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1.  Self-management in early-stage dementia: a pilot randomised controlled trial of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a self-management group intervention (the SMART study) 
Trials  2014;15:74.
Background
The possibility of living well with a long-term condition has been identified as centrally relevant to the needs of people living with dementia. Growing numbers of people with early-stage dementia are contributing accounts that emphasise the benefits of actively engaging in managing the condition. Self-management interventions share the common objectives of educating about the condition, optimising well-being, enhancing control over the situation and enabling people to take more responsibility for managing the condition. Benefits of such an approach can include improved knowledge, self-efficacy, health status, and better performance of self-management behaviours. However, there is only preliminary evidence that people with early-stage dementia can benefit from such interventions.
Methods
This feasibility study involves the development of a self-management group intervention for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. This study is a single-site pilot randomised-controlled trial. Forty-two people with early stage dementia, each with a caregiver (family member/friend), will be randomised to either the self-management group intervention or to treatment as usual.
The self-management group intervention will involve eight weekly sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, held at a memory clinic in North Wales. All participants will be re-assessed three and six months post-randomisation. This study is intended to supply an early evaluation of the self-management intervention so that a full scale trial may be powered from the best available evidence. It will assess the feasibility of the intervention, the study design and the recruitment strategies. It will estimate the parameters and confidence intervals for the research questions of interest. The primary outcome of interest is the self-efficacy score of the person with dementia at three months post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes for the person with dementia are self-efficacy at six months post-randomisation and cognitive ability, mood and well-being at three and six months post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes for caregivers are their distress and stress at three and six months post-randomisation. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention will also be examined.
Discussion
This study will provide preliminary information about the feasibility, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a self-management group intervention for people in the early stages of dementia.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN02023181.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-74
PMCID: PMC3974022  PMID: 24606601
Alzheimer’s disease; Vascular dementia; Caregiver; Self-efficacy; Well-being; Support
2.  Parental depression and child conduct problems: evaluation of parental service use and associated costs after attending the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme 
Background
There is co-morbidity between parental depression and childhood conduct disorder. The Incredible Years (IY) parenting programmes reduce both conduct disorder in children and depression in their parents. Recent U.K. and Ireland trials of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of IY parenting programmes have assessed children’s health and social care service use, but little is known about the programme’s impact on parental service use. This paper explores whether an above clinical cut-off score on the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI II) is associated with high or low parental health and social care service use in high-risk families receiving the IY Basic Programme.
Methods
This is a secondary analysis of a subsample (N = 119) from the first U.K. community-based randomised controlled trial of the 12-week IY Basic Programme (N = 153). Parents with children at risk of developing conduct disorder were randomised to receive the programme or to a waiting-list control group. BDI II total and BDI II clinical depression cut-off scores were compared to frequencies and costs of parents’ service use, at baseline, six, twelve and eighteen months post-baseline for the intervention group and at baseline and six months post-baseline for the control group.
Results
Intervention group parents who scored above the clinical cut-off on the BDI II at baseline used more health and social care services than those who scored below at baseline, six and eighteen months. Significant reductions in service use frequencies were found for the intervention group only.
Conclusion
Parents with higher levels or depression used more health and social care service and parenting programmes have been shown to reduce parental depression and also health and social service use. However, further exploration of depressed parents’ service use and the cost implications for publically funded health and social care services is needed.
Trial registration
Registration of the original RCT of the IY Basic Parenting Programme - Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN46984318
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-523
PMCID: PMC3893379  PMID: 24350571
Parenting; Depression; Service use; Health economics; Child conduct problems
3.  Evidence-based planning and costing palliative care services for children: novel multi-method epidemiological and economic exemplar 
BMC Palliative Care  2013;12:18.
Background
Children’s palliative care is a relatively new clinical specialty. Its nature is multi-dimensional and its delivery necessarily multi-professional. Numerous diverse public and not-for-profit organisations typically provide services and support. Because services are not centrally coordinated, they are provided in a manner that is inconsistent and incoherent. Since the first children’s hospice opened in 1982, the epidemiology of life-limiting conditions has changed with more children living longer, and many requiring transfer to adult services. Very little is known about the number of children living within any given geographical locality, costs of care, or experiences of children with ongoing palliative care needs and their families. We integrated evidence, and undertook and used novel methodological epidemiological work to develop the first evidence-based and costed commissioning exemplar.
Methods
Multi-method epidemiological and economic exemplar from a health and not-for-profit organisation perspective, to estimate numbers of children under 19 years with life-limiting conditions, cost current services, determine child/parent care preferences, and cost choice of end-of-life care at home.
