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1.  Factors associated with quality of services for marginalized groups with mental health problems in 14 European countries 
Background
Different service characteristics are known to influence mental health care delivery. Much less is known about the impact of contextual factors, such as the socioeconomic circumstances, on the provision of care to socially marginalized groups.
The objectives of this work were to assess the organisational characteristics of services providing mental health care for marginalized groups in 14 European capital cities and to explore the associations between organisational quality, service features and country-level characteristics.
Methods
617 services were assessed in two highly deprived areas in 14 European capital cities. A Quality Index of Service Organisation (QISO) was developed and applied across all sites. Service characteristics and country level socioeconomic indicators were tested and related with the Index using linear regressions and random intercept linear models.
Results
The mean (standard deviation) of the QISO score (minimum = 0; maximum = 15) varied from 8.63 (2.23) in Ireland to 12.40 (2.07) in Hungary. The number of different programmes provided was the only service characteristic significantly correlated with the QISO (p < 0.05). The national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was inversely associated with the QISO. Nearly 15% of the variance of the QISO was attributed to country-level variables, with GDP explaining 12% of this variance.
Conclusions
Socioeconomic contextual factors, in particular the national GDP are likely to influence the organisational quality of services providing mental health care for marginalized groups. Such factors should be considered in international comparative studies. Their significance for different types of services should be explored in further research.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-49
PMCID: PMC3915221  PMID: 24490720
Mental health services; Quality index of service organization; Socially marginalized groups; Multi-level analysis
2.  Intimate partner violence against women in Maputo city, Mozambique 
Background
There is limited research about IPV against women and associated factors in Sub-Saharan Africa, not least Mozambique. The objective of this study was to examine the occurrence, severity, chronicity and “predictors” of IPV against women in Maputo City (Mozambique).
Methods
Data were collected during a 12 month-period (consecutive cases, with each woman seen only once) from 1,442 women aged 15–49 years old seeking help for abuse by an intimate partner at the Forensic Services at the Maputo Central Hospital, Maputo City, Mozambique. Interviews were conducted by trained female interviewers, and data collected included demographics and lifestyle variables, violence (using the previously validated Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2), and control (using the Controlling Behaviour Scale Revised (CBS-R). The data were analysed using bivariate and multivariate methods.
Results
The overall experienced IPV during the past 12 months across severity (one or more types, minor and severe) was 70.2% (chronicity, 85.8 ± 120.9).a Severe IPV varied between 26.3-45.9% and chronicity between 3.1 ± 9.1-12.8 ± 26.9, depending on IPV type. Severity and chronicity figures were higher in psychological aggression than in the other IPV types. Further, 26.8% (chronicity, 55.3 ± 117.6) of women experienced all IPV types across severity. The experience of other composite IPV types across severity (4 combinations of 3 types of IPV) varied between 27.1-42.6% and chronicity between 35.7 ± 80.3-64.9 ± 110.9, depending on the type of combination. The combination psychological aggression, physical assault and sexual coercion had the highest figures compared with the other combinations. The multiple regressions showed that controlling behaviours, own perpetration and co-occurring victimization were more important in “explaining” the experience of IPV than other variables (e.g. abuse as a child).
Conclusions
In our study, controlling behaviours over/by partner, own perpetration, co-occurring victimization and childhood abuse were more important factors in “explaining” sustained IPV. More investigation into women’s IPV exposure and its “predictors” is warranted in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Mozambique.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-35
PMCID: PMC3583818  PMID: 23241146
Intimate partner violence; Victims; Controlling behaviours; Perpetration; Abuse as a child
3.  Somatic complaints and refrain from buying prescribed medications. Results from a cross-sectional study on people 60 years and older living in Kaunas (Lithuania) 
Background
The use of medicines by elderly people is a growing area of concern in social pharmacy. A significant proportion of older people do not follow the recommendations from physicians and refrain from buying prescribed medications. The aim of this study is to evaluate associations between self-rated health, somatic complaints and refraining from buying prescribed medications by elderly people.
Findings
Data was collected in a cross-sectional study in 2009. We received 624 completed questionnaires (response rate – 48.9%) from persons aged 60–84 years living in Kaunas (Lithuania). Somatic complaints were measured with the 24 item version of the Giessen Complaint List (GBB-24). Logistic regression (Enter model) was used for evaluation of the associations between refraining from buying medications and somatic complaints. These associations were measured using odds ratio (OR) and calculating the 95% confidence interval (CI).
