Self-management support to facilitate people with type 2 diabetes to effectively manage their condition is complex to implement. Organisational and system elements operating in relation to providing optimal self-management support in primary care are poorly understood. We have applied operational research techniques to model pathways in primary care to explore and illuminate the processes and points where people struggle to find self-management support.
Primary care clinicians and support staff in 21 NHS general practices created maps to represent their experience of patients’ progress through the system following diagnosis. These were collated into a combined pathway. Following consideration of how patients reduce dependency on the system to become enhanced self-managers, a model was created to show the influences on patients’ pathways to self-management.
Following establishment of diagnosis and treatment, appointment frequency decreases and patient self-management is expected to increase. However, capacity to consistently assess self-management capabilities; provide self-management support; or enhance patient-led self-care activities is missing from the pathways. Appointment frequencies are orientated to bio-medical monitoring rather than increasing the ability to mobilise resources or undertake self-management activities.
The model provides a clear visual picture of the complexities implicated in achieving optimal self-management support. Self-management is quickly hidden from view in a system orientated to treatment delivery rather than to enhancing patient self-management. The model created highlights the limited self-management support currently provided and illuminates points where service change might impact on providing support for self-management. Ensuring professionals are aware of locally available support and people’s existing network support has potential to provide appropriate and timely direction to community facilities and the mobilisation of resources.
Involving service users in planning their care is at the centre of policy initiatives to improve mental health care quality in England. Whilst users value care planning and want to be more involved in their own care, there is substantial empirical evidence that the majority of users are not fully involved in the care planning process. Our aim is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of training for mental health professionals in improving user involvement with the care planning processes.
This is a cluster randomised controlled trial of community mental health teams in NHS Trusts in England allocated either to a training intervention to improve user and carer involvement in care planning or control (no training and care planning as usual).
We will evaluate the effectiveness of the training intervention using a mixed design, including a ‘cluster cohort’ sample, a ‘cluster cross-sectional’ sample and process evaluation. Service users will be recruited from the caseloads of care co-ordinators.
The primary outcome will be change in self-reported involvement in care planning as measured by the validated Health Care Climate Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes include involvement in care planning, satisfaction with services, medication side-effects, recovery and hope, mental health symptoms, alliance/engagement, well-being and quality of life. Cost- effectiveness will also be measured. A process evaluation informed by implementation theory will be undertaken to assess the extent to which the training was implemented and to gauge sustainability beyond the time-frame of the trial.
It is hoped that the trial will generate data to inform mental health care policy and practice on care planning.
Trial Registration Number
ISRCTN16488358 (14 May 2014)
Care planning; Severe mental illness; Service user involvement
European countries are increasingly adopting systems of self –care support (SMS) for long term conditions which focus on enhancing individual, competencies, skills, behaviour and lifestyle changes. To date the focus of policy for engendering greater self- management in the population has been focused in the main on the actions and motivations of individuals. Less attention has been paid to how the broader influences relevant to SMS policy and practice such as those related to food production, distribution and consumption and the structural aspects and economics relating to physical exercise and governance of health care delivery systems might be implicated in the populations ability to self- manage. This study aimed to identify key informants operating with knowledge of both policy and practice related to SMS in order to explore how these influences are seen to impact on the self-management support environment for diabetes type 2.
Ninety semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholder informants in Bulgaria, Spain, Greece, Norway, Netherlands and UK. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic and textual analysis.
Stakeholders in the six countries identified a range of influences which shaped diabetes self-management (SM). The infrastructure and culture for supporting self- management practice is viewed as driven by political decision-makers, the socio-economic and policy environment, and the ethos and delivery of chronic illness management in formal health care systems. Three key themes emerged during the analysis of data. These were 1) social environmental influences on diabetes self-management 2) reluctance or inability of policy makers to regulate processes and environments related to chronic illness management 3) the focus of healthcare system governance and gaps in provision of self-management support (SMS). Nuances in the salience and content of these themes between partner countries related to the presence and articulation ofdedicated prevention and self- management policies, behavioural interventions in primary care, drug company involvement and the impact of measures resulting from economic crises, and differences between countries with higher versus lower social welfare support and public spending on shaping illness management.