Results
The exemplar locality (North Wales) had important gaps in service provision and the clinical network. The estimated annual total cost of current children’s palliative care was about £5.5 million; average annual care cost per child was £22,771 using 2007 prevalence estimates and £2,437- £11,045 using new 2012/13 population-based prevalence estimates. Using population-based prevalence, we estimate 2271 children with a life-limiting condition in the general exemplar population and around 501 children per year with ongoing palliative care needs in contact with hospital services. Around 24 children with a wide range of life-limiting conditions require end-of-life care per year. Choice of end-of-life care at home was requested, which is not currently universally available. We estimated a minimum (based on 1 week of end-of-life care) additional cost of £336,000 per year to provide end-of-life support at home. Were end-of-life care to span 4 weeks, the total annual additional costs increases to £536,500 (2010/11 prices).
Conclusions
Findings make a significant contribution to population-based needs assessment and commissioning methodology in children’s palliative care. Further work is needed to determine with greater precision which children in the total population require access to services and when. Half of children who died 2002-7 did not have conditions that met the globally used children's palliative care condition categories, which need revision in light of findings.
doi:10.1186/1472-684X-12-18
PMCID: PMC3651264  PMID: 23617814
Children; Palliative care; Life-limiting illness; Evidence-based; Commissioning framework; Health economics; Cost; Health services research
4.  Health economics research into supporting carers of people with dementia: A systematic review of outcome measures 
Advisory bodies, such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, advocate using preference based instruments to measure the quality of life (QoL) component of the quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Cost per QALY is used to determine cost-effectiveness, and hence funding, of interventions. QALYs allow policy makers to compare the effects of different interventions across different patient groups. Generic measures may not be sensitive enough to fully capture the QoL effects for certain populations, such as carers, so there is a need to consider additional outcome measures, which are preference based where possible to enable cost-effectiveness analysis to be undertaken. This paper reviews outcome measures commonly used in health services research and health economics research involving carers of people with dementia. An electronic database search was conducted in PubMed, Medline, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, the National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) and Health Technology Assessment database. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they included an outcome measure for carers of people with dementia. 2262 articles were identified. 455 articles describing 361 studies remained after exclusion criteria were applied. 228 outcome measures were extracted from the studies. Measures were categorised into 44 burden measures, 43 mastery measures, 61 mood measures, 32 QoL measures, 27 social support and relationships measures and 21 staff competency and morale measures. The choice of instrument has implications on funding decisions; therefore, researchers need to choose appropriate instruments for the population being measured and the type of intervention undertaken. If an instrument is not sensitive enough to detect changes in certain populations, the effect of an intervention may be underestimated, and hence interventions which may appear to be beneficial to participants are not deemed cost-effective and are not funded. If this is the case, it is essential that additional outcome measures which detect changes in broader QoL are included, whilst still retaining preference based utility measures such as EQ-5D to allow QALY calculation for comparability with other interventions.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-142
PMCID: PMC3541129  PMID: 23181515
Carers; Dementia; Quality of life; EQ-5D; Outcome measures
5.  The Depression in Visual Impairment Trial (DEPVIT): trial design and protocol 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:57.
Background
The prevalence of depression in people with a visual disability is high but screening for depression and referral for treatment is not yet an integral part of visual rehabilitation service provision. One reason for this may be that there is no good evidence about the effectiveness of treatments in this patient group. This study is the first to evaluate the effect of depression treatments on people with a visual impairment and co morbid depression.
Methods /design
The study is an exploratory, multicentre, individually randomised waiting list controlled trial. Participants will be randomised to receive Problem Solving Therapy (PST), a ‘referral to the GP’ requesting treatment according to the NICE’s ‘stepped care’ recommendations or the waiting list arm of the trial. The primary outcome measure is change (from randomisation) in depressive symptoms as measured by the Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI-II) at 6 months. Secondary outcomes include change in depressive symptoms at 3 months, change in visual function as measured with the near vision subscale of the VFQ-48 and 7 item NEI-VFQ at 3 and 6 months, change in generic health related quality of life (EQ5D), the costs associated with PST, estimates of incremental cost effectiveness, and recruitment rate estimation.
Discussion
Depression is prevalent in people with disabling visual impairment. This exploratory study will establish depression screening and referral for treatment in visual rehabilitation clinics in the UK. It will be the first to explore the efficacy of PST and the effectiveness of NICE’s ‘stepped care’ approach to the treatment of depression in people with a visual impairment.
