The implementation of guidelines and training initiatives to support communication in cross-cultural primary care consultations is ad hoc across a range of international settings with negative consequences particularly for migrants. This situation reflects a well-documented translational gap between evidence and practice and is part of the wider problem of implementing guidelines and the broader range of professional educational and quality interventions in routine practice. In this paper, we describe our use of a contemporary social theory, Normalization Process Theory and participatory research methodology—Participatory Learning and Action—to investigate and support implementation of such guidelines and training initiatives in routine practice.
This is a qualitative case study, using multiple primary care sites across Europe. Purposive and maximum variation sampling approaches will be used to identify and recruit stakeholders—migrant service users, general practitioners, primary care nurses, practice managers and administrative staff, interpreters, cultural mediators, service planners, and policy makers. We are conducting a mapping exercise to identify relevant guidelines and training initiatives. We will then initiate a PLA-brokered dialogue with stakeholders around Normalization Process Theory’s four constructs—coherence, cognitive participation, collective action, and reflexive monitoring. Through this, we will enable stakeholders in each setting to select a single guideline or training initiative for implementation in their local setting. We will prospectively investigate and support the implementation journeys for the five selected interventions. Data will be generated using a Participatory Learning and Action approach to interviews and focus groups. Data analysis will follow the principles of thematic analysis, will occur in iterative cycles throughout the project and will involve participatory co-analysis with key stakeholders to enhance the authenticity and veracity of findings.
This research employs a unique combination of Normalization Process Theory and Participatory Learning and Action, which will provide a novel approach to the analysis of implementation journeys. The findings will advance knowledge in the field of implementation science because we are using and testing theoretical and methodological approaches so that we can critically appraise their scope to mediate barriers and improve the implementation processes.
Early diagnosis of anaemia represents an important task within primary care settings. This study reports on the frequency of new cases of anaemia among patients attending rural primary care settings in Crete (Greece) and to offer an estimate of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) frequency in this study group.
All patients attending the rural primary health care units of twelve general practitioners (GPs) on the island of Crete for ten consecutive working days were eligible to participate in this study. Hemoglobin (Hb) levels were measured by portable analyzers. Laboratory tests to confirm new cases of anaemia were performed at the University General Hospital of Heraklion.
One hundred and thirteen out of 541 recruited patients had a low value of Hb according to the initial measurement obtained by the use of the portable analyzer. Forty five (45.5%) of the 99 subjects who underwent laboratory testing had confirmed anaemia. The mean value of the Hb levels in the group with confirmed anaemia, as detected by the portable analyzer was 11.1 g/dl (95% Confidence Interval (CI) from 10.9 to 11.4) and the respective mean value of the Hb levels obtained from the full blood count was 11.4 g/dl (95% CI from 11.2 to 11.7) (P = 0.01). Sixteen out of those 45 patients with anaemia (35.6%) had IDA, with ferritin levels lower than 30 ng/ml.
Keeping in mind that this paper does not deal with specificity or sensitivity figures, it is suggested that in rural and remote settings anaemia is still invisible and point of care testing may have a place to identify it.
Research has indicated that general practitioners (GPs) have good clinical judgment in regards to diagnosing and managing herpes zoster (HZ) within clinical practice in a country with limited resources for primary care and general practice. The objective of the current study was to assess the burden of HZ and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) within rural general practices in Crete, Greece.
The current study took place within a rural setting in Crete, Greece during the period of November 2007 to November 2009 within the catchment area in which the Cretan Rural Practice-based Research Network is operating. In total 19 GP's from 14 health care units in rural Crete were invited to participate, covering a total turnover patient population of approximately 25, 000 subjects. For the purpose of this study an electronic record database was constructed and used as the main tool for monitoring HZ and PHN incidence. Stress related data was also collected with the use of the Short Anxiety Screening Test (SAST).
The crude incidence rate of HZ was 1.4/1000 patients/year throughout the entire network of health centers and satellite practices, while among satellite practices alone it was calculated at 1.3/1000 patients/year. Additionally, the standardised incidence density within satellite practices was calculated at 1.6/1000 patients/year. In regards to the stress associated with HZ and PHN, the latter were found to have lower levels of anxiety, as assessed through the SAST score (17.4 ± 3.9 vs. 21.1 ± 5.7; p = 0.029).
