Temporary doctors, known as locum doctors, play an important role in the delivery of care in the National Health Service (NHS); however, little is known about the extent of locum use in NHS trusts. This study aimed to quantify and describe locum use for all NHS trusts in England in 2019–2021.
Descriptive analyses of data on locum shifts from all NHS trusts in England in 2019–2021. Weekly data were available for the number of shifts filled by agency and bank staff and the number of shifts requested by each trust. Negative binomial models were used to investigate the association between the proportion of medical staffing provided by locums and NHS trust characteristics.
In 2019, on average 4.4% of total medical staffing was provided by locums, but this varied substantially across trusts (25th–75th centile=2.2%–6.2%). Over time, on average two-thirds of locum shifts were filled by locum agencies and a third by trusts’ staff banks. On average, 11.3% of shifts requested were left unfilled. In 2019–2021, the mean number of weekly shifts per trust increased by 19% (175.2–208.6) and the mean number of weekly unfilled shifts per trust increased by 54% (32.7 to 50.4). Trusts rated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as inadequate or requiring improvement (incidence rate ratio=1.495; 95% CI 1.191 to 1.877), and smaller trusts had a higher use of locums. Large variability was observed across regions for use of locums, proportion of shifts filled by locum agencies and unfilled shifts.
There were large variations in the demand for and use of locum doctors in NHS trusts. Trusts with poor CQC ratings and smaller trusts appear to use locum doctors more intensively compared with other trust types. Unfilled shifts were at a 3-year high at the end of 2021 suggesting increased demand which may result from growing workforce shortages in NHS trusts.
Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is the treatment of choice for end-stage osteoarthritis of the hip. Management of THA differs between countries, and it is hypothesised that this can influence patients’ expectations and self-efficacy. Using Chen’s intervening mechanism evaluation approach, this study aims to explore how structure of care influences expectations and self-efficacy of patients undergoing THA, and how expectations and self-efficacy in turn influence outcome in terms of perceived physical function and satisfaction.
A mixed-methods study will be conducted in two German and two Dutch hospitals near the Dutch-German border. In the quantitative part, patients will complete questionnaires at three timepoints: preoperatively and at 3 and 6 months postoperatively. Data analysis will include multiple regression analysis and structural equation modelling. In the qualitative part, interviews will be held with patients (preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively) and healthcare providers. Analysis will be performed using structured qualitative content analysis.
The study is approved by the Institutional Review Boards of both Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg (2021–167) and University Medical Center Groningen (METc 2021/562 and METc 2021/601). The results will be disseminated in the international scientific community via publications and conference presentations.
The study is registered in the German Clinical Trials Registry (DRKS: DRKS00026744).
The concept of safety work draws attention to the intentional work of ensuring safety within care systems. Clinical decision support (CDS) has been designed to enhance medication safety in primary care by providing decision-making support to prescribers. Sociotechnical theory understands that healthcare settings are complex and dynamically connected systems of fluid networks, human agents, changing relationships and social processes. This study aimed to understand the relationship between safety work and the use of CDS.
This qualitative study took place across nine different general practices in England. Stakeholders included general practitioners (GPs) and general practice-based pharmacists and nurse prescribers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to illicit how the system was used by the participants in the context of medication safety work. Data analysis conducted alongside data collection was thematic and drew on socio-technical theory.
Twenty-three interviews were conducted with 14 GPs, three nurse prescribers and three practice pharmacists between February 2018 and June 2020.
Safety work was contextually situated in a complex network of relationships. Three interconnected themes were interpreted from the data: (1) the use of CDS within organisational and social practices and workflows; (2) safety work and the use of CDS within the interplay between prescribers, patients and populations; and (3) the affordances embedded in CDS systems.
The use of sociotechnical theory here extends current thinking in patient safety particularly in the ways that safety work was co-constituted with the use of CDS alerts. This has implications for implementation and use to ensure that the contexts into which such CDS systems are implemented are taken into account. Understanding how alerts can adapt safety culture will help improve the efficacy of CDS systems, enhance prescribing safety and help to further understand how safety work is achieved in primary care.