The mean scores in total for the GBB scale and sub-scales (exhaustion, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular) were lowest among respondents who did not refrain from buying prescribed medications (means for GBB-24 scale: 21.04 vs. 24.82; p=0.001). Logistic regression suggests that somatic complaints were associated with a increased risk of refraining from buying prescribed medications (OR=1.35, 95% CI=1.15-1.60).
Conclusions
Somatic complaints were significantly associated with the decision to refrain from buying prescribed medications.
doi:10.1186/2008-2231-20-78
PMCID: PMC3556035  PMID: 23351159
Use of medication; Somatic complaints; Self-rated health; Elderly; Accessibility; Non-adherence; Lithuania
4.  Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and somatization in female victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence in Maputo City, Mozambique 
Background
Little knowledge exists in Mozambique and sub-Saharan Africa about the mental health (symptoms of depression, anxiety, and somatization) of women victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) by type of abuse (psychological aggression, physical assault without/with injury, and sexual coercion). This study scrutinizes factors associated with mental health among women victims and perpetrators of IPV over the 12 months prior to the study.
Methods and materials
Mental health data were analyzed with bivariate and multiple regression methods for 1442 women aged 15–49 years who contacted Forensic Services at Maputo Central Hospital (Maputo City, Mozambique) for IPV victimization between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008.
Results
In bivariate analyses, victims and perpetrators of IPVs scored higher on symptoms of mental health than their unaffected counterparts. Multiple regressions revealed that controlling behaviors, mental health comorbidity, social support, smoking, childhood abuse, sleep difficulties, age, and lack of education were more important in explaining symptoms of mental health than demographics/socioeconomics or life-style factors. Victimization and perpetration across all types of IPV were not associated with symptoms of mental health.
Conclusion
In our sample, victimization and perpetration were not important factors in explaining mental ill health, contrary to previous findings. More research into the relationship between women’s IPV victimization and perpetration and mental health is warranted as well as the influence of controlling behaviors on mental health.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S29427
PMCID: PMC3469227  PMID: 23071419
women; depression; anxiety; somatization; victims; perpetrators; controlling behaviors; child abuse; social support
5.  Mental health care for irregular migrants in Europe: Barriers and how they are overcome 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:367.
Background
Irregular migrants (IMs) are exposed to a wide range of risk factors for developing mental health problems. However, little is known about whether and how they receive mental health care across European countries. The aims of this study were (1) to identify barriers to mental health care for IMs, and (2) to explore ways by which these barriers are overcome in practice.
Methods
Data from semi-structured interviews with 25 experts in the field of mental health care for IMs in the capital cities of 14 European countries were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results
Experts reported a range of barriers to mental health care for IMs. These include the absence of legal entitlements to health care in some countries or a lack of awareness of such entitlements, administrative obstacles, a shortage of culturally sensitive care, the complexity of the social needs of IMs, and their fear of being reported and deported. These barriers can be partly overcome by networks of committed professionals and supportive services. NGOs have become important initial points of contact for IMs, providing mental health care themselves or referring IMs to other suitable services. However, these services are often confronted with the ethical dilemma of either acting according to the legislation and institutional rules or providing care for humanitarian reasons, which involves the risk of acting illegally and providing care without authorisation.
Conclusions
Even in countries where access to health care is legally possible for IMs, various other barriers remain. Some of these are common to all migrants, whilst others are specific for IMs. Attempts at improving mental health care for IMs should consider barriers beyond legal entitlement, including communicating information about entitlement to mental health care professionals and patients, providing culturally sensitive care and ensuring sufficient resources.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-367
PMCID: PMC3528475  PMID: 22607386
Irregular migrants; Mental health care; Access to care; Barriers to care; Legal entitlement; Overcoming barriers; Europe
6.  Health care for irregular migrants: pragmatism across Europe. A qualitative study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:99.
Background
Health services in Europe face the challenge of delivering care to a heterogeneous group of irregular migrants (IM). There is little empirical evidence on how health professionals cope with this challenge. This study explores the experiences of health professionals providing care to IM in three types of health care service across 16 European countries.
