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1.  Study protocol: translating and implementing psychosocial interventions in aged home care the lifestyle engagement activity program (LEAP) for life 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:124.
Background
Tailored psychosocial activity-based interventions have been shown to improve mood, behaviour and quality of life for nursing home residents. Occupational therapist delivered activity programs have shown benefits when delivered in home care settings for people with dementia. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of LEAP (Lifestyle Engagement Activity Program) for Life, a training and practice change program on the engagement of home care clients by care workers. Secondary aims are to evaluate the impact of the program on changes in client mood and behaviour.
Methods/design
The 12 month LEAP program has three components: 1) engaging site management and care staff in the program; 2) employing a LEAP champion one day a week to support program activities; 3) delivering an evidence-based training program to care staff. Specifically, case managers will be trained and supported to set meaningful social or recreational goals with clients and incorporate these into care plans. Care workers will be trained in and encouraged to practise good communication, promote client independence and choice, and tailor meaningful activities using Montessori principles, reminiscence, music, physical activity and play. LEAP Champions will be given information about theories of organisational change and trained in interpersonal skills required for their role. LEAP will be evaluated in five home care sites including two that service ethnic minority groups. A quasi experimental design will be used with evaluation data collected four times: 6-months prior to program commencement; at the start of the program; and then after 6 and 12 months. Mixed effect models will enable comparison of change in outcomes for the periods before and during the program. The primary outcome measure is client engagement. Secondary outcomes for clients are satisfaction with care, dysphoria/depression, loneliness, apathy and agitation; and work satisfaction for care workers. A process evaluation will also be undertaken.
Discussion
LEAP for Life may prove a cost-effective way to improve client engagement and other outcomes in the community setting.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612001064897.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-124
PMCID: PMC3840642  PMID: 24238067
Home care; Psychosocial intervention; Engagement; Ethnic minority
2.  The effectiveness of an aged care specific leadership and management program on workforce, work environment, and care quality outcomes: design of a cluster randomised controlled trial 
Background
A plethora of observational evidence exists concerning the impact of management and leadership on workforce, work environment, and care quality. Yet, no randomised controlled trial has been conducted to test the effectiveness of leadership and management interventions in aged care. An innovative aged care clinical leadership program (Clinical Leadership in Aged Care − CLiAC) was developed to improve managers’ leadership capacities to support the delivery of quality care in Australia. This paper describes the study design of the cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of the program.
Methods
Twenty-four residential and community aged care sites were recruited as managers at each site agreed in writing to participate in the study and ensure that leaders allocated to the control arm would not be offered the intervention program. Sites undergoing major managerial or structural changes were excluded. The 24 sites were randomly allocated to receive the CLiAC program (intervention) or usual care (control), stratified by type (residential vs. community, six each for each arm). Treatment allocation was masked to assessors and staff of all participating sites. The objective is to establish the effectiveness of the CLiAC program in improving work environment, workforce retention, as well as care safety and quality, when compared to usual care. The primary outcomes are measures of work environment, care quality and safety, and staff turnover rates. Secondary outcomes include manager leadership capacity, staff absenteeism, intention to leave, stress levels, and job satisfaction. Differences between intervention and control groups will be analysed by researchers blinded to treatment allocation using linear regression of individual results adjusted for stratification and clustering by site (primary analysis), and additionally for baseline values and potential confounders (secondary analysis). Outcomes measured at the site level will be compared by cluster-level analysis. The overall costs and benefits of the program will also be assessed.
Discussion
The outcomes of the trial have the potential to inform actions to enhance leadership and management capabilities of the aged care workforce, address pressing issues about workforce shortages, and increase the quality of aged care services.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611001070921)
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-126
PMCID: PMC3874748  PMID: 24160714
Cluster randomised controlled trial; Aged care; Leadership; Management; Work environment; Quality and safety; Workforce retention
3.  A patient-centred approach to health service delivery: improving health outcomes for people with chronic illness 
Background
The Wagner Model provides a framework that can help to facilitate health system transition towards a chronic care oriented model. Drawing on elements of this framework as well as health policy related to patient centred care, we describe the health needs of patients with chronic illness and compare these with services which should ideally be provided by a patient-centred health system. This paper aims to increase understanding of the challenges faced by chronically ill patients and family carers in relation to their experiences with the health care system and health service providers.