The implementation of an electronic surveillance system was feasible so as to measure the burden of HZ and PHN within the rural general practice setting in Crete.
To translate the Perceived Stress Scale (versions PSS-4, −10 and −14) and to assess its psychometric properties in a sample of general Greek population.
941 individuals completed anonymously questionnaires comprising of PSS, the Depression Anxiety and Stress scale (DASS-21 version), and a list of stress-related symptoms. Psychometric properties of PSS were investigated by confirmatory factor analysis (construct validity), Cronbach’s alpha (reliability), and by investigating relations with the DASS-21 scores and the number of symptoms, across individuals’ characteristics. The two-factor structure of PSS-10 and PSS-14 was confirmed in our analysis. We found satisfactory Cronbach’s alpha values (0.82 for the full scale) for PSS-14 and PSS-10 and marginal satisfactory values for PSS-4 (0.69). PSS score exhibited high correlation coefficients with DASS-21 subscales scores, meaning stress (r = 0.64), depression (r = 0.61), and anxiety (r = 0.54). Women reported significantly more stress compared to men and divorced or widows compared to married or singled only. A strong significant (p < 0.001) positive correlation between the stress score and the number of self-reported symptoms was also noted.
The Greek versions of the PSS-14 and PSS-10 exhibited satisfactory psychometric properties and their use for research and health care practice is warranted.
Perceived Stress Scale; translation; psychometric properties; validation; Greece
Excessive use of antibiotics is worldwide the most important reason for development of antimicrobial resistance. As antibiotic resistance may spread across borders, high prevalence countries may serve as a source of bacterial resistance for countries with a low prevalence. Therefore, bacterial resistance is an important issue with a potential serious impact on all countries. Initiatives have been taken to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing in primary care, but only few studies have been designed to determine the effectiveness of multifaceted strategies across countries with different practice setting. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted intervention targeting general practitioners (GPs) and patients in six countries with different health organization and different prevalence of antibiotic resistance.
GPs from two Nordic countries, two Baltic Countries and two Hispano-American countries registered patients with respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in 2008 and 2009. After first registration they received individual prescriber feedback and they were offered an intervention programme that included training courses, clinical guidelines, posters for waiting rooms, patient brochures and access to point of care tests (Strep A and C-Reactive Protein). Antibiotic prescribing rates were compared before and after the intervention.
A total of 440 GPs registered 47011 consultations; 24436 before the intervention (2008) and 22575 after the intervention (2009). After the intervention, the GPs significantly reduced the percentage of consultations resulting in an antibiotic prescription. In patients with lower RTI the GPs in Lithuania reduced the prescribing rate by 42%, in Russia by 25%, in Spain by 25%, and in Argentina by 9%. In patients with upper RTIs, the corresponding reductions in the antibiotic prescribing rates were in Lithania 20%, in Russia 15%, in Spain 9%, and in Argentina 5%.
A multifaceted intervention programme targeting GPs and patients and focusing on improving diagnostic procedures in patients with RTIs may lead to a marked reduction in antibiotic prescribing. The pragmatic before-after design used may suffer from some limitations and the reduction in antibiotic prescribing could be influenced by factors not related to the intervention.
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is the most preferable diagnostic examination for patients over fifty when upper gastrointestinal symptoms appear. However, limited knowledge exists in concerns to the compliance of primary care patients' to the doctors' recommendations for endoscopy.
Patients who visited primary care practices in Greece and experienced upper gastrointestinal symptoms within a 10 days screening study, were referred for an upper endoscopy exam. The patients which refused to complete the endoscopy exam, were interviewed by the use of an open- ended translated and validated questionnaire, the Identification of Dyspepsia in General Population (IDGP) questionnaire. A qualitative thematic analysis grounded on the theory of planned behavior was performed to reveal the reasons for patients' refusal, while socio-demographic predictors were also assessed.