Trial registration
ISRCTN46824140
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-57
PMCID: PMC3395562  PMID: 22672253
6.  An evaluation of the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the National Exercise Referral Scheme in Wales, UK: a randomised controlled trial of a public health policy initiative 
Background
The Wales National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is a 16-week programme including motivational interviewing, goal setting and relapse prevention.
Method
A pragmatic randomised controlled trial with nested economic evaluation of 2160 inactive participants with coronary heart disease risk (CHD, 1559, 72%), mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress (79, 4%) or both (522, 24%) randomised to receive (1) NERS or (2) normal care and brief written information. Outcome measures at 12 months included the 7-day physical activity recall, the hospital anxiety and depression scale.
Results
Ordinal regression identified increased physical activity among those randomised to NERS compared with those receiving normal care in all participants (OR 1.19, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.43), and among those referred for CHD only (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.60). For those referred for mental health reason alone, or in combination with CHD, there were significantly lower levels of anxiety (OR −1.56, 95% CI −2.75 to −0.38) and depression (OR −1.39, 95% CI −2.60 to −0.18), but no effect on physical activity. The base-case incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £12 111 per quality adjusted life year, falling to £9741 if participants were to contribute £2 per session.
Conclusions
NERS was effective in increasing physical activity among those referred for CHD risk only. Among mental health referrals, NERS did not influence physical activity but was associated with reduced anxiety and depression. Effects were dependent on adherence. NERS is likely to be cost effective with respect to prevailing payer thresholds.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN47680448.
doi:10.1136/jech-2011-200689
PMCID: PMC3402741  PMID: 22577180
Pragmatic randomised controlled trial; exercise referral; physical activity; anxiety; depression; cost effectiveness; health-related quality of life; cost per QALY; effectiveness; public health policy; exercise; general practice; cost effective; health services; health promotion; health policy; addictive behaviour/addiction; policy; cancer; public health; primary health care; oral health
7.  FIRE (facilitating implementation of research evidence): a study protocol 
Background
Research evidence underpins best practice, but is not always used in healthcare. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) framework suggests that the nature of evidence, the context in which it is used, and whether those trying to use evidence are helped (or facilitated) affect the use of evidence. Urinary incontinence has a major effect on quality of life of older people, has a high prevalence, and is a key priority within European health and social care policy. Improving continence care has the potential to improve the quality of life for older people and reduce the costs associated with providing incontinence aids.
Objectives
This study aims to advance understanding about the contribution facilitation can make to implementing research findings into practice via: extending current knowledge of facilitation as a process for translating research evidence into practice; evaluating the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of two different models of facilitation in promoting the uptake of research evidence on continence management; assessing the impact of contextual factors on the processes and outcomes of implementation; and implementing a pro-active knowledge transfer and dissemination strategy to diffuse study findings to a wide policy and practice community.
Setting and sample
Four European countries, each with six long-term nursing care sites (total 24 sites) for people aged 60 years and over with documented urinary incontinence
Methods and design
Pragmatic randomised controlled trial with three arms (standard dissemination and two different programmes of facilitation), with embedded process and economic evaluation. The primary outcome is compliance with the continence recommendations. Secondary outcomes include proportion of residents with incontinence, incidence of incontinence-related dermatitis, urinary tract infections, and quality of life. Outcomes are assessed at baseline, then at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the start of the facilitation interventions. Detailed contextual and process data are collected throughout, using interviews with staff, residents and next of kin, observations, assessment of context using the Alberta Context Tool, and documentary evidence. A realistic evaluation framework is used to develop explanatory theory about what works for whom in what circumstances.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN11598502.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-25
PMCID: PMC3356232  PMID: 22453077
8.  A pragmatic randomised controlled trial of the Welsh National Exercise Referral Scheme: protocol for trial and integrated economic and process evaluation 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:352.
Background
The benefits to health of a physically active lifestyle are well established and there is evidence that a sedentary lifestyle plays a significant role in the onset and progression of chronic disease. Despite a recognised need for effective public health interventions encouraging sedentary people with a medical condition to become more active, there are few rigorous evaluations of their effectiveness. Following NICE guidance, the Welsh national exercise referral scheme was implemented within the context of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
Methods/Design
The randomised controlled trial, with nested economic and process evaluations, recruited 2,104 inactive men and women aged 16+ with coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and/or mild to moderate depression, anxiety or stress. Participants were recruited from 12 local health boards in Wales and referred directly by health professionals working in a range of health care settings. Consenting participants were randomised to either a 16 week tailored exercise programme run by qualified exercise professionals at community sports centres (intervention), or received an information booklet on physical activity (control). A range of validated measures assessing physical activity, mental health, psycho-social processes and health economics were administered at 6 and 12 months, with the primary 12 month outcome measure being 7 day Physical Activity Recall. The process evaluation explored factors determining the effectiveness or otherwise of the scheme, whilst the economic evaluation determined the relative cost-effectiveness of the scheme in terms of public spending.