Method
We interviewed patients, carers and health care professionals (HCPs) about the challenges faced by people living with complicated diabetes, chronic heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Results
Patients indicated that they had a range of concerns related to the quality of health care encounters with health care professionals (HCPs), with these concerns being expressed as needs or wants. These included: 1) the need for improved communication and information delivery on the part of HCPs; 2) well organised health services and reduced waiting times to see HCPs; 3) help with self care; 4) greater recognition among professionals of the need for holistic and continuing care; and 5) inclusion of patients and carers in the decision making processes.
Conclusions
In order to address the challenges faced by people with chronic illness, health policy must be more closely aligned with the identified needs and wants of people affected by chronic illness than is currently the case.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-251
PMCID: PMC3706210  PMID: 23819721
4.  Policy options to improve leadership of middle managers in the Australian residential aged care setting: a narrative synthesis 
Background
The prevalence of both chronic diseases and multi-morbidity increases with longer life spans. As Australia's population ages, the aged care sector is under increasing pressure to ensure that quality aged care is available. Key to responding to this pressure is leadership and management capability within the aged care workforce. A systematic literature review was conducted to inform the policy development necessary for the enhancement of clinical and managerial leadership skills of middle managers within residential aged care.
Methods
Using scientific journal databases, hand searching of specialist journals, Google, snowballing and suggestions from experts, 4,484 papers were found. After a seven-tiered culling process, we conducted a detailed review (narrative synthesis) of 153 papers relevant to leadership and management development in aged care, incorporating expert and key stakeholder consultations.
Results
• Positive staff experiences of a manager's leadership are critical to ensure job satisfaction and workforce retention, the provision of quality care and the well-being of care recipients, and potentially a reduction of associated costs.
• The essential attributes of good leadership for aged care middle management are a hands-on accessibility and professional expertise in nurturing respect, recognition and team building, along with effective communication and flexibility. However, successful leadership and management outcomes depend on coherent and good organisational leadership (structural and psychological empowerment).
• There is inadequate preparation for middle management leadership roles in the aged care sector and a lack of clear guidelines and key performance indicators to assess leadership and management skills.
• Theory development in aged care leadership and management research is limited. A few effective generic clinical leadership programs targeting both clinical and managerial leaders exist. However, little is known regarding how appropriate and effective they are for the aged care sector.
Conclusions
There is an urgent need for a national strategy that promotes a common approach to aged care leadership and management development, one that is sector-appropriate and congruent with the philosophy of person-centred care now predominant in the sector. The onus is on aged care industries as a whole and various levels of Government to make a concerted effort to establish relevant regulation, legislation and funding.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-190
PMCID: PMC2910696  PMID: 20602798
5.  The experience of living with chronic heart failure: a narrative review of qualitative studies 
Background
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is the leading cause of all hospitalisations and readmissions in older people, accounting for a large proportion of developed countries' national health care expenditure. CHF can severely affect people's quality of life by reducing their independence and ability to undertake certain activities of daily living, as well as affecting their psychosocial and economic capacity. This paper reports the findings of a systematic narrative review of qualitative studies concerning people's experience of living with CHF, aiming to develop a wide-ranging understanding of what is known about the patient experience.
Methods
We searched eight relevant electronic databases using the terms based on the diagnosis of 'chronic heart failure', 'heart failure' and 'congestive heart failure' and qualitative methods, with restrictions to the years 1990-May 2008. We also used snowballing, hand searching and the expert knowledge of the research team to ensure all relevant papers were included in the review. Of 65 papers collected less than half (n = 30) were found relevant for this review. These papers were subsequently summarised and entered into QSR NVivo7 for data management and analysis.