Nine hundred and ninety two patients were recorded, 159 of them (16%) were found positive for dyspepsia and gastro-esophageal reflux disease according to the IDGP questionnaire. Out of the above, 131 (83.6%) patients refused further investigation with endoscopy. Patients who refused upper endoscopy were predominantly female (87.8%) (p = 0.036) and over the age of 50. The lack of severe symptoms, fear of pain, concerns of sedation, comorbidity and competing life demands were reported by patients as barriers to performing an endoscopic investigation.
Patients with dyspepsia in rural Greece tend to avoid upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, with two major axons considered to be the causes of patients' refusal: their beliefs towards endoscopy and their personal capability to cope with it. Future research examining reasons of low compliance should be carried out in combination with modern behavioral theories so as to investigate into the above.
In 1988, the SPILI project was established in order to evaluate the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profile of the inhabitants of Spili, in rural Crete, Greece. The first reports from this project revealed that against the unfavourable risk factors' profile observed, only a few men with a previous myocardial infarction were encountered. A follow-up study (SPILI II) was performed twelve years after the initial examination, and the unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile was re-confirmed.
Presentation of the Hypothesis
This paper presents a hypothesis formulated on the basis of previous research to investigate if dynamic psycho-social determinants, including social coherence of the local community, religiosity and spirituality, are protective against the development of coronary heart disease in a well-defined population.
Testing the Hypothesis
A follow-up examination of this Cretan cohort is currently being performed to assess the link between psychosocial factors and CVD. Psychosocial factors including sense of control, religiosity and spirituality are assessed in together with conventional CVD risk factors. Smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as dietary habits and activity levels are recorded. Oxidative stress and inflammatory markers, as well as ultrasound measurement of carotid intima media thickness, a preclinical marker of atherosclerosis, will also be measured.
Implications of the hypothesis tested
The issue of the cardio-protective effect of psycho-social factors would be revisited based on the results of this Cretan cohort; nevertheless, further research is needed across different sub-populations in order to establish a definite relationship. A comprehensive approach based on the aspects of bio-social life may result in more accurate CVD risk management.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are considered underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed chronic diseases. In The Netherlands, a COPD-asthma telemedicine service has been developed to increase GPs' ability to diagnose and manage COPD and asthma. A telemedicine COPD-asthma service may benefit Greece as it is a country, partly due to its geography, that does not have easy access to pulmonologists.
Therefore, a pilot feasibility study has been designed in Greece in order to establish this telemedicine service. Ten rural practices, in the island of Crete, with an average population of 2000 patients per practice will pilot the project supported by three pulmonologists. This paper presents the translated interfaces, the flowcharts and the steps that are considered as necessary for this feasibility study in Crete, Greece.
The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of burnout in Greek medical residents, investigate its relationship with training satisfaction during residency and survey Greek medical residents' opinion towards the European Work Time Directive (EWTD).
A Multi-centre, cross-sectional survey of Greek residents was performed. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was used to measure burnout, which was defined as high emotional exhaustion, combined with high depersonalization or low personal accomplishment. In addition, seven questions were designed for this study to evaluate self-reported resident training satisfaction and three questions queried residents' opinion on the EWTD and its effects on their personal and social life as well as their medical training. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical models were used for the evaluation of data.
Out of 311 respondents (77.8% response rate), 154 (49.5%) met burnout criteria and 99 (31.8%) indicated burnout on all three subscale scores. The number of residents that were dissatisfied with the overall quality of their residency training were 113 individuals (36.3%). Only 32 residents (10.3%) believed that the EWTD implementation will not have any beneficial effects for them.
Both burnout and training dissatisfaction were common among Greek residents. Systemic interventions are thus required within the Greek health system, aimed at reducing resident impairment due to burnout and at improving their educational and professional perspectives. Although residents' opinion on the EWTD was not associated with burnout levels, the EWTD was found to be predominantly supported and anticipated by Greek residents and should be implemented to alleviate their workload and stress.
To explore the association of allergic rhinitis with the use of pesticides among grape farmers in Crete.
A cross‐sectional study of 120 grape farmers and 100 controls at the Malevisi region in Northern Crete was conducted. The protocol consisted of a questionnaire, skin prick tests for 16 common allergens, measurement of specific IgE antibodies against 8 allergens, and spirometry before and after bronchodilatation.