The results suggest reasons for giving increasing prominence to meso level influences as a means of rebalancing and improving the effectiveness of implementing an agenda for SMS. There is a need to acknowledge the greater economic and policy challenging environment operating in some countries which act as a source of inequality between countries in addressing SMS for chronic illness management and impacts on people's capacity to undertake self-care activities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1957-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Self-management support; Long-term conditions; Diabetes Type 2; Macro; Meso level influences; State capacity; Cross-national comparison
People with mental illness have been identified as being more likely to experience type 2 diabetes and the complications arising from this, necessitating more complex chronic illness self-management. Social support has been identified as a significant factor in the successful adoption of lifestyle change for people with type 2 diabetes, however people with mental illness often have impoverished social networks leading to greater reliance upon professional care givers. This study maps the support provided by formal (paid and professional carers) and informal networks to people with mental illness and type 2 diabetes, comparing the experiences of people with a spouse with those without one.
Interviews were conducted with 29 clients of a community nursing service with mental health problems who receive professional support to self-manage type 2 diabetes. Participants were asked to complete an egocentric social network map which involved mapping the people and services who support them to manage their health. Demographic data was collected as was data about co-morbidities and service use within the last 6 months. Network maps were supplemented by a series of open-ended questions about self-management practices, who supports these practices and what support they provide.
Participants identified small social networks with few friendship ties. These networks had diminished due to illness. For people with a spouse, this person provided significant support for chronic illness self-management performing a range of daily care and illness management tasks. People without a spouse were more reliant on professional and paid care givers for daily care and illness management. People without a spouse also demonstrated greater reliance upon weak social ties for emotional support and social connection and often developed friendships with formal caregivers.
Spousal support reduces the need for professional services. In the absence of a spouse, participants were more reliant upon paid and professional carers and weaker social ties for chronic illness support and social connection leading to greater vulnerability of loss of support.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0897-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chronic illness self-management; Social networks; Mental health; Type 2 diabetes; Health services
Telehealth is an emerging field of clinical practice but current UK health policy has not taken account of the perceptions of front-line healthcare professionals expected to implement it.
To investigate telehealth care for people with long-term conditions from the perspective of the front-line health professional.
Design and setting
A qualitative study in three sites within the UK (Kent, Cornwall, and the London Borough of Newham) and embedded in the Whole Systems Demonstrator evaluation, a large cluster randomised controlled trial of telehealth and telecare for patients with long-term and complex conditions.
Semi-structured qualitative interviews with 32 front-line health professionals (13 community matrons, 10 telehealth monitoring nurses and 9 GPs) involved in the delivery of telehealth. Data were analysed using a modified grounded theory approach.
Mixed views were expressed by front-line professionals, which seem to reflect their levels of engagement. It was broadly welcomed by nursing staff as long as it supplemented rather than substituted their role in traditional patient care. GPs held mixed views; some gave a cautious welcome but most saw telehealth as increasing their work burden and potentially undermining their professional autonomy.
Health care professionals will need to develop a shared understanding of patient self-management through telehealth. This may require a renegotiation of their roles and responsibilities.
primary care; qualitative; telehealth; Whole System Demonstrator
There is a substantial and continually growing literature on the effectiveness and implementation of discrete telehealth interventions for health condition management. However, it is difficult to predict which technologies are likely to work and be used in practice. In this context, identifying the core mechanisms associated with successful telehealth implementation is relevant to consolidating the likely elements for ensuring a priori optimal design and deployment of telehealth interventions for supporting patients with long-term conditions (LTCs).
We adopted a two-stage realist synthesis approach to identify the core mechanisms underpinning telehealth interventions. In the second stage of the review, we tested inductively and refined our understanding of the mechanisms. We reviewed qualitative papers focused on COPD, heart failure, diabetes, and behaviours and complications associated with these conditions. The review included 15 papers published 2009 to 2014.
Three concepts were identified, which suggested how telehealth worked to engage and support health-related work. Whether or not and how a telehealth intervention enables or limits the possibility for relationships with professionals and/or peers. Telehealth has the potential to reshape and extend existing relationships, acting as a partial substitute for the role of health professionals. The second concept is fit: successful telehealth interventions are those that can be well integrated into everyday life and health care routines and the need to be easy to use, compatible with patients’ existing environment, skills, and capacity, and that do not significantly disrupt patients’ lives and routines. The third concept is visibility: visualisation of symptoms and feedback has the capacity to improve knowledge, motivation, and a sense of empowerment; engage network members; and reinforce positive behaviour change, prompts for action and surveillance.
