relative cost-effectiveness of these treatments in terms of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and improvements in fatigue and physical function.
Resource use was measured and costs calculated. Healthcare and societal costs (healthcare plus lost production and unpaid informal care) were combined with QALYs gained, and changes in fatigue and disability; incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were computed.
SMC patients had significantly lower healthcare costs than those receiving APT, CBT and GET. If society is willing to value a QALY at £30,000 there is a 62.7% likelihood that CBT is the most cost-effective therapy, a 26.8% likelihood that GET is most cost effective, 2.6% that APT is most cost-effective and 7.9% that SMC alone is most cost-effective. Compared to SMC alone, the incremental healthcare cost per QALY was £18,374 for CBT, £23,615 for GET and £55,235 for APT. From a societal perspective CBT has a 59.5% likelihood of being the most cost-effective, GET 34.8%, APT 0.2% and SMC alone 5.5%. CBT and GET dominated SMC, while APT had a cost per QALY of £127,047. ICERs using reductions in fatigue and disability as outcomes largely mirrored these findings.
Comparing the four treatments using a health care perspective, CBT had the greatest probability of being the most cost-effective followed by GET. APT had a lower probability of being the most cost-effective option than SMC alone. The relative cost-effectiveness was even greater from a societal perspective as additional cost savings due to reduced need for informal care were likely.
Telehealth (TH) and telecare (TC) interventions are increasingly valued for supporting self-care in ageing populations; however, evaluation studies often report high rates of non-participation that are not well understood. This paper reports from a qualitative study nested within a large randomised controlled trial in the UK: the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) project. It explores barriers to participation and adoption of TH and TC from the perspective of people who declined to participate or withdrew from the trial.
Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 people who declined to participate in the trial following explanations of the intervention (n = 19), or who withdrew from the intervention arm (n = 3). Participants were recruited from the four trial groups (with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, or social care needs); and all came from the three trial areas (Cornwall, Kent, east London). Observations of home visits where the trial and interventions were first explained were also conducted by shadowing 8 members of health and social care staff visiting 23 people at home. Field notes were made of observational visits and explored alongside interview transcripts to elicit key themes.
Barriers to adoption of TH and TC associated with non-participation and withdrawal from the trial were identified within the following themes: requirements for technical competence and operation of equipment; threats to identity, independence and self-care; expectations and experiences of disruption to services. Respondents held concerns that special skills were needed to operate equipment but these were often based on misunderstandings. Respondents’ views were often explained in terms of potential threats to identity associated with positive ageing and self-reliance, and views that interventions could undermine self-care and coping. Finally, participants were reluctant to risk potentially disruptive changes to existing services that were often highly valued.
These findings regarding perceptions of potential disruption of interventions to identity and services go beyond more common expectations that concerns about privacy and dislike of technology deter uptake. These insights have implications for health and social care staff indicating that more detailed information and time for discussion could be valuable especially on introduction. It seems especially important for potential recipients to have the opportunity to discuss their expectations and such views might usefully feed back into design and implementation.
Telehealth; Telecare; Patients’ perspectives; Non-adoption; Non-participation; Barriers; Qualitative research; Whole System Demonstrator
In a foreword to Shaping the Future of Care Together, Prime Minister Gordon Brown says that a care and support system reflecting the needs of our times and meeting our rising aspirations is achievable, but ‘only if we are prepared to rise to the challenge of radical reform’. A number of initiatives will be needed to meet the challenge of improving social care for the growing older population. Before the unveiling of the green paper, The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) announced that it has provided £15m over a five-year period to establish the NIHR School for Social Care Research. The School’s primary aim is to conduct or commission research that will help to improve adult social care practice in England. The School is seeking ideas for research topics, outline proposals for new studies and expert advice in developing research methods.
social care; research; England; National Institute for Health Research
Peer support interventions can improve carer wellbeing and interventions that engage both the carer and person with dementia can have significant mutual benefits. Existing research has been criticised for inadequate rigour of design or reporting. This paper describes the protocol for a complex trial that evaluates one-to-one peer support and a group reminiscence programme, both separately and together, in a factorial design.