There is growing recognition that in order to remain sustainable, the UK’s National Health Service must deliver the best patient outcomes within available resources. This focus on outcomes relative to cost is the basis of value-based healthcare (VBHC) and has led to interest in the recording of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to measure patient perspectives on the impact of a health condition on their lives. Every health board in Wales is now required to collect PROMS as part of routine care. We will evaluate the VBHC programme implemented in a lead health board. The study aim is to understand what works about PROMs collection, for whom, in what contexts and why in a VBHC context. In addition, we will assess the social value of integrating PROMs collection into routine care.
A three-stage mixed-methods study comprising a realist evaluation integrated with social return on investment (SROI) analysis across four conditions; Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, heart failure and cataract surgery. Workstream 1: Development of logic models, informed by a scoping review, documentary analysis, patient and public involvement (PPI), staff and key stakeholder engagement. Workstream 2: Realist evaluation building on multiple data sources from stages 1 to 3 to test and refine the programme theories that arise from the logic model development. Workstream 3: SROI analysis using interview data with patients, staff and carers, stakeholder and PPI engagement, anonymised routinely collected data, and questionnaires to populate a model that will explore the social value generated by the implementation of PROMs. Findings across stages will be validated with key stakeholders.
The study is approved by Wales Research Ethics Committee #5 (22/WA/0044). Outcomes will be shared with key stakeholders, published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build on this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial.
The aim of this study was to investigate physician benzodiazepine (BZD) self-use pre-COVID-19 pandemic and to examine changes in BZD self-use during the first year of the pandemic.
Population-based retrospective cohort study using linked routinely collected administrative health data comparing the first year of the pandemic to the period before the pandemic.
Province of Ontario, Canada between March 2016 and March 2021.
Onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The primary outcome measure was the receipt of one or more prescriptions for BZD, which was captured via the Narcotics Monitoring System.
In a cohort of 30 798 physicians (mean age 42, 47.8% women), we found that during the year before the pandemic, 4.4% of physicians had 1 or more BZD prescriptions. Older physicians (6.8% aged 50+ years), female physicians (5.1%) and physicians with a prior mental health (MH) diagnosis (12.4%) were more likely than younger (3.7% aged female=0.90, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.98) compared with male physicians (aORmale=0.79, 95% CI: 0.72 to 0.87, pinteraction=0.046 during the pandemic. Physicians presenting with an incident MH visit had higher odds of filling a BZD prescription during COVID-19 compared with the prior year.
Physicians’ BZD prescriptions decreased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada. These findings suggest that previously reported increases in mental distress and MH visits among physicians during the pandemic did not lead to greater self-use of BZDs.
This study aimed to understand the evidence related to integration of social support into interventions, to identify literature gaps related to social support interventions, and to clarify dimensions of supportive functions, outcomes, and providers among the elderly in nursing homes.
This scoping review followed the approach by Arksey and O’Malley. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool V.2018 was used for quality assessment of the studies.
Searches were conducted of the PubMed, ScienceDirect, Public Library of Science, SocioHub, Wiley Online Library and PsycINFO databases for publications from 2010 to 2021.
We searched for primary studies and heterogeneous study designs published in English. Eligible studies took place in nursing and care homes and had study populations of elderly adults (older adults, geriatrics, ageing, seniors, older people and those aged 60 years and older).
A data extraction form based on Joanna Briggs Institute’s recommendations for scoping reviews was used. Two reviewers independently extracted data and performed quality assessment of the studies. Then, extracted data and quality assessment reports were discussed by all authors.
Thirty-one eligible studies were included in this review. 54.8% of the studies provided interventions for cognitively impaired residents. The top-three outcomes were neuropsychiatric symptoms, physical function and quality of life, respectively. The interventions were performed by nursing home staff (83.9%), other persons with specific qualifications (58.1%) and health volunteers (6.5%). Most studies (90.3%) depicted the integration of emotional and instrumental supportive functions into interventions.