Upfront consideration should be given to the mechanisms that are most likely to ensure the successful development and implementation of telehealth interventions. These include considerations about whether and how the telehealth intervention enables or limits the possibility for relationships with professionals and peers, how it fits with existing environment and capacities to self-manage, and visibility-enabling-enhanced awareness to self and others.
Telehealth; Self-management; Chronic illness; Intervention; Mechanisms; Implementation
The implementation of research findings into healthcare practice has become increasingly recognised as a major priority for researchers, service providers, research funders and policymakers over the past decade. Nine years after its establishment, Implementation Science, an international online open access journal, currently publishes over 150 articles each year. This is fewer than 30% of those submitted for publication. The majority of manuscript rejections occur at the point of initial editorial screening, frequently because we judge them to fall outside of journal scope. There are a number of common reasons as to why manuscripts are rejected on grounds of scope. Furthermore, as the field of implementation research has evolved and our journal submissions have risen, we have, out of necessity, had to become more selective in what we publish. We have also expanded our scope, particularly around patient-mediated and population health interventions, and will monitor the impact of such changes. We hope this editorial on our evolving priorities and common reasons for rejection without peer review will help authors to better judge the relevance of their papers to Implementation Science.
Implementation research; Methodology
To develop a conceptual model for effective use of telehealth in the management of chronic health conditions, and to use this to develop and evaluate an intervention for people with two exemplar conditions: raised cardiovascular disease risk and depression.
The model was based on several strands of evidence: a metareview and realist synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence on telehealth for chronic conditions; a qualitative study of patients’ and health professionals’ experience of telehealth; a quantitative survey of patients’ interest in using telehealth; and review of existing models of chronic condition management and evidence-based treatment guidelines. Based on these evidence strands, a model was developed and then refined at a stakeholder workshop. Then a telehealth intervention (‘Healthlines’) was designed by incorporating strategies to address each of the model components. The model also provided a framework for evaluation of this intervention within parallel randomised controlled trials in the two exemplar conditions, and the accompanying process evaluations and economic evaluations.
The TElehealth in CHronic Disease (TECH) model proposes that attention to four components will offer interventions the best chance of success: (1) engagement of patients and health professionals, (2) effective chronic disease management (including subcomponents of self-management, optimisation of treatment, care coordination), (3) partnership between providers and (4) patient, social and health system context. Key intended outcomes are improved health, access to care, patient experience and cost-effective care.
A conceptual model has been developed based on multiple sources of evidence which articulates how telehealth may best provide benefits for patients with chronic health conditions. It can be used to structure the design and evaluation of telehealth programmes which aim to be acceptable to patients and providers, and cost-effective.
Improving the quality of care for patients with vascular disease is a priority. Clinical guidance has emphasised the importance of early identification and active management of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in primary care in order to maintain vascular health. However, awareness of stage 3 CKD amongst patients remains limited. We aimed to identify predictors of patient self-report of CKD to inform tailoring of conversations around CKD in primary care for diverse patient populations.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from 436 patients with stage 3 CKD from 24 GP practices taking part in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating a complex self-management intervention, which aimed to support the maintenance of vascular health in patients with stage 3 CKD. Potential predictors of patient self-report of CKD included demographics, stage of CKD, cardiovascular risk, self-reported co-morbidities, health status, self-management ability, and health service utilisation.
Around half (52%, n = 227) of patients did not self-report CKD. Self-report rates did not appreciably differ by practice. Multivariate analysis revealed that female patients (p = 0.004), and patients with stage 3b CKD (p < 0.001), and with higher anxiety levels (p < 0.001), were more likely to self-report CKD.