A 2 × 2 factorial multi-site randomised controlled trial of individual peer support and group reminiscence interventions for family carers and people with dementia in community settings in England, addressing both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
The methods described in this protocol have implications for research into psychosocial interventions, particularly complex interventions seeking to test both individual and group approaches.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) are progressive disabling neurological conditions usually fatal within 10 years of onset. Little is known about the economic costs of these conditions. This paper reports service use and costs from France, Germany and the UK and identifies patient characteristics that are associated with cost. 767 patients were recruited, and 760 included in the study, from 44 centres as part of the NNIPPS trial. Service use during the previous six months was measured at entry to the study and costs calculated. Mean six-month costs were calculated for 742 patients. Data on patient sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were recorded and used in regression models to identify predictors of service costs and unpaid care costs (i.e., care from family and friends). The mean six-month service costs of PSP were €24,491 in France, €30,643 in Germany and €25,655 in the UK. The costs for MSA were €28,924, €25,645 and €19,103 respectively. Unpaid care accounted for 68–76%. Formal and unpaid costs were significantly higher the more severe the illness, as indicated by the Parkinson's Plus Symptom scale. There was a significant inverse relationship between service and unpaid care costs.
It is expected that increased demands on services will result from expanding numbers of older people with long-term conditions and social care needs. There is significant interest in the potential for technology to reduce utilisation of health services in these patient populations, including telecare (the remote, automatic and passive monitoring of changes in an individual's condition or lifestyle) and telehealth (the remote exchange of data between a patient and health care professional). The potential of telehealth and telecare technology to improve care and reduce costs is limited by a lack of rigorous evidence of actual impact.
We are conducting a large scale, multi-site study of the implementation, impact and acceptability of these new technologies. A major part of the evaluation is a cluster-randomised controlled trial of telehealth and telecare versus usual care in patients with long-term conditions or social care needs. The trial involves a number of outcomes, including health care utilisation and quality of life. We describe the broad evaluation and the methods of the cluster randomised trial
If telehealth and telecare technology proves effective, it will provide additional options for health services worldwide to deliver care for populations with high levels of need.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43002091
Preventive interventions are developed for children of parents with mental and substance use disorders (COPMI), because these children have a higher risk of developing a psychological or behavioral disorder in the future. Mental health and substance use disorders contribute significantly to the global burden of disease. Although the exact number of parents with a mental illness is unclear, the subject of mentally ill parents is gaining attention. Moreover there is a lack of interventions for COPMI-children, as well of (cost-) effectiveness studies evaluating COPMI interventions. Innovative interventions such as e-health provide a new field for exploration. There is no knowledge about the opportunities for using the internet to prevent problems in children at risk. In the current study we will focus on the (cost-) effectiveness of an online health prevention program for COPMI-children.
We designed a randomized controlled trial to examine the (cost-) effectiveness of the Kopstoring intervention. Kopstoring is an online intervention for COPMI-children to strengthen their coping skills and prevent behavioral and psychological problems. We will compare the Kopstoring intervention with (waiting list) care as usual. This trial will be conducted entirely over the internet. An economic evaluation, from a societal perspective will be conducted, to examine the trial's cost-effectiveness. Power calculations show that 214 participants are needed, aged 16-25. Possible participants will be recruited via media announcements and banners on the internet. After screening and completing informed consent procedures, participants will be randomized. The main outcome is internalizing and externalizing symptoms as measured by the Youth Self Report. For the economic evaluation, healthcare costs and costs outside the healthcare sector will be measured at the same time as the clinical measures, at baseline, 3, 6 and 9 months. An extended measure for the intervention group will be provided at 12 months, to examine the long-term effects. In addition, a process evaluation will be conducted.
Recent developments, such as international conferences and policy discussions, show the pressing need to study the (cost-) effectiveness of interventions for vulnerable groups of children. This study will shed light on the (cost-) effectiveness of an online preventive intervention.
Many clinical conditions including various types of cancers are complex and generally require invasive, laborious, expensive and time-consuming investigations for their diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. There is therefore a general need for exploring non-invasive markers in clinical medicine. Interleukin 8 (IL-8) is currently being applied in various subspecialties of medicine either for the purpose of rapid diagnosis or as a predictor of prognosis. Nevertheless, there is need for large-scale studies to substantiate accuracy and outcome. This article will summarize current evidence suggesting that Interleukin 8 (IL-8) may serve as a useful biomarker.
Psychological treatments for dementia are widely used in the UK and internationally, but only rarely have they been standardised, adequately evaluated or systematically implemented. There is increasing recognition that psychosocial interventions may have similar levels of effectiveness to medication, and both can be used in combination. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is a 7-week cognitive-based approach for dementia that has been shown to be beneficial for cognition and quality of life and is cost-effective, but there is less conclusive evidence for the effects of CST over an extended period.