The appropriate dimensions of supportive function, mainly emotional and instrumental support, are important to integrate into the social care of elderly people living in nursing homes.
To compare success of applicants to specialty training posts in the UK by gender, ethnicity and disability status.
Cross-sectional observational study.
National Health Service, UK.
All specialty training post applications to Health Education England, UK, during the 2021–2022 recruitment cycle.
Comparison of success at application to specialty training posts by gender, ethnicity, country of qualification (UK vs non-UK) and disability. The influence of ethnicity on success was investigated using a logistic regression model, where country of qualification was included as a covariate.
12 419/37 971 (32.7%) of applicants to specialty training posts were successful, representing 58 specialties. The difference in percentage of successful females (6480/17 523, 37.0%) and males (5625/19 340, 29.1%) was 7.9% (95% CI 6.93% to 8.86%), in favour of females. Segregation of applications to specialties by gender was observed; surgical specialties had the highest proportion of male applicants, while obstetrics and gynaecology had the highest proportion of female applicants. The proportion of successful recruits to specialties largely reflected the number of applications. 11/15 minority ethnic groups (excluding ‘not stated’) had significantly lower adjusted ORs for success compared with white-British applicants. ‘Mixed white and black African’ (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.61, p≤0.001) were the least successful minority group in our study, while non-UK graduates had an adjusted ORs for success of 0.43 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.46, p≤0.001) compared with UK graduates. The difference in percentage of success by disabled applicants (179/464, 38.6%) and non-disabled applicants (11 940/36 418, 32.8%) was 5.79% (95% CI 1.23% to 10.4%), in favour of disabled applicants. No disabled applicants were accepted to 21/58 (36.2%) of specialties.
Despite greater success by female applicants overall, there is an attraction issue to specialties by gender. Further, most ethnic minority groups are less successful at application when compared with white-British applicants. This requires continuous monitoring and evaluation of the reasons behind observed differences.
In the UK, the National Cancer Plan (2000) requires every cancer patient’s care to be reviewed by a multidisciplinary team (MDT). Since the introduction of these guidelines, MDTs have faced escalating demands with increasing numbers and complexity of cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented MDTs with the challenge of running MDT meetings virtually rather than face-to-face.
This study aims to explore how the change from face-to-face to virtual MDT meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the effectiveness of decision-making in cancer MDT meetings and to make recommendations to improve future cancer MDT working based on the findings.
A mixed-methods study with three parallel phases:
Semistructured remote qualitative interviews with ≤40 cancer MDT members. A national cross-sectional online survey of cancer MDT members in England, using a validated questionnaire with both multiple-choice and free-text questions. Live observations of ≥6 virtual/hybrid cancer MDT meetings at four NHS Trusts.
Semistructured remote qualitative interviews with ≤40 cancer MDT members.
A national cross-sectional online survey of cancer MDT members in England, using a validated questionnaire with both multiple-choice and free-text questions.
Live observations of ≥6 virtual/hybrid cancer MDT meetings at four NHS Trusts.
Participants will be recruited from Cancer Alliances in England. Data collection tools have been developed in consultation with stakeholders, based on a conceptual framework devised from decision-making models and MDT guidelines. Quantitative data will be summarised descriptively, and 2 tests run to explore associations. Qualitative data will be analysed using applied thematic analysis. Using a convergent design, mixed-methods data will be triangulated guided by the conceptual framework.
The study has been approved by NHS Research Ethics Committee (London—Hampstead) (22/HRA/0177). The results will be shared through peer-reviewed journals and academic conferences. A report summarising key findings will be used to develop a resource pack for MDTs to translate learnings from this study into improved effectiveness of virtual MDT meetings.
The study has been registered on the Open Science Framework (https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/D2NHW).
General practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in the early management and treatment of the comorbidities and complications experienced by people with disability. However, GPs experience multiple constraints, including limited time and disability-related expertise. Knowledge gaps around the health needs of people with disability as well as the frequency and extent of their engagement with GPs mean evidence to inform practice is limited. Using a linked dataset, this project aims to enhance the knowledge of the GP workforce by describing the health needs of people with disability.
This project is a retrospective cohort study using general practice health records from the eastern Melbourne region in Victoria, Australia. The research uses Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN)-owned de-identified primary care data from Outcome Health’s POpulation Level Analysis and Reporting Tool (POLAR). The EMPHN POLAR GP health records have been linked with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) data. Data analysis will involve comparisons across disability groups and the rest of the population to explore utilisation (eg, frequency of visits), clinical and preventative care (eg, cancer screening, blood pressure readings) and health needs (eg, health conditions, medications). Initial analyses will focus on NDIS participants as a whole and NDIS participants whose condition is either an acquired brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, as classified by the NDIS.
Ethics approval was obtained from the Eastern Health Human Research Ethics Committee (E20/001/58261), and approval for the general collection, storage and transfer of data was from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners National Research Ethics and Evaluation Committee (protocol ID: 17-088). Dissemination mechanisms will include the engagement of stakeholders through reference groups and steering committees, as well as the production of research translation resources in parallel with peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.
Discrimination and structural violence experienced by sexual and gender minorities are the source of social inequalities in health. The last decade has been marked by major developments in the provision of sexual health services for these minorities in France. This paper presents the research protocol of the Services for Minorities-Lesbian Gays Bisexuals Transgender Intersex+ (SeSAM-LGBTI+) study, which aims to document the health, social and professional challenges in the organisation of current health services for sexual and gender minorities in France.
The SeSAM-LGBTI+ study relies on a multidisciplinary qualitative study. It has two objectives: (1) to analyse the history of the development of LGBTI+ health services in France, through interviews with key informants and rights activists and through a study of archives and (2) to study the functioning and challenges of a sample of health services currently offered to LGBTI+ people in France, through a multiple case study, using a multilevel and multisited ethnography. The study will rely on approximately 100 interviews. The analysis will be based on an inductive and iterative approach, combining sociohistorical data and the cross-sectional analysis of the case studies.
The study protocol has undergone a peer review by the Institut de Recherche En santé Publique’s scientific committee and has been approved by the research ethical committee of Aix-Marseille University (registration number: 2022-05-12-010). The project has received funding from December 2021 to November 2024. The results of the research will be disseminated from 2023 onwards to researchers, health professionals and community health organisations.
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between surgical site infections (SSIs), a major source of patient harm, and safety and teamwork climate. Prior research has been unclear regarding this relationship.
Based on the Swiss national SSI surveillance and a survey study assessing (a) safety climate and (b) teamwork climate, associations were analysed for three kinds of surgical procedures.
SSI surveillance data from 20 434 surgeries for hip and knee arthroplasty from 41 hospitals, 8321 for colorectal procedures from 28 hospitals and 4346 caesarean sections from 11 hospitals and survey responses from Swiss operating room personnel (N=2769) in 54 acute care hospitals.
The primary endpoint of the study was the 30-day (all types) or 1-year (knee/hip with implants) National Healthcare Safety Network-adjusted SSI rate. Its association with climate level and strength was investigated in regression analyses, accounting for respondents’ professional background, managerial role and hospital size as confounding factors.
Plotting climate levels against infection rates revealed a general trend with SSI rate decreasing as the safety climate increased, but none of the associations were significant (5% level). Linear models for hip and knee arthroplasties showed a negative association between SSI rate and climate perception (p=0.02). For climate strength, there were no consistent patterns, indicating that alignment of perceptions was not associated with lower infection rates. Being in a managerial role and being a physician (vs a nurse) had a positive effect on climate levels regarding SSI in hip and knee arthroplasties, whereas larger hospital size had a negative effect.
This study suggests a possible negative correlation between climate level and SSI rate, while for climate strength, no associations were found. Future research should study safety climate more specifically related to infection prevention measures to establish clearer links.