Self-report of kidney problems by patients on CKD registers was variable and patterned by sociodemographic factors. Although it cannot be assumed that failure to self-report indicates a lack of awareness of CKD, our data do suggest the need for greater consistency in discussions around kidney health, with meaningful and relevant clinical dialogue that is aligned with existing clinical encounters to enable shared decision making and minimise anxiety.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-014-0196-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Kidney diseases; Primary health care; Self-report; Awareness; Predictors; Communication; Self-management
Implementation of long-term condition management interventions rests on the notion of whole systems re-design, where incorporating wider elements of health care systems are integral to embedding effective and integrated solutions. However, most self-management support (SMS) evaluations still focus on particular elements or outcomes of a sub-system. A randomised controlled trial of a SMS intervention (WISE—Whole System Informing Self-management Engagement) implemented in primary care showed no effect on patient-level outcomes. This paper reports on a parallel process evaluation to ascertain influences affecting WISE implementation at patient, clinical and organisational levels. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) provided a sensitising background and analytical framework.
A multi-method approach using surveys and interviews with organisational stakeholders, practice staff and trial participants about impact of training and use of tools developed for WISE. Analysis was sensitised by NPT (coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflective monitoring). The aim was to identify what worked and what did not work for who and in what context.
Interviews with organisation stakeholders emphasised top-down initiation of WISE by managers who supported innovation in self-management. Staff from 31 practices indicated engagement with training but patchy adoption of WISE tools; SMS was neither prioritised by practices nor fitted with a biomedically focussed ethos, so little effort was invested in WISE techniques. Interviews with 24 patients indicated no awareness of any changes following the training of practice staff; furthermore, they did not view primary care as an appropriate place for SMS.
The results contribute to understanding why SMS is not routinely adopted and implemented in primary care. WISE was not embedded because of the perceived lack of relevance and fit to the ethos and existing work. Enacting SMS within primary care practice was not viewed as a legitimate activity or a professional priority. There was failure to, in principle, engage with and identify patients’ support needs. Policy presumptions concerning SMS appear to be misplaced. Implementation of SMS within the health service does not currently account for patient circumstances. Primary care priorities and support for SMS could be enhanced if they link to patients’ broader systems of implementation networks and resources.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0129-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Process evaluation; Normalisation Process Theory; Self-management support; Long-term conditions; Primary care
Implementation of self-management support in traditional primary care settings has proved difficult, encouraging the development of alternative models which actively link to community resources. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition usually diagnosed in the presence of other co-morbidities. This trial aimed to determine the effectiveness of an intervention to provide information and telephone-guided access to community support versus usual care for patients with stage 3 CKD.
Methods and Findings
In a pragmatic, two-arm, patient level randomised controlled trial 436 patients with a diagnosis of stage 3 CKD were recruited from 24 general practices in Greater Manchester. Patients were randomised to intervention (215) or usual care (221). Primary outcome measures were health related quality of life (EQ-5D health questionnaire), blood pressure control, and positive and active engagement in life (heiQ) at 6 months. At 6 months, mean health related quality of life was significantly higher for the intervention group (adjusted mean difference = 0.05; 95% CI = 0.01, 0.08) and blood pressure was controlled for a significantly greater proportion of patients in the intervention group (adjusted odds-ratio = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.25, 2.72). Patients did not differ significantly in positive and active engagement in life. The intervention group reported a reduction in costs compared with control.
An intervention to provide tailored information and telephone-guided access to community resources was associated with modest but significant improvements in health related quality of life and better maintenance of blood pressure control for patients with stage 3 CKD compared with usual care. However, further research is required to identify the mechanisms of action of the intervention.
Effective self-management is viewed as the cornerstone of diabetes care. Many interventions and policies are available to support self-management, but challenges remain regarding reaching specific subgroups and effectively changing lifestyles. Here, our aim was to identify emerging policies and practices regarding diabetes care in The Netherlands.
Study with a purposeful sample of key informants, covering a range of stakeholders. They were individually interviewed, using a flexible and semi-structured approach. A thematic analysis was done, guided by an international framework, which resulted in 28 themes.
After a decade of investing in diabetes care in The Netherlands, stakeholders seem to have shifted their focus towards a view that effective self-management is expected in most people. The expectation is that individuals’ personal networks, community organizations and emerging information technologies will facilitate this. If support of self-management is required, this has to be provided by local coalitions of health and social care organizations, with involvement of municipalities. Poor reach in specific subgroups of the population, such as economically deprived people, is recognized but has not led to targeted policies.
The role of healthcare providers in supporting patients’ self-management in diabetes care seems to be changing in The Netherlands.
