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1.  Protocol of a longitudinal cohort study on physical activity behaviour in physically disabled patients participating in a rehabilitation counselling programme: ReSpAct 
BMJ Open  2015;5(1):e007591.
Stimulating physical activity behaviour in persons with a physical disability is important, especially after discharge from rehabilitation. A tailored counselling programme covering both the period of the rehabilitation treatment and the first months at home seems on the average effective. However, a considerable variation in response is observed in the sense that some patients show a relevant beneficial response while others show no or only a small response on physical activity behaviour. The Rehabilitation, Sports and Active lifestyle (ReSpAct) study aims to estimate the associations of patient and programme characteristics with patients’ physical activity behaviour after their participation in a tailored counselling programme.
Methods and analysis
A questionnaire-based nationwide longitudinal prospective cohort study is conducted. Participants are recruited from 18 rehabilitation centres and hospitals in The Netherlands. 2000 participants with a physical disability or chronic disease will be followed during and after their participation in a tailored counselling programme. Programme outcomes on physical activity behaviour and patient as well as programme characteristics that may be associated with differences in physical activity behaviour after programme completion are being assessed. Data collection takes place at baseline and 14, 33 and 52 weeks after discharge from rehabilitation.
Ethics and dissemination
The study protocol has been approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Centre Groningen and at individual participating institutions. All participants give written informed consent. The study results will provide new insights into factors that may help explain the differences in physical activity behaviour of patients with a physical disability after they have participated in the same physical activity and sports stimulation programme. Thereby, it will support healthcare professionals to tailor their guidance and care to individual patients in order to stimulate physical activity after discharge in a more efficient and effective way.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC4316554  PMID: 25633288
2.  Design of a process evaluation of the implementation of a physical activity and sports stimulation programme in Dutch rehabilitation setting: ReSpAct 
There is a growing interest to study the transfer of evidence-based information into daily practice. The evidence-based programme Rehabilitation, Sports and Exercise (RSE) that aims to stimulate an active lifestyle during and after a rehabilitation period in people with a disability and/or chronic disease is prepared for nationwide dissemination. So far, however, little is known about the implementation of a new programme to stimulate physical activity in people with a disability in a rehabilitation setting. Therefore, a process evaluation of the implementation of the RSE programme within 18 Dutch rehabilitation centres and hospitals is performed in order to gain more insight into the implementation process itself and factors that facilitate or hamper the implementation process. This paper describes the study design of this process evaluation.
During a three-year period, the adoption, implementation and continuation of the RSE programme is monitored and evaluated in 12 rehabilitation centres and 6 hospitals with a rehabilitation department in The Netherlands. The main process outcomes are: recruitment, reach, dose delivered, dose received, fidelity, satisfaction, maintenance and context. The process outcomes are evaluated at different levels (organisational and patient) and different time points. Data collection includes both quantitative (online registration system and questionnaires) and qualitative (focus groups and semi-structured interviews) methods.
The nationwide dissemination of an evidence-based programme to stimulate physical activity and sports during and after a rehabilitation period is extensively monitored and evaluated on different levels (organization and patients) using mixed methods. The study will contribute to the science of translating evidence-based programmes into daily practice of the rehabilitation care. The results of the study can be used to further optimize the content of the RSE programme and to facilitate the implementation in other health facilities. Furthermore, the results of the study can help future implementation processes in the rehabilitation setting.
Trial registration
The study is registered by The Netherlands National Trial Register: NTR3961.
PMCID: PMC4177248  PMID: 25241188
Implementation; Dissemination; Rehabilitation; Physical activity; Active lifestyle; Process evaluation; Disability; Chronic disease; Health promotion
3.  Reference values for isometric muscle force among workers for the Netherlands: a comparison of reference values 
Muscle force is important for daily life and sports and can be measured with a handheld dynamometer. Reference values are employed to quantify a subject’s muscle force. It is not unambiguous whether reference values can be generalized to other populations. Objectives in this study were; first to confirm the reliability of the utilization of hand-held dynamometers for isometric strength measurement; second to determine reference values for a population of Dutch workers; third to compare these values with those of a USA population.
462 Healthy working subjects (259 male, 203 female) were included in this study. Their age ranged from 20 to 60 years with a mean (sd) of 41 (11) years. Muscle force values from elbow flexion and extension, knee flexion and extension, and shoulder abduction were measured with the break method using a MicroFet 2 hand-held dynamometer. Reliability was analyzed by calculating ICC’s and limits of agreement. Muscle force expressed in Newton, means, and confidence intervals were determined for males and females in age groups ranging from twenty to sixty years old. Regression equations and explained variances were calculated from weight, height, age, and gender. The mean values and 95% CI were compared to the results from other studies.