This multi-centre, pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT) to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Maintenance CST groups for dementia compares a intervention group who receive CST for 7 weeks followed by the Maintenance CST programme once a week for 24 weeks with the control group who receive CST for 7 weeks, followed by treatment as usual for 24 weeks.
The primary outcome measures are quality of life of people with dementia assessed by the QoL-AD and cognition assessed by the ADAS-Cog. Secondary outcomes include the person with dementia's mood, behaviour, activities of daily living, ability to communicate and costs; as well as caregiver health-related quality of life. Using a 5% significance level, comparison of 230 participants will yield 80% power to detect a standardised difference of 0.39 on the ADAS-Cog between the groups. The trial includes a cost-effectiveness analysis from a public sector perspective.
A pilot study of longer-term Maintenance CST, offering 16 weekly sessions of maintenance following the initial CST programme, previously found a significant improvement in cognitive function (MMSE) for those on the intervention group. The study identified the need for a large-scale, multi-centre RCT to define the potential longer-term benefits of continuing the therapy. This study aims to provide definitive evidence of the potential efficacy of maintenance CST and establish how far the long-term benefits can be compared with antidementia drugs such as cholinesterase inhibitors.
There are many diagnostic techniques and methods available for diagnosis of medically important microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. But, almost all these techniques and methods have some limitations or inconvenience. Most of these techniques are laborious, time consuming and with chances of false positive or false negative results. It warrants the need of a diagnostic technique which can overcome these limitations and problems. At present, there is emerging trend to use Fluorescence spectroscopy as a diagnostic as well as research tool in many fields of medical sciences. Here, we will critically discuss research studies which propose that Fluorescence spectroscopy may be an excellent diagnostic as well as excellent research tool in medical microbiology field with high sensitivity and specificity.
Various interventions have been tested to achieve adherence to anti-psychotic maintenance medication in non-adherent patients with psychotic disorders, and there is no consistent evidence for the effectiveness of any established intervention. The effectiveness of financial incentives in improving adherence to a range of treatments has been demonstrated; no randomised controlled trial however has tested the use of financial incentives to achieve medication adherence for patients with psychotic disorders living in the community.
In a cluster randomised controlled trial, 34 mental health teams caring for difficult to engage patients in the community will be randomly allocated to either the intervention group, where patients will be offered a financial incentive for each anti-psychotic depot medication they receive over a 12 month period, or the control group, where all patients will receive treatment as usual. We will recruit 136 patients with psychotic disorders who use these services and who have problems adhering to antipsychotic depot medication, although all conventional methods to achieve adherence have been tried. The primary outcome will be adherence levels, and secondary outcomes are global clinical improvement, number of voluntary and involuntary hospital admissions, number of attempted and completed suicides, incidents of physical violence, number of police arrests, number of days spent in work/training/education, subjective quality of life and satisfaction with medication. We will also establish the cost effectiveness of offering financial incentives.
The study aims to provide new evidence on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of offering financial incentives to patients with psychotic disorders to adhere to antipsychotic maintenance medication. If financial incentives improve adherence and lead to better health and social outcomes, they may be recommended as one option to improve the treatment of non-adherent patients with psychotic disorders.
Current controlled trials ISRCTN77769281.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the commonest cause of dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, are the drug class with the best evidence of efficacy, licensed for mild to moderate AD, while the glutamate antagonist memantine has been widely prescribed, often in the later stages of AD. Memantine is licensed for moderate to severe dementia in AD but is not recommended by the England and Wales National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. However, there is little evidence to guide clinicians as to what to prescribe as AD advances; in particular, what to do as the condition progresses from moderate to severe. Options include continuing cholinesterase inhibitors irrespective of decline, adding memantine to cholinesterase inhibitors, or prescribing memantine instead of cholinesterase inhibitors. The aim of this trial is to establish the most effective drug option for people with AD who are progressing from moderate to severe dementia despite treatment with donepezil.