Diabetes care; Self-management; Health policy; The Netherlands
Self-management of long term conditions can promote quality of life whilst delivering benefits to the financing of health care systems. However, rarely are the meso-level influences, likely to be of direct relevance to these desired outcomes, systematically explored. No specific international guidelines exist suggesting the features of the most appropriate structure and organisation of health care systems within which to situate self-management approaches and practices. This review aimed to identify the quantitative literature with regard to diabetes self-management arrangements currently in place within the health care systems of six countries (The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Bulgaria, and Greece) and explore how these are integrated into the broader health care and welfare systems in each country.
The methodology for a realist review was followed. Publications of interest dating from 2000 to 2013 were identified through appropriate MeSH terms by a systematic search in six bibliographic databases. A search diary was maintained and the studies were assessed for their quality and risk of bias.
Following the multi-step search strategy, 56 studies were included in the final review (the majority from the UK) reporting design methods and findings on 21 interventions and programmes for diabetes and chronic disease self-management. Most (11/21, 52%) of the interventions were designed to fit within the context of primary care. The majority (11/21, 52%) highlighted behavioural change as an important goal. Finally, some (5/21, 24%) referred explicitly to Internet-based tools.
This review is based on results which are derived from a total of at least 5,500 individuals residing in the six participating countries. It indicates a policy shift towards patient-centred self-management of diabetes in a primary care context. The professional role of diabetes specialist nurses, the need for multidisciplinary approaches and a focus on patient education emerge as fundamental principles in the design of relevant programmes. Socio-economic circumstances are relevant to the capacity to self-manage and suggest that any gains and progress will be hard to maintain during economic austerity. This realist review should be interpreted within the wider context of a whole systems approach regarding self-care support and chronic illness management.
Chronic disease; Diabetes mellitus; Europe; Government; Delivery of health care; Health policy; Health personnel; Self-care; Social welfare
There is increasing interest in the role of ‘self-management’ interventions to support the management of long-term conditions in health service settings. Self-management may include patient education, support for decision-making, self-monitoring and psychological and social support. Self-management support has potential to improve the efficiency of health services by reducing other forms of utilisation (such as primary care or hospital use), but a shift to self-management may lead to negative outcomes, such as patients who feel more anxious about their health, are less able to cope, or who receive worse quality of care, all of which may impact on their health and quality of life. We sought to determine which models of self-management support are associated with significant reductions in health services utilisation without compromising outcomes among patients with long-term conditions.
We used systematic review with meta-analysis. We included randomised controlled trials in patients with long-term conditions which included self-management support interventions and reported measures of service utilisation or costs, as well as measures of health outcomes (standardized disease specific quality of life, generic quality of life, or depression/anxiety).We searched multiple databases (CENTRAL, CINAHL, Econlit, EMBASE, HEED, MEDLINE, NHS EED and PsycINFO) and the reference lists of published reviews. We calculated effects sizes for both outcomes and costs, and presented the results in permutation plots, as well as conventional meta-analyses.
We included 184 studies. Self-management support was associated with small but significant improvements in health outcomes, with the best evidence of effectiveness in patients with diabetic, respiratory, cardiovascular and mental health conditions. Only a minority of self-management support interventions reported reductions in health care utilisation in association with decrements in health. Evidence for reductions in utilisation associated with self-management support was strongest in respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Studies at higher risk of bias were more likely to report benefits.
Self-management support interventions can reduce health service utilization without compromising patient health outcomes, although effects were generally small, and the evidence was strongest in respiratory and cardiovascular disorders. Further work is needed to determine which components of self-management support are most effective.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-356) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Self-management support interventions; Long-term conditions; Health outcomes; Quality of life; Health care utilization; Hospitalizations; Costs; Cost-effectiveness; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
There is increasing recognition that chronic illness management (CIM) is not just an individual but a collective process where social networks can potentially make a considerable contribution to improving health outcomes for people with chronic illness. However, the mechanisms (processes, activities) taking place within social networks are insufficiently understood. The aim of this review was to focus on identifying the mechanisms linking social networks with CIM. Here we consider network mechanisms as located within a broader social context that shapes practices, behaviours, and the multiplicity of functions and roles that network members fulfil.
A systematic search of qualitative studies was undertaken on Medline, Embase, and Web for papers published between 1st January 2002 and 1st December 2013. Eligible for inclusion were studies dealing with diabetes, and with conditions or health behaviours relevant for diabetes management; and studies exploring the relationship between social networks, self-management, and deprivation. 25 papers met the inclusion criteria. A qualitative metasynthesis was undertaken and the review followed a line of argument synthesis.
