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1.  Early assisted discharge with generic community nursing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations: results of a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001684.
Objectives
To determine the effectiveness of early assisted discharge for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, with home care provided by generic community nurses, compared with usual hospital care.
Design
Prospective, randomised controlled and multicentre trial with 3-month follow-up.
Setting
Five hospitals and three home care organisations in the Netherlands.
Participants
Patients admitted to the hospital with an exacerbation of COPD. Patients with no or limited improvement of respiratory symptoms and patients with severe unstable comorbidities, social problems or those unable to visit the toilet independently were excluded.
Intervention
Early discharge from hospital after 3 days inpatient treatment. Home visits by generic community nurses. Primary outcome measure was change in health status measured by the Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ). Treatment failures, readmissions, mortality and change in generic health-related quality of life (HRQL) were secondary outcome measures.
Results
139 patients were randomised. No difference between groups was found in change in CCQ score at day 7 (difference in mean change 0.29 (95% CI −0.03 to 0.61)) or at 3 months (difference in mean change 0.04 (95% CI –0.40 to 0.49)). No difference was found in secondary outcomes. At day 7 there was a significant difference in change in generic HRQL, favouring usual hospital care.
Conclusions
While patients’ disease-specific health status after 7-day treatment tended to be somewhat better in the usual hospital care group, the difference was small and not clinically relevant or statistically significant. After 3 months, the difference had disappeared. A significant difference in generic HRQL at the end of the treatment had disappeared after 3 months and there was no difference in treatment failures, readmissions or mortality. Early assisted discharge with community nursing is feasible and an alternative to usual hospital care for selected patients with an acute COPD exacerbation.
Trial registration: NetherlandsTrialRegister NTR 1129.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001684
PMCID: PMC3488726  PMID: 23075570
Primary Care
2.  Whole-Body versus Local DXA-Scan for the Diagnosis of Osteoporosis in COPD Patients 
Journal of Osteoporosis  2010;2010:640878.
Background. Osteoporosis is an extrapulmonary effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Diagnosis of osteoporosis is based on BMD measured by DXA-scan. The best location for BMD measurement in COPD has not been determined. Aim of this study was to assess whole-body BMD and BMD of the hip and lumbar spine (local DXA) in COPD patients and compare the prevalence of osteoporosis at these locations. Methods. Whole body as well as local DXA-scan were made in 168 COPD patients entering pulmonary rehabilitation. Patient-relevant characteristics were assessed. Prevalence of osteoporosis was determined. Characteristics of patients without osteoporosis were compared to patients with osteoporosis on local DXA. Results. A higher prevalence of osteoporosis was found using local DXA compared to whole-body DXA (39% versus 21%). One quarter of patients without osteoporosis on whole body-DXA did have osteoporosis on local DXA. Significant differences in patient characteristics between patients without osteoporosis based on both DXA measurements and patients with osteoporosis based on local DXA only were found. Conclusions. DXA of the hip and lumbar spine should be made to assess bone mineral density in COPD patients. The lowest T-score of these locations should be used to diagnose osteoporosis.
doi:10.4061/2010/640878
PMCID: PMC2957150  PMID: 20976078
3.  Observer Variation of 2-Deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-d-Glucose-Positron Emission Tomography in Mediastinal Staging of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer as a Function of Experience, and its Potential Clinical Impact 
Molecular Imaging and Biology  2007;9(5):318-322.
Purpose
To test the extent of variation among nuclear medicine physicians with respect to staging non-small cell lung cancer with positron emission tomography (PET).
Procedures
Two groups of nuclear medicine physicians with different levels of PET experience reviewed 30 PET scans. They were requested to identify and localize suspicious mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN) using standardized algorithms. Results were compared between the two groups, between individuals, and with expert reading.
Results
Overall we found good interobserver agreement (kappa 0.65). Experience with PET translated into a better ability to localize MLN stations (68% vs. 51%, respectively), and experienced readers appeared to be more familiar with translating PET readings into clinically useful statements.
Conclusions
Although our results suggest that clinical experience with PET increases observers’ ability to read and interpret results from PET adequately, there is room for improvement. Experience with PET does not necessarily improve the accuracy of image interpretation.
doi:10.1007/s11307-007-0108-1
PMCID: PMC2039839  PMID: 17610119
FDG-PET scanning; Interobserver variation; Lung cancer; Experience; Mediastinal lymph node metastases
4.  Effect of an integrated primary care model on the management of middle-aged and old patients with obstructive lung diseases 
Objective
To investigate the effect of a primary care model for COPD on process of care and patient outcome.
Design
Controlled study with delayed intervention in control group.
