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1.  Hospital outcomes for paediatric pneumonia and diarrhoea patients admitted in a tertiary hospital on weekdays versus weekends: a retrospective study 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:74.
Background
Quality of patient care in hospitals has been shown to be inconsistent during weekends and night-time hours, and is often associated with reduced patient monitoring, poor antibiotic prescription practices and poor patient outcomes. Poorer care and outcomes are commonly attributed to decreased levels of staffing, supervision and expertise and poorer access to diagnostics. However, there are few studies examining this issue in low resource settings where mortality from common childhood illnesses is high and health care systems are weak.
Methods
This study uses data from a retrospective cross-sectional study aimed at “evaluating the uptake of best practice clinical guidelines in a tertiary hospital” with a pre and post intervention approach that spanned the period 2005 to 2009. We evaluated a primary hypothesis that mortality for children with pneumonia and/or dehydration aged 2–59 months admitted on weekends differed from those admitted on weekdays. A secondary hypothesis that poor quality of care could be a mechanism for higher mortality was also explored. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between mortality and the independent predictors of mortality.
Results
Our analysis indicates that there is no difference in mortality on weekends compared to weekdays even after adjusting for the significant predictors of mortality (OR = 1.15; 95% CI 0.90 -1.45; p = 0.27). There were similarly no significant differences between weekends and weekdays for the quality of care indicators, however, there was an overall improvement in mortality and quality of care through the period of study.
Conclusion
Mortality and the quality of care does not differ by the day of admission in a Kenyan tertiary hospital, however mortality remains high suggesting that continued efforts to improve care are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-74
PMCID: PMC3655904  PMID: 23663546
Children; Pneumonia; Diarrhea; Weekend versus weekday; Quality of health care
2.  Effect of a multi-faceted quality improvement intervention on inappropriate antibiotic use in children with non-bloody diarrhoea admitted to district hospitals in Kenya 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:109.
Background
There are few reports of interventions to reduce the common but irrational use of antibiotics for acute non-bloody diarrhoea amongst hospitalised children in low-income settings. We undertook a secondary analysis of data from an intervention comprising training of health workers, facilitation, supervision and face-to-face feedback, to assess whether it reduced inappropriate use of antibiotics in children with non-bloody diarrhoea and no co-morbidities requiring antibiotics, compared to a partial intervention comprising didactic training and written feedback only. This outcome was not a pre-specified end-point of the main trial.
Methods
Repeated cross-sectional survey data from a cluster-randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve management of common childhood illnesses in Kenya were used to describe the prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic use in a 7-day period in children aged 2-59 months with acute non-bloody diarrhoea. Logistic regression models with random effects for hospital were then used to identify patient and clinician level factors associated with inappropriate antibiotic use and to assess the effect of the intervention.
Results
9, 459 admission records of children were reviewed for this outcome. Of these, 4, 232 (44.7%) were diagnosed with diarrhoea, with 130 of these being bloody (dysentery) therefore requiring antibiotics. 1, 160 children had non-bloody diarrhoea and no co-morbidities requiring antibiotics-these were the focus of the analysis. 750 (64.7%) of them received antibiotics inappropriately, 313 of these being in the intervention hospitals vs. 437 in the controls. The adjusted logistic regression model showed the baseline-adjusted odds of inappropriate antibiotic prescription to children admitted to the intervention hospitals was 0.30 times that in the control hospitals (95%CI 0.09-1.02).
Conclusion
We found some evidence that the multi-faceted, sustained intervention described in this paper led to a reduction in the inappropriate use of antibiotics in treating children with non-bloody diarrhoea.
Trial registration
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register ISRCTN42996612
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-109
PMCID: PMC3314405  PMID: 22117602
3.  Control of hyperglycaemia in paediatric intensive care (CHiP): study protocol 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:5.
Background
There is increasing evidence that tight blood glucose (BG) control improves outcomes in critically ill adults. Children show similar hyperglycaemic responses to surgery or critical illness. However it is not known whether tight control will benefit children given maturational differences and different disease spectrum.
Methods/Design
The study is an randomised open trial with two parallel groups to assess whether, for children undergoing intensive care in the UK aged ≤ 16 years who are ventilated, have an arterial line in-situ and are receiving vasoactive support following injury, major surgery or in association with critical illness in whom it is anticipated such treatment will be required to continue for at least 12 hours, tight control will increase the numbers of days alive and free of mechanical ventilation at 30 days, and lead to improvement in a range of complications associated with intensive care treatment and be cost effective.
Children in the tight control group will receive insulin by intravenous infusion titrated to maintain BG between 4 and 7.0 mmol/l. Children in the control group will be treated according to a standard current approach to BG management.
Children will be followed up to determine vital status and healthcare resources usage between discharge and 12 months post-randomisation. Information regarding overall health status, global neurological outcome, attention and behavioural status will be sought from a subgroup with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A difference of 2 days in the number of ventilator-free days within the first 30 days post-randomisation is considered clinically important. Conservatively assuming a standard deviation of a week across both trial arms, a type I error of 1% (2-sided test), and allowing for non-compliance, a total sample size of 1000 patients would have 90% power to detect this difference. To detect effect differences between cardiac and non-cardiac patients, a target sample size of 1500 is required. An economic evaluation will assess whether the costs of achieving tight BG control are justified by subsequent reductions in hospitalisation costs.
Discussion
The relevance of tight glycaemic control in this population needs to be assessed formally before being accepted into standard practice.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN61735247
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-5
PMCID: PMC2830203  PMID: 20137090
4.  Maximising engagement, motivation and long term change in a Structured Intensive Education Programme in Diabetes for children, young people and their families: Child and Adolescent Structured Competencies Approach to Diabetes Education (CASCADE) 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:57.
Background
This trial aims to evaluate effective delivery and cost effectiveness of an innovative structured psycho-educational programme (CASCADE) for young people and their families living with diabetes. The increase in numbers of people being diagnosed with diabetes is posing a challenge for both the UK and the rest of the world. The peak age for diagnosis is between 10 and 14 years of age. There is clear evidence that improved diabetes control from diagnosis in childhood can reduce the incidence and progression of long-term complications. However, despite the development of improved insulin regimens and delivery methods, the overall metabolic control in children and adolescents has improved little in the UK in the past decade. Therefore there is a need for novel interventions and health delivery mechanisms aimed at young people and their families to help improve control and reduce complications, illness burden and costs to the NHS.
Methods/Design
The CASCADE trial is a multi-centre randomised control trial with 26 clinics randomised to control or intervention groups, with 572 children and young people involved in the study. The intervention will be delivered in 4 group sessions, over a 4 month period. A developmentally appropriate curriculum will be delivered to groups of 3 - 4 families, focusing on achievement of increasing competency in self-management of diabetes. The control group will receive standard care from their clinical team, usually consisting of regular 3-monthly clinic visits and telephone contact as required with the clinical nurse specialist and consultant. The primary outcomes of the trial will be change in HbA1c between baseline and 12 months and 24 months post recruitment. Secondary outcomes will include measures related to the economic evaluation, psychosocial outcomes, outcomes related to management of diabetes outcomes, and adherence to the intervention.
Discussion
The trial will be run by independent research and service delivery teams and supervised by a trial steering committee. A data monitoring and ethics committee has been put in place to monitor the trial and recommend stopping/continuation according to a Peto-Haybittle rule. The trial will be conducted according to the principles of MRC Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Guidelines and CTRU Phase III Trial Standard Operating procedures.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN52537669
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-9-57
PMCID: PMC2753334  PMID: 19754965

Results 1-4 (4)