The main themes identified were: 1) sharing knowledge and experiences in a personal community; 2) accessing and mediation of resources; 3) self-management support requires awareness of and ability to deal with network relationships. These translated into line of argument synthesis in which three network mechanisms were identified. These were network navigation (identifying and connecting with relevant existing resources in a network), negotiation within networks (re-shaping relationships, roles, expectations, means of engagement and communication between network members), and collective efficacy (developing a shared perception and capacity to successfully perform behaviour through shared effort, beliefs, influence, perseverance, and objectives). These network mechanisms bring to the fore the close interdependence between social and psychological processes in CIM, and the intertwining of practical and moral dilemmas in identifying, offering, accepting, and rejecting support.
CIM policy and interventions could be extended towards: raising awareness about the structure and organisation of personal communities; building individual and network capacity for navigating and negotiating relationships and CIM environments; maximising the possibilities for social engagement as a way of increasing the effectiveness of individual and network efforts for CIM.
Social network; Self-management; Chronic illness; Network mechanisms; Metasynthesis
In this article we outline Burden of Treatment Theory, a new model of the relationship between sick people, their social networks, and healthcare services. Health services face the challenge of growing populations with long-term and life-limiting conditions, they have responded to this by delegating to sick people and their networks routine work aimed at managing symptoms, and at retarding – and sometimes preventing – disease progression. This is the new proactive work of patient-hood for which patients are increasingly accountable: founded on ideas about self-care, self-empowerment, and self-actualization, and on new technologies and treatment modalities which can be shifted from the clinic into the community. These place new demands on sick people, which they may experience as burdens of treatment.
As the burdens accumulate some patients are overwhelmed, and the consequences are likely to be poor healthcare outcomes for individual patients, increasing strain on caregivers, and rising demand and costs of healthcare services. In the face of these challenges we need to better understand the resources that patients draw upon as they respond to the demands of both burdens of illness and burdens of treatment, and the ways that resources interact with healthcare utilization.
Burden of Treatment Theory is oriented to understanding how capacity for action interacts with the work that stems from healthcare. Burden of Treatment Theory is a structural model that focuses on the work that patients and their networks do. It thus helps us understand variations in healthcare utilization and adherence in different healthcare settings and clinical contexts.
Getting the results of research implemented into routine healthcare is often a challenge. The disconnect between the development and implementation of evidence into practice is called the ‘second translational gap’ and is particularly apparent in primary care. To address this gap, we plan to identify, summarise and synthesise currently available evidence by undertaking a systematic review of reviews to: (1) explore barriers and facilitators of implementation of research evidence or complex interventions, and (2) assess the effectiveness of strategies in facilitating implementation of complex interventions in primary care.
Methods and analysis
This is a protocol for a systematic review of reviews. We will search MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL and PsycINFO up until December 2013. We will check reference lists of included studies for further studies. Two authors will independently screen the titles and abstracts identified from the search; any discrepancies will be resolved by discussion and consensus. Full-text papers will be obtained and relevant reviews will be selected against inclusion criteria. Eligible reviews have to be based on predominantly primary care in developed countries and examine either factors to implementation or, the effectiveness of strategies to optimise implementation. Data from eligible reviews will be extracted using standardised data abstraction forms. For barriers and facilitators, data will be synthesised using an interpretative meta-synthesis approach. For implementation strategies, findings will be summarised and described narratively and synthesised using a framework approach. All findings will be reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval is not required. The review findings will inform the work of the design and implementation of future studies and will be of interest to a wide audience including health professionals, researchers, health service or commissioning managers and policymakers.
Trial registration number
Protocol registration number (PROSPERO CRD42014009410).
Primary Care; Public Health
Purpose of the study: to examine the costs and cost-effectiveness of ‘second-generation’ telecare, in addition to standard support and care that could include ‘first-generation’ forms of telecare, compared with standard support and care that could include ‘first-generation’ forms of telecare.