DOMINO-AD is a pragmatic, 15 centre, double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. Patients with AD, currently living at home, receiving donepezil 10 mg daily, and with Standardized Mini-Mental State Examination (SMMSE) scores between 5 and 13 are being recruited. Each is randomized to one of four treatment options: continuation of donepezil with memantine placebo added; switch to memantine with donepezil placebo added; donepezil and memantine together; or donepezil placebo with memantine placebo. 800 participants are being recruited and treatment continues for one year. Primary outcome measures are cognition (SMMSE) and activities of daily living (Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale). Secondary outcomes are non-cognitive dementia symptoms (Neuropsychiatric Inventory), health related quality of life (EQ-5D and DEMQOL-proxy), carer burden (General Health Questionnaire-12), cost effectiveness (using Client Service Receipt Inventory) and institutionalization. These outcomes are assessed at baseline, 6, 18, 30 and 52 weeks. All participants will be subsequently followed for 3 years by telephone interview to record institutionalization.
There is considerable debate about the clinical and cost effectiveness of anti-dementia drugs. DOMINO-AD seeks to provide clear evidence on the best treatment strategies for those managing patients at a particularly important clinical transition point.
Current controlled trials ISRCTN49545035
Decision makers in care and support systems across Europe are increasingly facing up to new economic realities. Most obvious among the forces that are changing the economic context is the ageing of the population, and the associated realisation that today’s arrangements for supporting older people with health and social care needs will probably not be seen as affordable in 20 or 30 years time. Another force for change is that many more people with major disabilities are surviving into old age. At the same time, and a further cause for celebration, older and disabled people today have different expectations, in particular demanding access to the same opportunities as those available to any other citizen. This manifests itself in, for example, higher aspirations for participation in further and higher education, for employment, for relationships and family roles, and for control over decisions that affect their daily lives.
Description and discussion
Set in this exciting new context, the aim of this presentation will be to identify the new economic challenges that pervade the fields of ageing and disability, and describe some possible responses, in particular looking to learn from across the broad spectrum of ageing and disability. Among the areas to be considered are: the funding of long-term care and support, and the need to consider radical new arrangements; the promotion of choice and control; the development of inclusive employment strategies; the conceptualisation and assessment of success (‘outcome’) in research; and the creation of an evidence base to support decision-making. In each case, the focus will be on the contributions made by economic insights and analysis.
economics; financing; funding
Limited research has been undertaken in Europe examining the shift in the balance of care from psychiatric facilities to community/alternative based facilities (deinstitutionalisation). In order to address this gap the Mental Health Economics European Network undertook research across 32 network countries to explore the extent to which care has shifted, and what challenges and barriers, particularly any economic and organisational ones, exist.
In order to examine whether the mix of services and support provided across Europe is considered appropriate, a questionnaire was developed to explore the economic barriers and incentives affecting the shift in the balance of care.
Countries are at different stages in the implementation of deinstitutionalisation. Community care is greatly overstretched in all countries and very limited in others. Many countries still need to make considerable investments in the necessary physical and human resources.
Network countries have and face varied experiences and challenges. There is growing consensus around community care but there is a lack of community services in many countries. Greater investments and political will is needed.
Decision makers need to keep in mind the danger of closing beds before community care is fully developed. The closure of an institution is easy; the challenge is to build good community care. Country leaders need to ensure that mental health services are provided through primary care facilities, with appropriate secondary systems, consisting of specialist consultant services, and inpatient specialist care when needed, and that community care is seen as encompassing social care support.
mental health; deinstitutionalisation; community care; economics
Background and aims
This study aimed to collate and summarise statistical information on the number of people with disabilities living in all types of residential care but with a particular focus on those living in institutional care within 28 countries in Europe to analyse the costs and outcomes of the transition to community-based services in order to provide recommendations for agents in these countries to help bring about the change. The rationale for the study was to inform the political debate, to provide evidence and recommendations to support the move to community-based living for people with disabilities. The study aimed to collect data across client groups (intellectual disability, physical and sensory disability and mental illness) and across different age groups (children, adults and older adults).
Description of project
There were two phases to this study—the first provided a description of service types in each country and collated existing official statistics on the number of people with disabilities in the different types of residential services; the second phase analysed the existing body of knowledge on costs and outcomes of institutional and community-based services to provide conclusions and recommendations.
More than 1.45 million people with disabilities in Europe still live in residential care with 70% of these living in services with over 30 places. Data was better on people with intellectual disabilities than for other user groups but figures collated are none-the-less an underestimation. Drawing together such a mass of information served to highlight the extent of the work still needed to achieve the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in almost all the countries included in terms of community-based services for all. It also highlighted the gaps in the available data. Challenges in the task of collating information included the lack of information collated at national level, the issue of varying definitions in use and inconsistency in how and where data was available.