Patient comfort is an important quality indicator of healthcare. According to Kolcaba’s comfort theory, enhanced comfort is achieved by meeting the needs in four contexts: physical, psychospiritual, sociocultural and environmental. An enhanced patient comfort (EPC) programme based on this theory has been designed for elective neurosurgical patients. This study aims to assess its feasibility, effectiveness and safety.
The EPC programme patients will be evaluated in a single institutional randomised controlled trial. A total of 110 patients admitted for elective neurosurgery (including craniotomy, endoscopic trans-sphenoidal surgery and spine surgery) will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio to two groups. Patients in the EPC group are managed under the newly developed EPC programme, which aims to enhance patient experience and includes care coordination since admission (such as appointment of a care support coordinator, personalised setting, and cultural and spiritual support), preoperative management (such as lifestyle intervention, potential psychological and sleep intervention, and prerehabilitation), intraoperative and anaesthetic management (such as nurse coaching, music playing, and pre-emptive warming), postoperative management (such as early extubation, early diet advancement, mood and sleep management, and early ambulation) and optimised discharge planning; while those in the control group receive conventional perioperative care. The primary outcome is patient satisfaction and comfort measured by the Chinese Surgical Inpatient Satisfaction and Comfort Questionnaire. The secondary outcomes include postoperative morbidity and mortality, postoperative pain score, postoperative nausea and vomiting, functional recovery status (Karnofsky performance status and Quality of Recovery-15 score), mental status (anxiety and depression), nutritional status, health-related quality of life, hospital length of stay, reoperation and readmission rates, overall cost and patient experience.
Ethical approval to conduct the study has been obtained from Institutional Review Board of Xi’an International Medical Center (No. 202028). The results will be presented at scientific meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals.
Chinese clinical trial registry ChiCTR2000039983.
To complement Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 3.b.3 that monitors access to medicines for all, a corresponding child-specific methodology was developed tailored to the health needs of children. This methodology could aid countries in monitoring accessibility to paediatric medicines in a validated manner and on a longitudinal basis. We aimed to provide proof of concept of this adapted methodology by applying the method to historical datasets.
A core set of child-appropriate medicines was selected for two groups of children: children aged 1–59 months and children aged 5–12 years. To enable calculation of affordability of medicines for children, the number of units needed for treatment was created, incorporating the recommended dosage and duration of treatment for the specific age group. The adapted methodology was applied to health facility survey data from Burundi (2013), China (2012) and Haiti (2011) for one age group. SDG indicator 3.b.3 scores and (mean) individual facility scores were calculated per country and sector.
We were able to calculate SDG indicator 3.b.3 based on historical data from Burundi, China and Haiti with the adapted methodology. In this case study, all individual facilities failed to reach the 80% benchmark of accessible medicines, resulting in SDG indicator 3.b.3 scores of 0% for all 3 countries. Mean facility scores ranged from 22.2% in Haiti to 40.3% in Burundi for lowest-price generic medicines. Mean facility scores for originator brands were 0%, 16.5% and 9.9% for Burundi, China and Haiti, respectively. The low scores seemed to stem from the low availability of medicines.
The child-specific methodology was successfully applied to historical data from Burundi, China and Haiti, providing proof of concept of this methodology. The proposed validation steps and sensitivity analyses will help determine its robustness and could lead to further improvements.
To address challenges regarding the delivery of healthcare, governments and health services are focusing on the implementation of models that are flexible, person-centred, cost-effective and integrate hospital services more closely with primary healthcare and social services. Such models increasingly embed consumer codesign, multidisciplinary teams and leverage digital technologies, such as telehealth, attempting to deliver care more seamlessly and to continually improve services. This paper provides a study protocol to describe a method to explore Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander consumer and healthcare provider needs and expectations for the design and development of a new healthcare facility in Australia.