Grape farmers who used pesticides had higher prevalence rates of allergic rhinitis symptoms (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4 to 6.2) compared with grape farmers who reported no current use of pesticides, and control subjects. Logistic regression models controlling for age, sex and smoking status showed that 6 of the 12 predefined groups of major pesticides were significantly related to allergic rhinitis symptoms. The highest risks were observed for paraquat and other bipyridyl herbicides (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.0 to 4.8), dithiocarbamate fungicides (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 5.3) and carbamate insecticides (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4 to 6.5). A factor analysis of pesticides used identified 3 distinct factors. The most common factor was that of multiple pesticide use that included 9 pesticides and was significantly associated with allergic rhinitis (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.3). ORs were higher when allergic rhinitis was defined using both questionnaire data on symptoms and atopy.
Occupational exposure to multiple agricultural chemicals could be related to allergic rhinitis in grape farmers.
Excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics is considered to be the most important reason for development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. As antibiotic resistance may spread across borders, high prevalence countries may serve as a source of bacterial resistance for countries with a low prevalence. Therefore, bacterial resistance is an important issue with a potential serious impact on all countries.
The majority of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are treated in general practice. Most infections are caused by virus and antibiotics are therefore unlikely to have any clinical benefit. Several intervention initiatives have been taken to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics in primary health care, but the effectiveness of these interventions is only modest. Only few studies have been designed to determine the effectiveness of multifaceted strategies in countries with different practice setting. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted intervention targeting general practitioners (GPs) and patients in six countries with different prevalence of antibiotic resistance: Two Nordic countries (Denmark and Sweden), two Baltic Countries (Lithuania and Kaliningrad-Russia) and two Hispano-American countries (Spain and Argentina).
HAPPY AUDIT was initiated in 2008 and the project is still ongoing. The project includes 15 partners from 9 countries. GPs participating in HAPPY AUDIT will be audited by the Audit Project Odense (APO) method. The APO method will be used at a multinational level involving GPs from six countries with different cultural background and different organisation of primary health care. Research on the effect of the intervention will be performed by analysing audit registrations carried out before and after the intervention. The intervention includes training courses on management of RTIs, dissemination of clinical guidelines with recommendations for diagnosis and treatment, posters for the waiting room, brochures to patients and implementation of point of care tests (Strep A and CRP) to be used in the GPs'surgeries.
To ensure public awareness of the risk of resistant bacteria, media campaigns targeting both professionals and the public will be developed and the results will be published and widely disseminated at a Working Conference hosted by the World Association of Family Doctors (WONCA-Europe) at the end of the project period.
HAPPY AUDIT is an EU-financed project with the aim of contributing to the battle against antibiotic resistance through quality improvement of GPs' diagnosis and treatment of RTIs through development of intervention programmes targeting GPs, parents of young children and healthy adults. It is hypothesized that the use of multifaceted strategies combining active intervention by GPs will be effective in reducing prescribing of unnecessary antibiotics for RTIs and improving the use of appropriate antibiotics in suspected bacterial infections.
Dietary fats have long been associated with human health, and especially cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some observational studies have shown that reduction in dietary fats, and particularly cholesterol is associated with lower cardiovascular risk; however, other prospective studies or randomized controlled trials of dietary fat reduction or modification have shown varying results on CVD morbidity and mortality. In this work we evaluated the relationships between dietary fats and a cluster of CVD risk factors (i.e., diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension), among elderly individuals without known CVD. In particular, dietary and clinical data from 1486 elderly (aged 65 to 100 years) men and women living in Cyprus, Mitilini, Samothraki, Cephalonia, Crete, Lemnos, Syros, Naxos, Corfu and Zakynthos islands, and participated in the MEDIS study, were analysed. Data analysis revealed that 18.5% of males and 33.3% of females had three or four cardiovascular disease risk factors; the major source of fat was olive oil (mean intake for men and women 50.0 ± 19.3 g/day and 46.0 ± 16.8 g/day, p < 0.001). In addition it was observed that a 5% increase in energy adjusted fat intake from meat was associated with a 21% increase in the likelihood of having one additional CVD risk factor (95%CI 6%-39%); no significant associations were observed regarding the other types of fat consumed by the elderly participants. These findings may state a hypothesis that the consumption of fat only from meat or its products seems to increase the burden of CVD risk factors among CVD-free, elderly people.