Most countries in Europe still have some way to go to be able to meet Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Recommendations focuses are offered to help bridge the gaps in data available on the situation of people with disabilities.
disabilities; residential care; institutions
Cognitive deficits in people with schizophrenia are associated with poor functioning and lower quality of life. Because few studies have examined their relationship with service use or costs, it is unclear whether effective cognitive remediation interventions have potential for economic impacts. This study examined associations between cognition and costs among people with schizophrenia. Baseline data collected between 1999 and 2002 from a randomized controlled trial of cognitive remediation therapy were analyzed. A total of 85 participants were recruited from a London mental health trust if they had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, evidence of cognitive/social functioning difficulties, and at least 1 year since first contact with psychiatric services. Cognition levels, social functioning, symptoms, sociodemographic characteristics, and retrospective use of health/social care and other resources were measured. Average public sector costs were estimated to be £15 078 ($23 824) for a 6-month period. Associations between health/social care costs and type and severity of cognition were examined using structural equation models. No significant relationships were found between cognition and costs in a model based on 3 independent constituent components of cognition (cognitive shifting, verbal working memory, and response inhibition), although a model with covarying cognition components fitted the observed data well. A model with cognition as a single construct both fitted well and showed a significant relationship. In people with schizophrenia and severe cognitive impairment, improvements in either overall cognition or specific cognitive components may impact on costs. Further investigation in larger samples is needed to confirm this finding and to explore its generalizability to those with less severe deficits.
service utilization; structural equation models; remediation
Background Training care givers reduces their burden and improves psychosocial outcomes in care givers and patients at one year. However, the cost effectiveness of this approach has not been investigated.
Objective To evaluate the cost effectiveness of caregiver training by examining health and social care costs, informal care costs, and quality adjusted life years in care givers.
Design A single, blind, randomised controlled trial.
Setting Stroke rehabilitation unit.
Subjects 300 stroke patients and their care givers.
Interventions Caregiver training in basic nursing and facilitation of personal care techniques compared with no care giver training.
Main outcome measures Health and social care costs, informal care costs, and quality adjusted life years in care givers over one year after stroke.
Results Total health and social care costs over one year for patients whose care givers received training were significantly lower (mean difference -£4043 ($7249; €6072), 95% confidence interval -£6544 to -£1595). Inclusion of informal care costs, which were similar between the two groups, did not alter this conclusion. The cost difference was largely due to differences in length of hospital stay. The EQ-5D did not detect changes in quality adjusted life years in care givers.
Conclusion Compared with no training, caregiver training during rehabilitation of patients reduced costs of care while improving overall quality of life in care givers at one year.
Background Informal care givers support disabled stroke patients at home but receive little training for the caregiving role.
Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of training care givers in reducing burden of stroke in patients and their care givers.
Design A single, blind, randomised controlled trial.
Setting Stroke rehabilitation unit.
Subjects 300 stroke patients and their care givers.
Interventions Training care givers in basic nursing and facilitation of personal care techniques.
Main outcome measures Cost to health and social services, caregiving burden, patients' and care givers' functional status (Barthel index, Frenchay activities index), psychological state (hospital anxiety and depression score), quality of life (EuroQol visual analogue scale) and patients' institutionalisation or mortality at one year.
Results Patients were comparable for age (median 76 years; interquartile range 70-82 years), sex (53% men), and severity of stroke (median Barthel index 8; interquartile range 4-12). The costs of care over one year for patients whose care givers had received training were significantly lower (£10 133 v £13 794 ($18 087 v $24 619; €15 204 v €20 697); P = 0.001). Trained care givers experienced less caregiving burden (care giver burden score 32 v 41; P = 0.0001), anxiety (anxiety score 3 v 4; P = 0.0001) or depression (depression score 2 v 3; P = 0.0001) and had a higher quality of life (EuroQol score 80 v 70; P = 0.001). Patients' mortality, institutionalisation, and disability were not influenced by caregiver training. However, patients reported less anxiety (3 v 4.5; P < 0.0001) and depression (3 v 4; P < 0.0001) and better quality of life (65 v 60; P = 0.009) in the caregiver training group.
Conclusion Training care givers during patients' rehabilitation reduced costs and caregiver burden while improving psychosocial outcomes in care givers and patients at one year.