A qualitative study of consumer members’ and health providers’ needs and expectations. Data collection includes a short consumer-specific and provider-specific, demographic questionnaire and culturally appropriate facilitator-coordinated consultation workshops. Data will be analysed thematically (qualitatively).
The results will be actively disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, reports to stakeholders and community meetings. This study was reviewed and approved by a health service-based Ethics Committee in New South Wales, Australia and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Committee.
This study aims to examine trends in neighbourhood availability of community-based home visiting services (CHVS) (ie, coverage by local primary healthcare providers) over time and disparities in service availability according to individual characteristics using nationwide data of oldest-old individuals (age >80) in China.
Repeated, cross-sectional study.
This study derived nationally representative data from the 2005–2018 Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey.
A final analytical sample of 38 032 oldest-old individuals.
Availability of CHVS was defined as having home visiting services in one’s neighbourhood. Cochran-Armitage tests were used to test linear trends in the proportions of oldest-old with service availability. Weighted logistic regression models were used to examine variations in service availability across individual characteristics.
Of 38 032 oldest-old individuals, availability of CHVS decreased from 9.7% in 2005 to 7.8% in 2008/2009, followed by continual increases to 33.7% in 2017/2018. These changes were similar between rural and urban oldest-old. After accounting for individual characteristics, in 2017/2018, compared with their counterparts, urban residents who had white-collar jobs before retirement and those residing in Western and Northeast China were less likely to have service availability. Oldest-old with disabilities, those living alone and those with low incomes did not report having greater availability of CHVS in either 2005 or 2017/2018.
Despite the increasing service availability over the past 13 years, persistent geographical disparities in the availability of CHVS remain. As of 2017/2018, only one in three oldest-old in China reported having service availability, which raises concerns regarding continuity of care across different settings of services for those most in need, especially those living alone or with disabilities. National policies and targeting efforts are necessary to improve the availability of CHVS and reduce inequity in service availability for optimal long-term care to the oldest-old population in China.
Schwartz Rounds are forums that enable healthcare staff to reflect on emotional and social dimensions of their work. In this study, we aimed to explore the experiences of Schwartz Rounds on emotional aspects of care and practice within a clinical environment.
Using qualitative methods, we interviewed participants individually and in focus groups. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by thematic analysis.
The study was based at a public health service Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest, most ethnically diverse population.
Participants were panellists who took part in successive Schwartz Rounds over a 10-month period. There were 17 participants with a range of experience (1–30 years) and occupations including clinical, allied, technical and administrative staff from medical specialties of plastic surgery, pain services, emergency medicine, intensive care, organ donation services, COVID-19 response and palliative care services.
Three themes were identified: the need for emotional processing, valuing guided reflection and realising our humanity. The third theme ‘realising our humanity’ comprised altruism, connection and compassion. Schwartz Rounds provided staff with clear benefits: emotionally resonant experiences within an environment of psychological safety and connection to the wider organisation. The daunting nature of emotional disclosure was mitigated by a supportive audience.
There is an organisational imperative to ensure that staff have opportunities to process intense emotions associated with healthcare work. Schwartz Rounds are one means to attend to the emotional welfare of healthcare staff, enabling them to gain different perspectives in the care of their patients and colleagues within system constraints.
This scoping review aimed to establish the approaches employed to improving patient safety in integrated care for community-dwelling adults with long-term conditions.
All care settings.
Systematic searches of seven academic and grey literature databases for studies published between 2000 and 2021. At the full-text review stage both the first and second reviewer (SW) independently assessed full texts against the eligibility criteria and any discrepancies were discussed.
Overall, 24 studies were included in the review. Two key priorities for safety across care boundaries for adults with long-term conditions were falls and medication safety. Approaches for these priorities were implemented at different levels of an integrated care system. At the micro-level, approaches involved care primarily in the home setting provided by multi-disciplinary teams. At the meso-level, the focus was on planning and designing approaches at the managerial/organisational level to deliver multi-disciplinary care. At the macro-level, system-wide approaches included integrated care records, training and education and the development of care pathways involving multiple organisations. Across the included studies, evaluation of these approaches was undertaken using a wide range of process and outcome measures to capture patient harm and contributory factors associated with falls and medication safety.
