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1.  Deprescribing medication in very elderly patients with multimorbidity: the view of Dutch GPs. A qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:56.
Background
Elderly patients with multimorbidity who are treated according to guidelines use a large number of drugs. This number of drugs increases the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs). Stopping medication may relieve these effects, and thereby improve the patient’s wellbeing. To facilitate management of polypharmacy expert-driven instruments have been developed, sofar with little effect on the patient’s quality of life. Recently, much attention has been paid to shared decision-making in general practice, mainly focusing on patient preferences. This study explores how experienced GPs feel about deprescribing medication in older patients with multimorbidity and to what extent they involve patients in these decisions.
Methods
Focusgroups of GPs were used to develop a conceptual framework for understanding and categorizing the GP’s view on the subject. Audiotapes were transcribed verbatim and studied by the first and second author. They selected independently relevant textfragments. In a next step they labeled these fragments and sorted them. From these labelled and sorted fragments central themes were extracted.
Results
GPs discern symptomatic medication and preventive medication; deprescribing the latter category is seen as more difficult by the GPs due to lack of benefit/risk information for these patients.
Factors influencing GPs’deprescribing were beliefs concerning patients (patients have no problem with polypharmacy; patients may interpret a proposal to stop preventive medication as a sign of having been given up on; and confronting the patient with a discussion of life expectancy vs quality of life is ‘not done’), guidelines for treatment (GPs feel compelled to prescribe by the present guidelines) and organization of healthcare (collaboration with prescribing medical specialists and dispensing pharmacists.
Conclusions
The GPs’ beliefs concerning elderly patients are a barrier to explore patient preferences when reviewing preventive medication. GPs would welcome decision support when dealing with several guidelines for one patient. Explicit rules for collaborating with medical specialists in this field are required. Training in shared decision making could help GPs to elicit patient preferences.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-56
PMCID: PMC3391990  PMID: 22697490
General practice; Frail elderly; Polypharmacy; Withdrawing treatment; Preventive therapy; Quality of life
2.  The death of a patient: a model for reflection in GP training 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:8.
Background
The Dutch government has chosen a policy of strengthening palliative care in order to enable patients to die at home according to their preference. In order to facilitate this care by GPs, we wanted to know how to support them in their training. Therefore we examined the ways in which the death of a patient influences the doctor both at a professional and at a personal level.
Methods
Based on a qualitative study, we developed a model for reflection for GP trainees on the meaning of the death of patients and its influence on the GP.
The qualitative study was done in 2007 and is based on open in-depth interviews and a focus group. We recruited 18 participants who were highly professional GPs and experienced in talking about the death of patients. We invited GPs from a list of experienced GPs, who in addition are also second-opinion GPs for euthanasia (SCEN-physicians) and from a pool of GP trainers, our intention being to include GPs holding a variety of world views. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the results. Themes were first identified independently by three researchers, then after discussion these three sets were rearranged to one list of themes and their mutual relation were determined. A model for the interaction of the GP at professional and at a personal level was formulated.
Results
Forty three themes emerged from the interviews and focus group. These themes fell into three groups: professional values and experiences, personal values and experiences, and the opinions of the GPs as to what constitutes a good death. We constructed a model of the doctor-patient relationship on the basis of these findings. This model enables GP trainees identifying the unique character of the doctor-patient relationship as well as its reciprocity when the two were confronted by the patient's impending death.
Conclusions
In dealing with the approaching death of a patient the unique interaction between patient and doctor and the cumulative experiences of doctors with their patients brings about a shift in the GP's own values. The professional development of GP trainees may be facilitated by reflection on the interaction of their own values and beliefs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-8
PMCID: PMC3061910  PMID: 21366932
3.  Care provided by general practitioners to patients with psychotic disorders: a cohort study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:92.
Background
Patients suffering from psychotic disorders have an increased risk of comorbid somatic diseases such as cardiovascular disorders and diabetes mellitus. Doctor-related factors, such as unfamiliarity with these patients, as well as patient-related factors, such as cognitive disturbance and negative symptoms, contribute to suboptimal health care for these patients.
General practitioners (GPs) could play a key role in diagnosing and treating this somatic comorbidity as in the Netherlands, almost all residents are registered at a general practice. This study aims to find out whether there are any differences between the levels of health care provided by GPs to patients with psychotic disorders, compared to other types of patients.