Design and methods: a pragmatic cluster-randomised controlled trial with nested economic evaluation. A total of 2,600 people with social care needs participated in a trial of community-based telecare in three English local authority areas. In the Whole Systems Demonstrator Telecare Questionnaire Study, 550 participants were randomised to intervention and 639 to control. Participants who were offered the telecare intervention received a package of equipment and monitoring services for 12 months, additional to their standard health and social care services. The control group received usual health and social care.
Primary outcome measure: incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. The analyses took a health and social care perspective.
Results: cost per additional QALY was £297,000. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves indicated that the probability of cost-effectiveness at a willingness-to-pay of £30,000 per QALY gained was only 16%. Sensitivity analyses combining variations in equipment price and support cost parameters yielded a cost-effectiveness ratio of £161,000 per QALY.
Implications: while QALY gain in the intervention group was similar to that for controls, social and health services costs were higher. Second-generation telecare did not appear to be a cost-effective addition to usual care, assuming a commonly accepted willingness to pay for QALYs.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN 43002091.
telecare; economic evaluation; social care; older people
Recent initiatives to target the personal, social and clinical needs of people with long-term health conditions have had limited impact within primary care. Evidence of the importance of social networks to support people with long-term conditions points to the need for self-management approaches which align personal circumstances with valued activities. The Patient-Led Assessment for Network Support (PLANS) intervention is a needs-led assessment for patients to prioritise their health and social needs and provide access to local community services and activities. Exploring the work and practices of patients and telephone workers are important for understanding and evaluating the workability and implementation of new interventions.
Qualitative methods (interviews, focus group, observations) were used to explore the experience of PLANS from the perspectives of participants and the telephone support workers who delivered it (as part of an RCT) and the reasons why the intervention worked or not. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was used as a sensitising tool to evaluate: the relevance of PLANS to patients (coherence); the processes of engagement (cognitive participation); the work done for PLANS to happen (collective action); the perceived benefits and costs of PLANS (reflexive monitoring). 20 patients in the intervention arm of a clinical trial were interviewed and their telephone support calls were recorded and a focus group with 3 telephone support workers was conducted.
Analysis of the interviews, support calls and focus group identified three themes in relation to the delivery and experience of PLANS. These are: formulation of ‘health’ in the context of everyday life; trajectories and tipping points: disrupting everyday routines; precarious trust in networks. The relevance of these themes are considered using NPT constructs in terms of the work that is entailed in engaging with PLANS, taking action, and who is implicated this process.
PLANS gives scope to align long-term condition management to everyday life priorities and valued aspects of life. This approach can improve engagement with health-relevant practices by situating them within everyday contexts. This has potential to increase utilisation of local resources with potential cost-saving benefits for the NHS.
Vascular disease; Self-management; Long-term conditions; Normalization process theory; Randomized controlled trial; Inequalities; Social networks; Social prescribing; Chronic kidney disease; Asset-based community development
Evidence for the effectiveness of patient education programmes in changing individual self-management behaviour is equivocal. More distal elements of personal social relationships and the availability of social capital at the community level may be key to the mobilisation of resources needed for long-term condition self-management to be effective.
To determine how the social networks of people with long-term conditions (diabetes and heart disease) are associated with health-related outcomes and changes in outcomes over time.
Patients with chronic heart disease (CHD) or diabetes (n = 300) randomly selected from the disease registers of 19 GP practices in the North West of England. Data on personal social networks collected using a postal questionnaire, alongside face-to-face interviewing. Follow-up at 12 months via postal questionnaire using a self-report grid for network members identified at baseline.
Multiple regression analysis of relationships between health status, self-management and health-economics outcomes, and characteristics of patients' social networks.
Findings indicated that: (1) social involvement with a wider variety of people and groups supports personal self-management and physical and mental well-being; (2) support work undertaken by personal networks expands in accordance with health needs helping people to cope with their condition; (3) network support substitutes for formal care and can produce substantial saving in traditional health service utilisation costs. Health service costs were significantly (p<0.01) reduced for patients receiving greater levels of illness work through their networks.
Support for self-management which achieves desirable policy outcomes should be construed less as an individualised set of actions and behaviour and more as a social network phenomenon. This study shows the need for a greater focus on harnessing and sustaining the capacity of networks and the importance of social involvement with community groups and resources for producing a more desirable and cost-effective way of supporting long term illness management.