The aim of the current study was to assess the reliability and validity of the Greek translation of the Short Anxiety Screening Test (SAST), for use in primary care settings. The scale consists of 10 items and is a brief clinician rating scale for the detection of anxiety disorder in older people, particularly, in the presence of depression.
The study was performed in two rural primary care settings in Crete. The sample consisted of 99 older (76 ± 6.3 years old) people, who fulfilled the participating criteria. The translation and cultural adaptation of the questionnaire was performed according to international standards. Internal consistency using the Cronbach α coefficient and test-retest reliability using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to assess the reliability of the tool. An exploratory factor analysis using Varimax with Kaiser normalisation (rotation method) was used to examine the structure of the instrument, and for the correlation of the items interitem correlation matrix was applied and assessed with Cronbach α.
Translation and backtranslation did not reveal any specific problems. The psychometric properties of the Greek version of the SAST scale in primary care were good. Internal consistency of the instrument was good, the Cronbach α was found to be 0.763 (P < 0.001) and ICC (95% CI) for reproducibility was found to be 0.763 (0.686 to 0.827). Factor analysis revealed three factors with eigenvalues >1.0 accounting for 60% of variance, while the Cronbach α was >0.7 for every item.
The Greek translation of the SAST questionnaire is comparable with that of the original version in terms of reliability, and can be used in primary healthcare research. Its use in clinical practice should be primarily as a screening tool only at this stage, with a follow-up consisting of a detailed interview with the patient, in order to confirm the diagnosis.
As the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) calls for public health awareness on tobacco use, mass media campaigns should be appropriately designed so as to maximize their effectiveness. In this methodological pilot study, 95 Greek adolescents (mean age 15 ± 1.8 years), were shown seven different anti tobacco ads, and asked to rate the ad theme, message and emotional context on a 1−7 Likert scale. Health related ads were rated the highest, and as identified through the logistic regression analysis, adolescents who perceived an ad to be emotional or to have a clear message that was relevant to them, were more likely to rate the ad as more effective. The strong agreement between the above findings and the existing literature indicates the applicability of this pilot study’s methodological approach.
smoking; prevention; mass media; health education; adolescents; tobacco control; anti-tobacco; counter advertising
Primary lymphedema is a rare, chronic and distressing condition with negative effects on physical, social and emotional level. The purpose of these reports was to present and discuss two different cases of primary lower limb lymphedema with a focus on its physical and mental impact and on some qualitative aspects of patients' self-reported experiences. The patients were recruited as they used occasional services within the University Hospital of Heraklion (Crete, Greece). The functional and mental impact of primary lymphedema was measured using the generic Medical Outcome Study short form-36 questionnaire and open-ended questions led to give more emphasis to patients' experiences. The analysis of short form-36 results in the first patient disclosed a significant functional impairment with a minor impact of the condition on emotional and social domains. For the second patient quality of life scores in the emotional and social domains were affected. Our findings support further the statement that physicians should pay full attention to appraise the patient's physical and emotional condition. General practitioners have the opportunity to monitor the long-term impact of chronic disorders. Posing simple open-ended questions and assessing the level of physical and mental deficits in terms of well-being through the use of specific metric tools can effectively follow-up rare conditions in the community.
lymphedema; diagnosis; quality of life; primary health care
People in Greece, especially those living in rural areas, frequently consume various plants and herbs as a vegetable meal or as a herbal remedy, which can lead to a number of adverse reactions. These two case reports resulted in a prolonged hospitalisation due to severe and persistent supraventricular tachycardia caused by a vegetable meal.
These case reports describe two cases of accidentally use of Mandragora Officinarum identified within the same Greek family, which resulted in hospitalisation. A 47-year-old Greek Caucasian woman and a 48-year-old Greek Caucasian male presented to the local primary care centre with nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, headache and dryness of mouth. Due to serious supraventricular tachycardia, the two patients were hospitalised in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital for a week.