Methods
A cohort of patients with an ICPC code of psychosis and two matched control groups, one consisting of patients with other mental problems and the other one of patients without any mental problems, were followed over a period of 5 years.
Results
Patients with psychotic disorders (N = 734) contacted the GP practice more often than patients in the control groups. These patients, both adults (p = 0.051) and the elderly (p < 0.005), received more home visits from their GPs. In the adult group (16 to 65 years old inclusive), the number of consultations was significantly higher among both psychosis patients and the group of patients with other mental problems (p < 0.0005). The number of telephone consultations was significantly higher in both age categories, adult group (p < 0.0005), and > 65 years old (p = 0.007). With regard to chronic illnesses, elderly psychosis patients had fewer contacts related to cardiovascular diseases or chronic lung diseases.
Conclusion
Patients with psychotic disorders contact the GP practice more frequently than other types of patients. Adult psychosis patients with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases or chronic lung diseases receive the same amount of health care for these diseases as other primary care patients. The finding that older patients with psychotic disorders are diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases and obstructive lung diseases less frequently than other types of elderly patients requires further study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-92
PMCID: PMC3004870  PMID: 21108807
4.  Care for patients with severe mental illness: the general practitioner's role perspective 
BMC Family Practice  2009;10:29.
Background
Patients with severe mental illness (SMI) experience distress and disabilities in several aspects of life, and they have a higher risk of somatic co-morbidity. Both patients and their family members need the support of an easily accessible primary care system. The willingness of general practitioners and the impeding factors for them to participate in providing care for patients with severe mental illness in the acute and the chronic or residual phase were explored.
Methods
A questionnaire survey of a sample of Dutch general practitioners spread over the Netherlands was carried out. This comprised 20 questions on the GP's 'Opinion and Task Perspective', 19 questions on 'Treatment and Experiences', and 27 questions on 'Characteristics of the General Practitioner and the Practice Organisation'.
Results
186 general practitioners distributed over urban areas (49%), urbanised rural areas (38%) and rural areas (15%) of the Netherlands participated. The findings were as follows: GPs currently considered themselves as the first contact in the acute psychotic phase. In the chronic or residual phase GPs saw their core task as to diagnose and treat somatic co-morbidity. A majority would be willing to monitor the general health of these patients as well. It appeared that GP trainers and GPs with a smaller practice setting made follow-up appointments and were willing to monitor the self-care of patients with SMI more often than GPs with larger practices.
GPs also saw their role as giving support and information to the patient's family.
However, they felt a need for recognition of their competencies when working with mental health care specialists.
Conclusion
GPs were willing to participate in providing care for patients with SMI. They considered themselves responsible for psychotic emergency cases, for monitoring physical health in the chronic phase, and for supporting the relatives of psychotic patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-29
PMCID: PMC2685366  PMID: 19419547
5.  How do General Practitioners experience providing care for their psychotic patients? 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:37.
Background
In primary care, GPs usually provide care for patients with chronic diseases according to professional guidelines. However, such guidelines are not available in the Netherlands for patients with recurring psychoses. It seems that the specific difficulties that GPs experience in providing care for these patients hinder the development and implementation of such guidelines. This study aims to explore the chances and problems GPs meet when providing care for patients susceptible for recurring psychoses, including schizophrenia and related disorders, bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.
Methods
A qualitative study of focus group discussions with practising GPs in both town and rural areas. Transcripts from three focus groups with 19 GPs were analysed with the computer program 'Kwalitan'. Theoretical saturation was achieved after these three groups.
Results
Analysis showed that eight categories of factors influenced the GPs' care for psychotic patients: patient presentation (acute vs. chronic phase), emotional impact, expertise, professional attitude, patient related factors, patient's family, practice organization, and collaboration with psychiatric specialists.
Conclusion
Current primary care for psychotic patients depends very much on personal characteristics of the GP and the quality of local collaboration with the Mental Health Service. A quantitative study among GPs using a questionnaire based on the eight categories mentioned above would determine the extent of the problems and limitations experienced with this type of care. From the results of this quantitative study, new realistic guidelines could be developed to improve the quality of care for psychotic patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-37
PMCID: PMC1933537  PMID: 17598879

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