Results
The review has identified the most prominent impacts of CHF on a person's everyday life including social isolation, living in fear and losing a sense of control. It has also identified common strategies through which patients with CHF manage their illness such as sharing experiences and burdens with others and being flexible to changing circumstances.
Finally, there are multiple factors that commonly impact on patients' self care and self-management in the disease trajectory including knowledge, understanding and health service encounters. These health service encounters encompass access, continuity and quality of care, co-morbid conditions, and personal relationships.
Conclusions
The core and sub-concepts identified within this study provide health professionals, service providers, policy makers and educators with broad insights into common elements of people's experiences of CHF and potential options for improving their health and wellbeing. Future studies should focus on building a comprehensive picture of CHF through examination of differences between genders, and differences within age groups, socioeconomic groups and cultural groups.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-77
PMCID: PMC2851714  PMID: 20331904
6.  Economic hardship associated with managing chronic illness: a qualitative inquiry 
Background
Chronic illness and disability can have damaging, even catastrophic, socioeconomic effects on individuals and their households. We examined the experiences of people affected by chronic heart failure, complicated diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to inform patient centred policy development. This paper provides a first level, qualitative understanding of the economic impact of chronic illness.
Methods
Interviews were conducted with patients aged between 45 and 85 years who had one or more of the index conditions and family carers from the Australian Capital Territory and Western Sydney, Australia (n = 66). Content analysis guided the interpretation of data.
Results
The affordability of medical treatments and care required to manage illness were identified as the key aspects of economic hardship, which compromised patients' capacity to proactively engage in self-management and risk reduction behaviours. Factors exacerbating hardship included ineligibility for government support, co-morbidity, health service flexibility, and health literacy. Participants who were on multiple medications, from culturally and linguistically diverse or Indigenous backgrounds, and/or not in paid employment, experienced economic hardship more harshly and their management of chronic illness was jeopardised as a consequence. Economic hardship was felt among not only those ineligible for government financial supports but also those receiving subsidies that were insufficient to meet the costs of managing long-term illness over and above necessary daily living expenses.
Conclusion
This research provides insights into the economic stressors associated with managing chronic illness, demonstrating that economic hardship requires households to make difficult decisions between care and basic living expenses. These decisions may cause less than optimal health outcomes and increased costs to the health system. The findings support the necessity of a critical analysis of health, social and welfare policies to identify cross-sectoral strategies to alleviate such hardship and improve the affordability of managing chronic conditions. In a climate of global economic instability, research into the economic impact of chronic illness on individuals' health and well-being and their disease management capacity, such as this study, provides timely evidence to inform policy development.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-182
PMCID: PMC2766369  PMID: 19818128
7.  Challenges for co-morbid chronic illness care and policy in Australia: a qualitative study 
Background
In response to the escalating burden of chronic illness in Australia, recent health policies have emphasised the promotion of patient self-management and better preventive care. A notable omission from these policies is the acknowledgment that patients with chronic illness tend to have co-morbid conditions. Our objectives were: to identify the common challenges co-morbidity poses to patients and carers in their experiences of self-management; to detail the views and perceptions of health professionals about these challenges; and to discuss policy options to improve health care for people with co-morbid chronic illness. The method included semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 129 purposively sampled participants. Participants were people with Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or chronic heart failure as well as carers and health care professionals. Content analysis of the interview data was conducted using NVivo7 software.
Results
Patients and their carers found co-morbidity influenced their capacity to manage chronic illness in three ways. First, co-morbidity created barriers to patients acting on risk factors; second, it complicated the process of recognising the early symptoms of deterioration of each condition, and third, it complicated their capacity to manage medication.
Conclusion
Findings highlight challenges that patients with multiple chronic conditions face in relation to preventive care and self-management. Future clinical policy initiatives need to move away from single illness orientation toward strategies that meet the needs of people with co-morbid conditions and strengthen their capacity to self-manage. These patients will benefit directly from specialised education and services that cater to the needs of people with clusters of co-morbidities.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-22
PMCID: PMC2745419  PMID: 19735576

Results 1-7 (7)