Long-term conditions pose major challenges for healthcare systems. Optimizing self-management of people with long-term conditions is an important strategy to improve quality of life, health outcomes, patient experiences in healthcare, and the sustainability of healthcare systems. Much research on self-management focuses on individual competencies, while the social systems of support that facilitate self-management are underexplored. The presented study aims to explore the role of social systems of support for self-management and quality of life, focusing on the social networks of people with diabetes and community organisations that serve them.
The protocol concerns a cross-sectional study in 18 geographic areas in six European countries, involving a total of 1800 individuals with diabetes and 900 representatives of community organisations. In each country, we include a deprived rural area, a deprived urban area, and an affluent urban area. Individuals are recruited through healthcare practices in the targeted areas. A patient questionnaire comprises measures for quality of life, self-management behaviours, social network and social support, as well as individual characteristics. A community organisations’ survey maps out interconnections between community and voluntary organisations that support patients with chronic illness and documents the scope of work of the different types of organisations. We first explore the structure of social networks of individuals and of community organisations. Then linkages between these social networks, self-management and quality of life will be examined, taking deprivation and other factors into account.
This study will provide insight into determinants of self-management and quality of life in individuals with diabetes, focusing on the role of social networks and community organisations.
Quality of life; Self-management; Chronic illness; Diabetes type 2; Social networks; Community organisations; Deprivation
The distribution of the roles and responsibilities of long-term condition management (LTCM) outside of formal health services implicates a wide set of relationships and activities of involvement. Yet, compared to studies of professional implementation, patient systems of implementation remain under-investigated. The aim of this paper is to explore the work, meaning and function attributed to ‘weaker’ ties relative to other more bonding relationships in order to identify the place of these within a context of systems of support for long-term conditions.
This is a mixed methods survey with nested qualitative study. A total of 300 people from deprived areas in the North West of England with chronic illnesses took part in a survey conducted in 2010 to 2011. A concentric circles diagram was used as a research tool with which participants identified 2,544 network members who contributed to illness management. Notions of ‘work’ were used to describe activities associated with chronic illness and to identify how weaker ties are included and perceived to be involved through social network members (SNM) contributions.
The results provide an articulation of how SNMs are substantially involved in weak tie illness management. Weaker ties constituted 16.1% of network membership involved in illness work. The amount of work undertaken was similar but less than that of stronger ties. Weaker ties appeared more durable and less liable to loss over time than stronger ties. The qualitative accounts suggested that weak ties enabled the moral positioning of the self-managing ‘self’ and acted on the basis of a strong sense of reciprocity.
Weak ties act as an acceptable bridge between a sense of personal agency and control and the need for external support because it is possible to construct a sense of moral acceptability through reciprocal exchange. Access to weak tie resources needs to be taken into account when considering the ways in which systems of health implementation for chronic illness are designed and delivered.
Self-management; Weak ties; Social networks; Long term conditions; Survey; Qualitative; Chronic illness work
Advocating the need to adopt more self-management policies has brought with it an increasing demand for information about living with and making decisions about long-term conditions, with a significant potential for using cartoons. However, the purposeful use of cartoons is notably absent in many areas of health care as is evidence of their acceptability to patients and lay others. This paper outlines the process used to develop and evaluate cartoons and their acceptability for a series of self-management guidebooks for people with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Principles for a process to develop information and cartoons were developed. Cartoon topics were created using qualitative research methods to obtain lay views and experiences. The CKD guidebook was used to provide a detailed exemplar of the process. Focus group and trial participants were recruited from primary care CKD registers. The book was part of a trial intervention; selected participants evaluated the cartoons during in-depth interviews which incorporated think-aloud methods.
In general, the cartoons developed by this process depict patient experiences, common situations, daily management dilemmas, making decisions and choices and the uncertainties associated with conditions. CKD cartoons were developed following two focus groups around the themes of getting a diagnosis; understanding the problem; feeling that facts were being withheld; and setting priorities. Think-aloud interviews with 27 trial participants found the CKD cartoons invoked amusement, recognition and reflection but were sometimes difficult to interpret.
Humour is frequently utilised by people with long-term conditions to help adjustment and coping. Cartoons can help provide clarity and understanding and could address concerns related to health literacy. Using cartoons to engage and motivate people is a consideration untapped by conventional theories with the potential to improve information to support self-management.
Patient information; Cartoons; Health literacy; Self-management; Long-term conditions