Discussion
Evaluation of such a large scale national public health intervention presents methodological challenges in terms of trial design and implementation. This study was facilitated by early collaboration with social research and policy colleagues to develop a rigorous design which included an innovative approach to patient referral and trial recruitment, a comprehensive process evaluation examining intervention delivery and an integrated economic evaluation. This will allow a unique insight into the feasibility, effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a national exercise referral scheme for participants with CHD risk factors or mild to moderate anxiety, depression, or stress and provides a potential model for future policy evaluations.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN47680448
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-352
PMCID: PMC2896943  PMID: 20565846
9.  Reconciling competing priorities in commissioning: the future of bone densitometry service for North Wales 
Background
Osteoporosis creates brittle bones susceptible to fracture, with resulting high levels of morbidity and mortality. Poor access to bone densitometry services for the residents of North Wales led to the Welsh Assembly Government offering capital to purchase a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner, used to diagnose osteoporosis, for the region. The commissioning question for the six Local Health Boards across North Wales was where to site the new scanner. This decision needed to reflect current inequalities in access to services and concerns over inappropriate prescribing relative to Welsh norms.
Methods
Epidemiological, corporate and comparative healthcare needs assessments were performed. In addition, two cross-sectional surveys were conducted to determine the views of general practices and users of bone densitometry services resident in North Wales. An option appraisal and sensitivity analysis of 13 costed options for DXA scanning was conducted.
Results
We estimated that only 31% of the people in North Wales who met national guidelines were receiving DXA scans. There was definite inequity of access to the current service provided by area of residence. There was also evidence of inequity of access by age and sex. The most suitable option identified in the option appraisal was a bone densitometry service based in the central location of Llandudno.
Conclusion
The assessment identified significant unmet need for DXA scanning. A recommendation was made to improve access through the introduction of a new bone densitometry service based at Llandudno. This would double scanning provision provided and reduce travel costs and time for many North Wales residents. This recommendation was adopted by a joint commissioning group established by the six Local Health Boards in North Wales at the end of 2004 – evidence based commissioning in practice.
doi:10.1186/1478-7547-5-1
PMCID: PMC1785366  PMID: 17233893
13.  Evidence into practice: evaluating a child-centred intervention for diabetes medicine management The EPIC Project 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:70.
Background
There is a lack of high quality, child-centred and effective health information to support development of self-care practices and expertise in children with acute and long-term conditions. In type 1 diabetes, clinical guidelines indicate that high-quality, child-centred information underpins achievement of optimal glycaemic control with the aim of minimising acute readmissions and reducing the risk of complications in later life. This paper describes the development of a range of child-centred diabetes information resources and outlines the study design and protocol for a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the information resources in routine practice. The aim of the diabetes information intervention is to improve children and young people's quality of life by increasing self-efficacy in managing their type 1 diabetes.
Methods/Design
We used published evidence, undertook qualitative research and consulted with children, young people and key stakeholders to design and produce a range of child-centred, age-appropriate children's diabetes diaries, carbohydrate recording sheets, and assembled child-centred, age-appropriate diabetes information packs containing published information in a folder that can be personalized by children and young people with pens and stickers. Resources have been designed for children/young people 6-10; 11-15; and 16-18 years.
To evaluate the information resources, we designed a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness, cost effectiveness, and implementation in routine practice of individually tailored, age-appropriate diabetes diaries and information packs for children and young people age 6-18years, compared with currently available standard practice.
Children and young people will be stratified by gender, length of time since diagnosis (< 2years and > 2years) and age (6-10; 11-15; and 16-18 years). The following data will be collected at baseline, 3 and 6 months: PedsQL (generic, diabetes and parent versions), and EQ-5 D (parent and child); NHS resource use and process data (questionnaire and interview). Baseline and subsequent HbA1c measurements, blood glucose meter use, readings and insulin dose will be taken from routine test results and hand-held records when attending routine 3-4 monthly clinic visits.
The primary outcome measure is diabetes self-efficacy and quality-of-life (Diabetes PedsQL). Secondary outcomes include: HbA1c, generic quality of life, routinely collected NHS/child-held data, costs, service use, acceptability and utility.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN17551624.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-70
PMCID: PMC2955672  PMID: 20875112

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