Reliability was good; the ICC ranged between 0.83 to 0.94. The explained variance ranged from 0.25 to 0.51. Comparison of data for the Dutch population mean muscle force values with those from the USA revealed important differences between muscle force reference values for the American and Dutch populations.
Muscle force measurements demonstrate a sound reliability. Reference values and regressions equations are made available for the Dutch population. Comparison with other studies indicates that reference values differ between countries.
PMCID: PMC3996060  PMID: 24568140
Reference values; Muscle force; Hand-held dynamometer; Maximum voluntary contraction
4.  Multidimensional structure of the Groningen Frailty Indicator in community-dwelling older people 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:86.
Due to the rapidly increasing number of older people worldwide, the prevalence of frailty among older adults is expected to escalate in coming decades. It is crucial to recognize early onset symptoms to initiate specific preventive care. Therefore, early detection of frailty with appropriate screening instruments is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the underlying dimensionality of the Groningen Frailty Indicator (GFI), a widely used self-report screening instrument for identifying frail older adults. In addition, criterion validity of GFI subscales was examined and composition of GFI scores was evaluated.
A cross-sectional study design was used to evaluate the structural validity, internal consistency and criterion validity of the GFI questionnaire in older adults aged 65 years and older. All subjects completed the GFI questionnaire (n = 1508). To assess criterion validity, a smaller sample of 119 older adults completed additional questionnaires: De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale, Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale, RAND-36 physical functioning, and perceived general health item of the EuroQol-5D. Exploratory factor analysis and Mokken scale analysis were used to evaluate the structural validity of the GFI. A Venn diagram was constructed to show the composition of GFI subscale scores for frail subjects.
The factor structure of the GFI supported a three-dimensional structure of the scale. The subscales Daily Activities and Psychosocial Functioning showed good internal consistency, scalability, and criterion validity (Daily Activities: Cronbach’s α = 0.81, Hs = .84, r = −.62; Psychosocial Functioning: Cronbach’s α = 0.80, Hs = .35, r = −.48). The subscale Health Problems showed less strong internal consistency but acceptable scalability and criterion validity (Cronbach’s α = .57, Hs = .35, r = −.48). The present data suggest that 90% of the frail older adults experience problems in the Psychosocial Functioning domain.
The present findings support a three-dimensional factor structure of the GFI, suggesting that a multidimensional assessment of frailty with the GFI is possible. These GFI subscale scores produce a richer assessment of frailty than with a single overall sum GFI score, and likely their use will contribute to more directed and customized care for older adults.
PMCID: PMC3766248  PMID: 23968433
Frailty; Older adults; Screening; Measurement
5.  Construct validity of functional capacity tests in healthy workers 
Functional Capacity (FC) is a multidimensional construct within the activity domain of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework (ICF). Functional capacity evaluations (FCEs) are assessments of work-related FC. The extent to which these work-related FC tests are associated to bio-, psycho-, or social factors is unknown. The aims of this study were to test relationships between FC tests and other ICF factors in a sample of healthy workers, and to determine the amount of statistical variance in FC tests that can be explained by these factors.
A cross sectional study. The sample was comprised of 403 healthy workers who completed material handling FC tests (lifting low, overhead lifting, and carrying) and static work FC tests (overhead working and standing forward bend). The explainable variables were; six muscle strength tests; aerobic capacity test; and questionnaires regarding personal factors (age, gender, body height, body weight, and education), psychological factors (mental health, vitality, and general health perceptions), and social factors (perception of work, physical workloads, sport-, leisure time-, and work-index). A priori construct validity hypotheses were formulated and analyzed by means of correlation coefficients and regression analyses.
Moderate correlations were detected between material handling FC tests and muscle strength, gender, body weight, and body height. As for static work FC tests; overhead working correlated fair with aerobic capacity and handgrip strength, and low with the sport-index and perception of work. For standing forward bend FC test, all hypotheses were rejected. The regression model revealed that 61% to 62% of material handling FC tests were explained by physical factors. Five to 15% of static work FC tests were explained by physical and social factors.
The current study revealed that, in a sample of healthy workers, material handling FC tests were related to physical factors but not to the psychosocial factors measured in this study. The construct of static work FC tests remained largely unexplained.