Results
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with health professionals in 144 primary care services, 48 mental health services, and 48 Accident & Emergency departments (total n = 240). Although legal health care entitlement for IM varies across countries, health professionals reported facing similar issues when caring for IM. These issues include access problems, limited communication, and associated legal complications. Differences in the experiences with IM across the three types of services were also explored. Respondents from Accident & Emergency departments reported less of a difference between the care for IM patients and patients in a regular situation than did respondents from primary care and mental health services. Primary care services and mental health services were more concerned with language barriers than Accident & Emergency departments. Notifying the authorities was an uncommon practice, even in countries where health professionals are required to do this.
Conclusions
The needs of IM patients and the values of the staff appear to be as important as the national legal framework, with staff in different European countries adopting a similar pragmatic approach to delivering health care to IM. While legislation might help to improve health care for IM, more appropriate organisation and local flexibility are equally important, especially for improving access and care pathways.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-99
PMCID: PMC3315408  PMID: 22340424
Irregular migrants; Europe; Qualitative method; Health services; Accessibility
7.  Health care for immigrants in Europe: Is there still consensus among country experts about principles of good practice? A Delphi study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:699.
Background
European Member States are facing a challenge to provide accessible and effective health care services for immigrants. It remains unclear how best to achieve this and what characterises good practice in increasingly multicultural societies across Europe. This study assessed the views and values of professionals working in different health care contexts and in different European countries as to what constitutes good practice in health care for immigrants.
Methods
A total of 134 experts in 16 EU Member States participated in a three-round Delphi process. The experts represented four different fields: academia, Non-Governmental Organisations, policy-making and health care practice. For each country, the process aimed to produce a national consensus list of the most important factors characterising good practice in health care for migrants.
Results
The scoring procedures resulted in 10 to 16 factors being identified as the most important for each participating country. All 186 factors were aggregated into 9 themes: (1) easy and equal access to health care, (2) empowerment of migrants, (3) culturally sensitive health care services, (4) quality of care, (5) patient/health care provider communication, (6) respect towards migrants, (7) networking in and outside health services, (8) targeted outreach activities, and (9) availability of data about specificities in migrant health care and prevention. Although local political debate, level of immigration and the nature of local health care systems influenced the selection and rating of factors within each country, there was a broad European consensus on most factors. Yet, discordance remained both within countries, e.g. on the need for prioritising cultural differences, and between countries, e.g. on the need for more consistent governance of health care services for immigrants.
Conclusions
Experts across Europe asserted the right to culturally sensitive health care for all immigrants. There is a broad consensus among experts about the major principles of good practice that need to be implemented across Europe. However, there also is some disagreement both within and between countries on specific issues that require further research and debate.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-699
PMCID: PMC3182934  PMID: 21914194
8.  Good practice in health care for migrants: views and experiences of care professionals in 16 European countries 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:187.
Background
Health services across Europe provide health care for migrant patients every day. However, little systematic research has explored the views and experiences of health care professionals in different European countries. The aim of this study was to assess the difficulties professionals experience in their service when providing such care and what they consider constitutes good practice to overcome these problems or limit their negative impact on the quality of care.
Methods
Structured interviews with open questions and case vignettes were conducted with health care professionals working in areas with high proportion of migrant populations in 16 countries. In each country, professionals in nine primary care practices, three accident and emergency hospital departments, and three community mental health services (total sample = 240) were interviewed about their views and experiences in providing care for migrant patients, i.e. from first generation immigrant populations. Answers were analysed using thematic content analysis.
Results
Eight types of problems and seven components of good practice were identified representing all statements in the interviews. The eight problems were: language barriers, difficulties in arranging care for migrants without health care coverage, social deprivation and traumatic experiences, lack of familiarity with the health care system, cultural differences, different understandings of illness and treatment, negative attitudes among staff and patients, and lack of access to medical history. The components of good practice to overcome these problems or limit their impact were: organisational flexibility with sufficient time and resources, good interpreting services, working with families and social services, cultural awareness of staff, educational programmes and information material for migrants, positive and stable relationships with staff, and clear guidelines on the care entitlements of different migrant groups. Problems and good care components were similar across the three types of services.
Conclusions
Health care professionals in different services experience similar difficulties when providing care to migrants. They also have relatively consistent views on what constitutes good practice. The degree to which these components already are part of routine practice varies. Implementing good practice requires sufficient resources and organisational flexibility, positive attitudes, training for staff and the provision of information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-187
PMCID: PMC3071322  PMID: 21439059

Results 1-8 (8)