These case reports highlight the importance of ensuring that primary care physicians are aware of the possible effects of mandragora use, for cases when they are involved in the treatment of patients presenting with similar symptoms as those discussed below.
The burden of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) on the general health and well-being of the population has been documented in various studies. The objective of this study was to explore the association between MSD and the quality of life and mental health of patients and to discuss issues concerning care seeking patterns in rural Greece.
Patients registered at one rural Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Crete were invited to complete the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms, together with validated instruments for measuring health related quality of life (SF-36) and mental distress (GHQ-28).
The prevalence rate of MSD was found to be 71.2%, with low back and knee pain being the most common symptoms. Most conditions significantly impaired the quality of life, especially the physical dimensions of SF-36. Depression was strongly correlated to most MSD (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic analyses revealed that patients who consulted the PCC due to MSD were likely to have more mental distress or impaired physical functioning compared to those who did not.
Musculoskeletal disorders were common in patients attending the rural PCC of this study and were associated with a poor quality of life and mental distress that affected their consultation behaviour.
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is an important screening instrument that is used routinely with mothers during the postpartum period for early identification of postnatal depression. The purpose of this study was to validate the Greek version of EPDS along with sensitivity, specificity and predictive values.
120 mothers within 12 weeks postpartum were recruited from the perinatal care registers of the Maternity Departments of 4 Hospitals of Heraklion municipality, Greece. EPDS and Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) surveys were administered in random order to the mothers. Each mother was diagnosed with depression according to the validated Greek version of BDI-II. The psychometric measurements that were performed included: two independent samples t-tests, One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), reliability coefficients, Explanatory factor analysis using a Varimax rotation and Principal Components Method. Confirmatory analysis -known as structural equation modelling- of principal components was conducted by LISREL (Linear Structural Relations). A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was carried out to evaluate the global functioning of the scale.
8 (6.7%) of the mothers were diagnosed with major postnatal depression, 14 (11.7%) with moderate and 38 (31.7%) with mild depression on the basis of BDI-II scores. The internal consistency of the EPDS Greek version -using Chronbach's alpha coefficient- was found 0.804 and that of Guttman split-half coefficient 0.742. Our findings confirm the multidimensionality of EPDS, demonstrating a two-factor structure which contained subscales reflecting depressive symptoms and anxiety. The Confirmatory Factor analysis demonstrated that the two factor model offered a very good fit to our data. The area under ROC curve AUC was found 0.7470 and the logistic estimate for the threshold score of 8/9 fitted the model sensitivity at 76.7% and model specificity at 68.3%.
Our data confirm the validity of the Greek version of the EPDS in identifying postnatal depression. The Greek EPDS scale could be used as a useful instrument in both clinical practice and research.
Over the past years, Greece has undergone several endeavors aimed at modernizing and improving national health care services with a focus on PHC. However, the extent to which integrated primary health care has been achieved is still questioned.
This paper explores the extent to which integrated primary health care (PHC) is an issue in the current agenda of policy makers in Greece, reporting constraints and opportunities and highlighting the need for a policy perspective in developing integrated PHC in this Southern European country.
A systematic review in PubMed/Medline and SCOPUS, along with a hand search in selected Greek biomedical journals was undertaken to identify key papers, reports, editorials or opinion letters relevant to integrated health care.
Our systematic review identified 198 papers and 161 out of them were derived from electronic search. Fifty-three papers in total served the scope of this review and are shortly reported. A key finding is that the long-standing dominance of medical perspectives in Greek health policy has been paving the way towards vertical integration, pushing aside any discussions about horizontal or comprehensive integration of care.
Establishment of integrated PHC in Greece is still at its infancy, requiring major restructuring of the current national health system, as well as organizational culture changes. Moving towards a new policy-based model would bring this missing issue on the discussion table, facilitating further development.
integrated care; continuity; primary health care; policy; Greece
Background and aim This study constitutes an initial attempt at elucidating the relationship between quality of life (QoL), health status and psychological distress in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) in Greece, by comparing patients with DM registered at a rural primary healthcare centre (PHCC) and those attending a diabetes outpatient clinic (DOC) at an urban hospital.
