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1.  The association between intimate partner violence, alcohol and depression in family practice 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:72.
Background
Depressive symptoms, intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking are common among patients attending general practice. Despite the high prevalence of these three problems; the relationship between them remains relatively unexplored.
Methods
This paper explores the association between depressive symptoms, ever being afraid of a partner and hazardous drinking using cross-sectional screening data from 7667 randomly selected patients from a large primary care cohort study of 30 metropolitan and rural general practices in Victoria, Australia. The screening postal survey included the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Fast Alcohol Screening Test and a screening question from the Composite Abuse Scale on ever being afraid of any intimate partner.
Results
23.9% met criteria for depressive symptoms. A higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0) and a lower proportion of females (12%) than males (25%) were hazardous drinkers (OR 0.4; 95%CI 0.4 to 0.5); and a higher proportion of females than males (20.8% vs. 7.6%) reported ever being afraid of a partner during their lifetime (OR 3.2, 95%CI 2.5 to 4.0). Men and women who had ever been afraid of a partner or who were hazardous drinkers had on average higher depressive symptom scores than those who had never been afraid or who were not hazardous drinkers. There was a stronger association between depressive symptoms and ever been afraid of a partner compared to hazardous drinking for both males (ever afraid of partner; Diff 6.87; 95% CI 5.42, 8.33; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 1.07, 95% CI 0.21, 1.94; p = 0.015) and females (ever afraid of partner; Diff 5.26; 95% CI 4.55, 5.97; p < 0.001 vs. hazardous drinking in last year; Diff 2.23, 95% CI 1.35, 3.11; p < 0.001), even after adjusting for age group, income, employment status, marital status, living alone and education level.
Conclusions
Strategies to assist primary care doctors to recognise and manage intimate partner violence and hazardous drinking in patients with depression may lead to better outcomes from management of depression in primary care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-72
PMCID: PMC2954955  PMID: 20868526
2.  An interactive workshop plus locally adapted guidelines can improve General Practitioners asthma management and knowledge: A cluster randomised trial in the Australian setting 
BMC Family Practice  2008;9:22.
Background
A cluster randomised trial was conducted to determine the effectiveness of locally adapted practice guidelines and education about paediatric asthma management, delivered to general practitioners (GPs) in small group interactive workshops.
Methods
Twenty-nine practices were randomly allocated to one of three study arms. Australian asthma management guidelines were adapted to accommodate characteristics of the local area. GPs in the intervention arm (Group 1, n = 18 GPs) participated in a small group based education program and were provided with the adapted guidelines. One control arm (Group 2, n = 18 GPs) received only the adapted guidelines, while the other control arm (Group 3, n = 15 GPs) received an unrelated education intervention. GPs' knowledge, attitudes and management of paediatric asthma was assessed.
Results
Post intervention, intervention arm GPs were no more likely to provide a written asthma action plan, but were better able to assess the severity of asthma attack (Group 1vs Group 2 p = 0.05 and Group 1 vs Group 3 p = 0.01), better able to identify patients at high risk of severe attack (Group 1vs Group 3 p = 0.06), and tended to score higher on the asthma knowledge questionnaire (Group 1 vs Group 2 p = 0.06 and Group 1 vs Group 3 p = 0.2). Most intervention arm GPs felt more confident than control GPs to manage acute asthma attack and ongoing management of infrequent episodic asthma.
Conclusion
Using interactive small group workshops to disseminate locally adapted guidelines was associated with improvement in GP's knowledge and confidence to manage asthma, but did not change GP's self-reported provision of written action plans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-9-22
PMCID: PMC2375877  PMID: 18423050
3.  Patient Engagement and Coaching for Health: The PEACH study – a cluster randomised controlled trial using the telephone to coach people with type 2 diabetes to engage with their GPs to improve diabetes care: a study protocol 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:20.
Background
The PEACH study is based on an innovative 'telephone coaching' program that has been used effectively in a post cardiac event trial. This intervention will be tested in a General Practice setting in a pragmatic trial using existing Practice Nurses (PN) as coaches for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Actual clinical care often fails to achieve standards, that are based on evidence that self-management interventions (educational and psychological) and intensive pharmacotherapy improve diabetes control. Telephone coaching in our study focuses on both. This paper describes our study protocol, which aims to test whether goal focused telephone coaching in T2D can improve diabetes control and reduce the treatment gap between guideline based standards and actual clinical practice.
Methods/design
In a cluster randomised controlled trial, general practices employing Practice Nurses (PNs) are randomly allocated to an intervention or control group. We aim to recruit 546 patients with poorly controlled T2D (HbA1c >7.5%) from 42 General Practices that employ PNs in Melbourne, Australia. PNs from General Practices allocated to the intervention group will be trained in diabetes telephone coaching focusing on biochemical targets addressing both patient self-management and engaging patients to work with their General Practitioners (GPs) to intensify pharmacological treatment according to the study clinical protocol. Patients of intervention group practices will receive 8 telephone coaching sessions and one face-to-face coaching session from existing PNs over 18 months plus usual care and outcomes will be compared to the control group, who will only receive only usual care from their GPs. The primary outcome is HbA1c levels and secondary outcomes include cardiovascular disease risk factors, behavioral risk factors and process of care measures.
Discussion
Understanding how to achieve comprehensive treatment of T2D in a General Practice setting is the focus of the PEACH study. This study explores the potential role for PNs to help reduce the treatment and outcomes gap in people with T2D by using telephone coaching. The intervention, if found to be effective, has potential to be sustained and embedded within real world General Practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-20
PMCID: PMC1854904  PMID: 17428318
4.  The PAV trial: Does lactobacillus prevent post-antibiotic vulvovaginal candidiasis? Protocol of a randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN24141277] 
Background
Complementary and alternative medicines are used by many consumers, and increasingly are being incorporated into the general practitioner's armamentarium. Despite widespread usage, the evidence base for most complementary therapies is weak or non-existent. Post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis is a common problem in general practice, for which complementary therapies are often used. A recent study in Melbourne, Australia, found that 40% of women with a past history of vulvovaginitis had used probiotic Lactobacillus species to prevent or treat post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis. There is no evidence that this therapy is effective. This study aims to test whether oral or vaginal lactobacillus is effective in the prevention of post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis.
Methods/design
A randomised placebo-controlled blinded 2 × 2 factorial design is being used. General practitioners or pharmacists approach non-pregnant women, aged 18–50 years, who present with a non-genital infection requiring a short course of oral antibiotics, to participate in the study. Participants are randomised in a four group factorial design either to oral lactobacillus powder or placebo and either vaginal lactobacillus pessaries or placebo. These interventions are taken while on antibiotics and for four days afterwards or until symptoms of vaginitis develop. Women self collect a vaginal swab for culture of Candida species and complete a survey at baseline and again four days after completing their study medications. The sample size (a total of 496 – 124 in each factorial group) is calculated to identify a reduction of half in post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis from 23%, while allowing for a 25% drop-out. An independent Data Monitoring Committee is supervising the trial. Analysis will be intention-to-treat, with two pre-specified main comparisons: (i) oral lactobacillus versus placebo and (ii) vaginal lactobacillus versus placebo.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-5-5
PMCID: PMC521199  PMID: 15046642

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