PMCID: PMC3683341  PMID: 23758870
Lifting; Physical endurance; Validity; Work capacity evaluation; Work
6.  Measurement of acute nonspecific low back pain perception in primary care physical therapy: reliability and validity of the brief illness perception questionnaire 
The eight-item Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire is used as a screening instrument in physical therapy to assess mental defeat in patients with acute low back pain, besides patient perception might determine the course and risk for chronic low back pain. However, the psychometric properties of the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire in common musculoskeletal disorders like acute low back pain have not been adequately studied. Patients’ perceptions vary across different populations and affect coping styles. Thus, our aim was to determine the internal consistency, test-retest reliability and validity of the Dutch language version of the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire in acute non-specific low back pain patients in primary care physical therapy.
A non-experimental cross-sectional study with two measurements was performed. Eighty-four acute low back pain patients, in multidisciplinary health care center in Dutch primary care with a sample mean (SD) age of 42 (12) years, participated in the study. Internal consistency (Cronbach’s α) and test-retest procedures (Intraclass Correlation Coefficients and limits of agreement) were evaluated at a one-week interval. The concurrent validity of the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire was examined by using the Mental Health Component of the Short Form 36 Health Survey.
The Cronbach’s α for internal consistency was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.67 – 0.83); and the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient test-retest reliability was acceptable: 0.72 (95% CI, 0.53 – 0.82), however, the limits of agreement were large. The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient measuring concurrent validity 0.65 (95% CI, 0.46 – 0.80).
The Dutch version of the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire is an appropriate instrument for measuring patients’ perceptions in acute low back pain patients, showing acceptable internal consistency and reliability. Concurrent validity is adequate, however, the instrument may be unsuitable for detecting changes in low back pain perception over time.
PMCID: PMC3570488  PMID: 23369321
Illness perceptions; Reliability; Validity; Acute nonspecific low back pain; Brief IPQ
7.  Are Dutch patients willing to be seen by a physician assistant instead of a medical doctor? 
The employment of physician assistants (PAs) is a strategy to improve access to care. Since the new millennium, a handful of countries have turned to PAs as a means to bridge the growing gap between the supply and demand of medical services. However, little is known about this new workforce entity from the patient’s perspective. The objective of this study was to assess the willingness of Dutch patients to be treated by a PA or a medical doctor (MD) under various time constraints and semi-urgent medical scenarios.
A total of 450 Dutch adults were recruited to act as surrogate patients. A convenience sample was drawn from patients in a medical office waiting room in a general hospital awaiting their appointments. Each participant was screened to be naive as to what a PA and a nurse practitioner are and then read a definition of a PA and an MD. One of three medical scenarios was assigned to the participants in a patterned 1-2-3 strategy. Patients were required to make a trade-off decision of being seen after 1 hour by a PA or after 4 hours by a doctor. This forced-choice method continued with the same patient two more times with 30 minutes and 4 hours and another one of 2 hours versus 4 hours for the PA and MD, respectively.
Surrogate patients chose the PA over the MD 96 % to 98 % of the time (depending on the scenario). No differences emerged when analysed by gender, age, or parenthood status.
Willingness to be seen by a PA was tested a priori to determine whether surrogate Dutch patients would welcome this new health-care provider. The findings suggest that employing PAs, at least in concept, may be an acceptable strategy for improving access to care with this population.
PMCID: PMC3462730  PMID: 22947130
Physician assistants; Trade-off; Willingness
8.  Do knowledge, knowledge sources and reasoning skills affect the accuracy of nursing diagnoses? a randomised study 
BMC Nursing  2012;11:11.
This paper reports a study about the effect of knowledge sources, such as handbooks, an assessment format and a predefined record structure for diagnostic documentation, as well as the influence of knowledge, disposition toward critical thinking and reasoning skills, on the accuracy of nursing diagnoses.
Knowledge sources can support nurses in deriving diagnoses. A nurse’s disposition toward critical thinking and reasoning skills is also thought to influence the accuracy of his or her nursing diagnoses.
A randomised factorial design was used in 2008–2009 to determine the effect of knowledge sources. We used the following instruments to assess the influence of ready knowledge, disposition, and reasoning skills on the accuracy of diagnoses: (1) a knowledge inventory, (2) the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, and (3) the Health Science Reasoning Test. Nurses (n = 249) were randomly assigned to one of four factorial groups, and were instructed to derive diagnoses based on an assessment interview with a simulated patient/actor.
The use of a predefined record structure resulted in a significantly higher accuracy of nursing diagnoses. A regression analysis reveals that almost half of the variance in the accuracy of diagnoses is explained by the use of a predefined record structure, a nurse’s age and the reasoning skills of `deduction’ and `analysis’.