Methods Cross-sectional study. Participants were consecutive, consenting patients with a known history of type 2DM(T2 DM), currently registered at either of the two centres. All patients were administered the Short Form-36 version 2 (SF-36 v2) and the Problem Areas In Diabetes (PAID) questionnaire, and information in relation to socio-demographic data and clinical characteristics were also obtained.
Results Patients with DM had a lower QoL over all domains when compared with general population normative data. In addition, mean scores for the SF-36 v2 Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) and six subscales of the SF-36 v2 demonstrated significant differences between the two participating centres (P < 0.0001). The mean PAID score was 19.18 (±15.58) for patients from the PHCC, versus 40.19 (±17.36) for the DOC (P < 0.0001). Lower scores on the MCS of the SF-36 v2, and higher scores on PAID in patients with T2 DM were related to major co-morbidities, insulin use and duration of DM.
Conclusions Patients with T2 DM from the urban DOC had significantly higher levels of distress and consequently lower levels of QoL compared with patients from the rural PHCC. The findings from this study may have important implications with regard to the individualisation of patient care in Greece, and encouragement of patient participation in the treatment process.
diabetes mellitus; Greece; mental health; quality of life
Hypercholesterolemia is one of the most important factors causing cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relationships between socio-demographic, clinical, lifestyle and depression status and the presence of hypercholesterolemia, among elderly individuals without known CVD.
During 2005–2007, 1190 elderly (aged 65 to 100 years) men and women (from Cyprus, Mitilini, Samothraki, Cephalonia, Crete, Lemnos, Corfu and Zakynthos) were enrolled. Socio-demographic, clinical and lifestyle factors were assessed through standard procedures. Symptoms of depression were evaluated using the short-form of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS, range 0–15). Dietary habits were assessed through a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total serum cholesterol > 200 mg/dL or use of lipids lowering medication.
44.6% of males and 61.9% of females had hypercholesterolemia (p < 0.001). Only, 63% of hypercholesterolemic participants were under special diet or pharmaceutical treatment. Hypercholisterolemic individuals had higher prevalence of obesity (43% vs. 25%), hypertension (76% vs. 57%) and diabetes (25% vs. 17%) compared with normal participants (p < 0.001). Furthermore, hypercholisterolemic participants showed higher depression levels (p = 0.002). After adjusting for various confounders, GDS score and BMI correlated with 13% (95%CI 0.98–1.30) and 14% (95%CI 0.99–1.31) higher likelihood of having hypercholesterolemia.
A considerable proportion of our elderly sample had hypercholesterolemia, while 1/3 of them were untreated. Furthermore, presence of hypercholesterolemia was correlated with depressive symptomatology and increased BMI.
We sought to evaluate the link between long-term tea intake and prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, in a sample of elderly adults.
Materials and Methods
During 2005-2007, 300 men and women from Cyprus, 142 from Mitilini, 100 from Samothraki, 114 from Kefalonia, 131 from Crete, 150 from Corfu and 103 from Zakynthos (aged 65 to 100 years) were enrolled. Dietary habits (including tea consumption) were assessed through a food frequency questionnaire. Among various factors, fasting blood glucose was measured and prevalence of (type 2) diabetes mellitus was estimated.
54% of the participants reported that they consume tea at least once a week (mean intake 1.6 ± 1.1 cup/day). The majority of the participants (98%) reported green or black tea consumption. The participants reported that they consume tea for at least 30 years of their life. After adjusting for various confounders, tea intake was inversely associated with lower blood glucose levels (b ± SEM per 1 cup: - 5.9 ± 2.6 mg/dL, p = 0.02). Moreover, multiple logistic regression revealed that moderate tea consumption (1 - 2 cups/day) was associated with 70% (95% CI 41% to 86%) lower odds of having (type 2) diabetes, irrespective of age, sex, body mass, smoking, physical activity status, dietary habits and other clinical characteristics.
The presented findings suggest that long-term tea intake is associated with reduced levels of fasting blood glucose and lower prevalence of diabetes, in a cohort of elderly people living in Mediterranean islands.
Diabetes; cardiovascular risk factors; tea; elderly