For integrated care initiatives to fulfil their promise of improving care for adults with long-term conditions, approaches to improve patient safety need to be instituted across the system, at all levels to support the structural and relational aspects of integrated care as well as specific risk-related safety improvements.
To assess the availability of refractive error correction services (RECS) in selected Zambian hospitals.
Between October 2021 and March 2022, we conducted a cross-sectional study design among 20 eye health service providers selected from 20 public health facilities offering RECS in 20 districts from 8 provinces of Zambia. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select study participants. A questionnaire was developed based on the access to healthcare services framework and distributed via email to respondents to collect their perspectives on the availability of RECS.
All 20 respondents returned the completed questionnaires. Most facilities met the Ministry of Health recommended equipment requirement, though tonometers were lacking in some facilities. Out of the 20 facilities, 75% reported having optometry technologists as the main staff offering eye health services; 10% had an ophthalmologist; no facility had an optometrist; none conducted school-based programmes and only 1 facility (5%) was able to dispense spectacles soon after refraction because it had a spectacle manufacturing workshop.
These findings show limited availability of RECS in the 20 health facilities. They also confirm that challenges in staffing levels, insufficient equipment and low rate of spectacle dispensing negatively affect availability of these services. Furthermore, insufficient infrastructure undermines service delivery. Addressing these challenges is cardinal to improving RECS delivery and enhancing universal eye healthcare coverage in Zambia.
To undertake a synthesis of evidence-based research for seven innovative models of care to inform the development of new hospitals.
Interventions delivered inside and outside of acute care settings.
Children and adults with one or more identified acute or chronic health conditions.
PsycINFO, Ovid MEDLINE and CINAHL.
Clinical indicators and mortality, healthcare utilisation, quality of life, self-management and self-care and patient knowledge.
A total of 66 reviews were included, synthesising evidence from 1272 primary studies across the 7 models of care. Virtual care was the most common model studied, addressed by 47 (73%) of the reviews. Common outcomes evaluated across reviews were clinical indicators and mortality, healthcare utilisation, self-care and self-management, patient knowledge, quality of life and cost-effectiveness. The findings indicate that the innovative models of healthcare we identified in this review may be effective in managing patients with a range of acute and chronic conditions. Most of the included reviews reported evidence of comparable or improved care.
A consideration of local infrastructure and individual patient characteristics, such as health literacy, may be critical in determining the suitability of models of care for patients and their implementation in local health systems.
The lack of definitive means to prevent or treat cognitive impairment or dementia is driving intense efforts to identify causal mechanisms. Recent evidence suggests clinically meaningful declines in cognition might present as early as middle age. Studying cognitive changes in middle adulthood could elucidate modifiable factors affecting later cognitive and health outcomes, yet few cognitive ageing studies include this age group. The purpose of the MidCog study is to begin investigations of less-studied and potentially modifiable midlife determinants of later life cognitive outcomes.
MidCog is a prospective cohort study of adults ages 35–64, with two in-person interviews 2.5 years apart. Data will be collected from interviews, electronic health records and pharmacy fill data. Measurements will include health literacy, self-management skills, cognitive function, lifestyle and health behaviours, healthcare use, health status and chronic disease outcomes. Associations of health literacy and self-management skills with health behaviours and cognitive/health outcomes will be examined in a series of regression models, and moderating effects of modifiable psychosocial factors.
Finally, MidCog data will be linked to an ongoing, parallel cohort study of older adults recruited at ages 55–74 in 2008 (‘LitCog’; ages 70–90 in 2023), to explore associations between age, health literacy, self-management skills, chronic diseases, health status and cognitive function among adults ages 35–90.
The Institutional Review Board at Northwestern University has approved the MidCog study protocol (STU00214736). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and summaries will be provided to the funders of the study as well as patients.