Improving nurses’ dispositions toward critical thinking and reasoning skills, and the use of a predefined record structure, improves accuracy of nursing diagnoses.
PMCID: PMC3447681  PMID: 22852577
Clinical practice; Critical reasoning; Knowledge; Nursing diagnoses; RCT
9.  Pain Response of Healthy Workers Following a Functional Capacity Evaluation and Implications for Clinical Interpretation 
Background and aim Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) are used to quantify physical aspects of work capacity. Safety is a critical issue for clinical use of an FCE. Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain (CLBP) are known to report a temporary increase in pain following an FCE, but it is not known whether this increase is a normal pain response to FCE. It is currently unknown how healthy subjects respond to an FCE and whether this should be interpreted as a normal reaction after physical exercise. This study was performed to quantify the intensity, duration, location and nature of the pain response following an FCE in healthy subjects and to compare this pain response with the pain response of patients with CLBP from a previous study. Methods A total of 197 healthy working subjects between 20 and 60 years of age volunteered to participate in this study. All subjects performed a 12-item FCE. Pain response was measured by a self-constructed Pain Response Questionnaire (PRQ). Descriptive statistics were used to describe the pain response following an FCE. Mann–Whitney and t-tests were performed to compare the data from this study with data of patients with CLBP from a previous study. Results About 82% of all subjects reported a pain response following the FCE. The intensity of the pain response after 24 h post FCE was a median of 3.0 on a numeric rating scale (0–10). About 78% of all pain was reducible to muscle soreness. Pain was most often reported in the upper legs (51%), the lower back (38%) the shoulders (37%) and upper arms (36%). Symptoms decreased to pre-FCE levels in a mean of 3 days. The pain response of 2 subjects (1%) lasted for 3 weeks. The intensity and duration of the pain response of healthy subjects was not significantly different from the response of patients with CLBP. Conclusion Pain response of 99% of all subjects who reported a pain response was interpreted as normal. It was concluded that a pain response following an FCE can be expected in healthy subjects and that this pain response is a normal musculoskeletal reaction. The pain response of patients with CLBP resembles the pain response of healthy subjects.
PMCID: PMC2522381  PMID: 18404360
Functional assessment; Safety; Normative values; Muscle soreness; Pain response
10.  Discomfort and factual recollection in intensive care unit patients 
Critical Care  2004;8(6):R467-R473.
A stay in the intensive care unit (ICU), although potentially life-saving, may cause considerable discomfort to patients. However, retrospective assessment of discomfort is difficult because recollection of stressful events may be impaired by sedation and severe illness during the ICU stay. This study addresses the following questions. What is the incidence of discomfort reported by patients recently discharged from an ICU? What were the sources of discomfort reported? What was the degree of factual recollection during patients' stay in the ICU? Finally, was discomfort reported more often in patients with good factual recollection?
All ICU patients older than 18 years who had needed prolonged (>24 hour) admission with tracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation were consecutively included. Within three days after discharge from the ICU, a structured, in-person interview was conducted with each individual patient. All patients were asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of 14 questions specifically concerning the environment of the ICU they had stayed in. Furthermore, they were asked whether they remembered any discomfort during their stay; if they did then they were asked to specify which sources of discomfort they could recall. A reference group of surgical ward patients, matched by sex and age to the ICU group, was studied to validate the questionnaire.
A total of 125 patients discharged from the ICU were included in this study. Data for 123 ICU patients and 48 surgical ward patients were analyzed. The prevalence of recollection of any type of discomfort in the ICU patients was 54% (n = 66). These 66 patients were asked to identify the sources of discomfort, and presence of an endotracheal tube, hallucinations and medical activities were identified as such sources. The median (min–max) score for factual recollection in the ICU patients was 15 (0–28). The median (min–max) score for factual recollection in the reference group was 25 (19–28). Analysis revealed that discomfort was positively related to factual recollection (odds ratio 1.1; P < 0.001), especially discomfort caused by the presence of an endotracheal tube, medical activities and noise. Hallucinations were reported more often with increasing age. Pain as a source of discomfort was predominantly reported by younger patients.
Among postdischarge ICU patients, 54% recalled discomfort. However, memory was often impaired: the median factual recollection score of ICU patients was significantly lower than that of matched control patients. The presence of an endotracheal tube, hallucinations and medical activities were most frequently reported as sources of discomfort. Patients with a higher factual recollection score were at greater risk for remembering the stressful presence of an endotracheal tube, medical activities and noise. Younger patients were more likely to report pain as a source of discomfort.
PMCID: PMC1065072  PMID: 15566593
discomfort; hallucinations; intensive care unit; recollection

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