Setting
The GP delegates tasks to a COPD support service (CSS) and a practice nurse. The CSS offers logistic support to the practice through a patient register and recall system for annual history-taking and lung function measurement. It also forms the link with the chest physician for diagnostic and therapeutic advice. The practice nurse's most important tasks are education and counselling.
Subjects
A total of 44 practices (n =22 for intervention and n =22 for control group) and 260 of their patients ≥40 years with obstructive lung diseases.
Results
Within the intervention group planned visits increased from 16% to 44% and from 19% to 25% in the control condition (difference between groups p =0.014). Annual lung function measurement rose from 17% to 67% in the intervention and from 11% to 18% in the control group (difference between groups p =0.001). Compared with control, more but not statistically significant smokers received periodic advice to quit smoking (p =0.16). At baseline 41% of the intervention group were using their inhalers correctly and this increased to 54% after two years; it decreased in the control group from 47 to 29% (difference between groups p =0.002). The percentage of patients without exacerbation did not change significantly compared with the control condition. The percentage of the intervention group not needing emergency medication rose from 79% to 84% but decreased in the controls from 81 to 76% (difference between groups p =0.08).
Conclusion
Combining different disciplines in one model has a positive effect on compliance with recommendations for monitoring patients, and improves the care process and some patient outcomes.
doi:10.1080/02813430701573943
PMCID: PMC3379779  PMID: 17846938
COPD; family practice; guidelines adherence; integrated healthcare system; practice nurse; primary care
5.  Effectiveness of home care programmes for patients with incurable cancer on their quality of life and time spent in hospital: systematic review 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7149):1939-1944.
Objective: To investigate whether for patients with incurable cancer comprehensive home care programmes are more effective than standard care in maintaining the patients’ quality of life and reducing their “readmission time” (percentage of days spent in hospital from start of care till death).
Design: Systematic review.
Methods: A computer aided search was conducted using the databases of Medline, Embase, CancerLit, and PsychLit. The search for studies and the assessment of the methodological quality of the relevant studies were performed by two investigators, blinded from each other. Prospective, controlled studies investigating the effects of a home care intervention programme on patients’ quality of life or on readmission time were included in the analyses.
Results: Only 9 prospective controlled studies were found; eight were performed in the United States and 1 in the United Kingdom. Their methodological quality was judged to be moderate (median rating 62 on a 100 point scale). None of the studies showed a negative influence of home care interventions on quality of life. A significantly positive influence on the outcome measures was seen in 2 out of the 5 studies measuring patients’ satisfaction with care, in 3/7 studies measuring physical dimensions of quality of life, in 1/6 studies measuring psychosocial dimensions, and in 2/5 studies measuring readmission time. The incorporation of team members’ visits to patients at home or regular multidisciplinary team meetings into the intervention programme seemed to be related to positive results.
Conclusions: The effectiveness of comprehensive home care programmes remains unclear. Given the enormity of the problems faced by society in caring for patients with terminal cancer, further research is urgently needed.
Key messages Only nine controlled prospective studies have compared the effects of home care intervention programmes for patients with terminal cancer with those of standard care, in relation to patients’ quality of life and time spent in hospital between start of care and death The methodological quality of these studies seemed to be moderate Home care programmes did not have a negative influence on quality of life or time spent in hospital; some studies observed positive effects on these outcome measures Enabling team members to visit patients at home and holding regular multidisciplinary team meetings seem important elements for obtaining favourable results The general belief that home care programmes are effective for patients with terminal cancer is not supported scientifically
PMCID: PMC28590  PMID: 9641929
6.  Care delivery pathways for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in England and the Netherlands: a comparative study 
Introduction
A remarkable difference in care delivery pathways for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the presence of hospital-at-home for COPD exacerbations in England and its absence in the Netherlands. The objective of this paper is to explain this difference.
Methods
Descriptive COPD statistics and care delivery pathways on all care levels within the institutional context, followed by a comparison of care delivery pathways and an explanation of the difference with regard to hospital-at-home.
Results
The Netherlands and England show broad similarities in their care delivery pathways for COPD patients. A major difference is the presence of hospital-at-home for COPD exacerbations in England and its absence in the Netherlands. Three possible explanations for this difference are presented: differences in the urgency for alternatives (higher urgency for alternative treatment models in England), the differences in funding (funding in England facilitated the development of hospital-at-home) and the differences in the substitution of tasks to nurses (substitution to nurses has taken place to a larger extent in England).
Discussion and Conclusion
The difference between the Netherlands and England regarding hospital-at-home for COPD exacerbations can be explained in three ways. Hospital-at-home has proved to be a safe alternative for hospital care for selected patients, and should be considered as a treatment option for COPD exacerbations in the Netherlands.
PMCID: PMC3440249  PMID: 22977431
comparative analysis; COPD; exacerbations; care delivery pathways; hospital-at-home, integrated care

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