General Practice - Research Publications

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    St John's wort use in Australian general practice patients with depressive symptoms: their characteristics and use of other health services
    Pirotta, M ; Densley, K ; Forsdike, K ; Carter, M ; Gunn, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-06-26)
    BACKGROUND: While depression is frequently managed by general practitioners, often patients self-manage these symptoms with alternative therapies, including St John's wort (SJW). We tested whether use of SJW was associated with different patterns of conventional and complementary health service use, strategies used for management of depression, or user dissatisfaction with or lack of trust in their general practitioner or clinic overall. METHODS: Secondary analysis of data collected from an Australian population screened for a longitudinal cohort study of depression. Main outcome measures were CES-D for depressive symptoms, satisfaction with their general practitioner (GPAQ), Trust in Physician scale, self-report of health services usage and strategies used to manage depression, stress or worries. RESULTS: Response rate was 7667/17,780 (43.1%). Of these, 4.3% (320/7,432) had used SJW in the past 12 months (recent 'SJW users'). SJW users were significantly more likely to be depressed and to have a higher CES-D score. There were no statistically significant differences between recent SJW users and non-SJW users in satisfaction with their general practice or in trust in their general practitioner (GP) when adjusted for multiple factors. SJW users were significantly more likely to use all health services, whether conventional or complementary, as well as other strategies used for mental health care. SJW users were also more likely to consider themselves the main carer for their depression. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care attendees with symptoms of depression who use SJW appear not to be rejecting conventional medicine. Rather, they may be proactive care seekers who try both conventional and complementary strategies to manage their depressive symptoms. If GPs enquire and find that their depressed patients are using SJW, this may indicate that they might explore for unrelieved symptoms of depression and also consider the issue of potential for interactions between SJW and other medicines.
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    Who consults chiropractors in Victoria, Australia?: Reasons for attending, general health and lifestyle habits of chiropractic patients
    Charity, MJ ; Britt, HC ; Walker, BF ; Gunn, JM ; Forsdike-Young, K ; Polus, BI ; French, SD (BMC, 2016-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: COAST (Chiropractic Observational and Analysis STudy) reported the clinical practices of chiropractors. The aims of this study were to: 1) describe the chiropractic patient demographic and health characteristics; 2) describe patient-stated reasons for visiting a chiropractor; 3) describe chiropractic patient lifestyle characteristics; 4) compare, where possible, chiropractic patient characteristics to the general Australian population. METHODS: Fifty-two chiropractors in Victoria, Australia, provided information for up to 100 consecutive encounters. If patients attended more than once during the 100 encounters, only data from their first encounter were included in this study. Where possible patient characteristics were compared with the general Australian population. RESULTS: Data were collected from December 2010 to September 2012. Data were provided for 4464 encounters, representing 3287 unique individuals. The majority of chiropractic encounters were for musculoskeletal conditions or for wellness/maintenance. The majority of patient comorbidities were musculoskeletal, circulatory or endocrine/metabolic in nature. Eight hundred chiropractic patients (57 %, 95 % CI: 53-61) described their self-reported health as excellent or very good and 138 patients (10 %, 95 % CI: 8-12) as fair or poor. Seventy-one percent of adult male patients (18 years and older), and 53 % of adult female patients, were overweight or obese. Fourteen percent (n = 188, 95 % CI: 12-16) were current smokers and 27 % (n = 359, 95 % CI: 24-31) did not meet Australian alcohol consumption guidelines. Less than half of the chiropractic patients participated in vigorous exercise at least twice per week. Approximately 20 % ate one serving of vegetables or less each day, and approximately 50 % ate one serve of fruit or less each day. Compared to the general Australian population, chiropractic patients were less likely to smoke, less likely to be obese and more likely to describe their health in positive terms. However, many patients were less likely to meet alcohol consumption guidelines, drinking more than is recommended. CONCLUSIONS: In general, chiropractic patients had more positive health and lifestyle characteristics than the Australian population. However, there were a significant proportion of chiropractic patients who did not meet guideline recommendations about lifestyle habits and there is an opportunity for chiropractors to reinforce public health messages with their patients.
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    Interventions in Health Settings for Male Perpetrators or Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
    Tarzia, L ; Forsdike, K ; Feder, G ; Hegarty, K (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2020-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is common in patients attending health-care services and is associated with a range of health problems. The majority of IPV perpetrators are men, and a substantial minority of men are victims, yet health-care professionals have little evidence or guidance on how to respond to male patients who perpetrate or experience violence in their intimate relationships. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review to determine the effectiveness of interventions for male perpetrators or victims of IPV in health settings. Online databases, reference lists, Google Scholar, and gray literature were searched, and inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied. Narrative synthesis methods were used due to the heterogeneity of study types and outcome measures. RESULTS: Fourteen studies describing 10 interventions met our inclusion criteria: nine randomized controlled trials, four cohort studies, and one case-control study. Interventions were predominantly therapeutic in nature and many were conducted in alcohol treatment settings. CONCLUSION: Overall, the evidence for effectiveness of interventions in health-care settings was weak, although IPV interventions conducted concurrently with alcohol treatment show some promise. More work is urgently needed in health-care services to determine what interventions might be effective, and in what settings, to improve the response to male perpetrators or victims of IPV.
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    Women’s Experiences Receiving Support Online for Intimate Partner Violence: How Does it Compare to Face-to-Face Support from a Health Professional?
    Tarzia, L ; Cornelio, R ; Forsdike, K ; Hegarty, K (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018)
    There is a growing need for novel approaches in supporting victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), particularly as the demand placed on formal services increases. Online interventions in this space have shown a great deal of theoretical promise. However, currently little is known about how women perceive this form of support, and how their experiences of receiving support online might differ from face-to-face approaches. This study aims to address this gap through qualitative interviews with n = 16 women who had experienced IPV. Eight of the women had received support via an interactive online intervention, and eight had received a counselling intervention delivered by their general practitioner (GP) (family doctor). The findings suggest that many elements of face-to-face support can also be delivered effectively online, leading to greater control over the help-seeking process. On the other hand, a trusting relationship with the GP can also be extremely helpful to women seeking to disclose, and is difficult to replicate online. Which method of delivery is preferred may depend on whether a woman values trust or control in her help-seeking journey. Both online and face-to-face interventions for IPV should focus on providing individualized support that raises awareness, lessens isolation and considers women’s own unique needs and circumstances.
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    Extending ICPC-2 PLUS terminology to develop a classification system specific for the study of chiropractic encounters
    Charity, M ; French, S ; Forsdike, K ; Britt, H ; Polus, B ; Gunn, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-01-14)
    BACKGROUND: Typically a large amount of information is collected during healthcare research and this information needs to be organised in a way that will make it manageable and to facilitate clear reporting. The Chiropractic Observation and Analysis STudy (COAST) was a cross sectional observational study that described the clinical practices of chiropractors in Victoria, Australia. To code chiropractic encounters COAST used the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2) with the PLUS general practice clinical terminology to code chiropractic encounters. This paper describes the process by which a chiropractic-profession specific terminology was developed for use in research by expanding the current ICPC-2 PLUS system. METHODS: The coder referred to the ICPC-2 PLUS system when coding chiropractor recorded encounter details (reasons for encounter, diagnoses/problems and processes of care). The coder used rules and conventions supplied by the Family Medicine Research Unit at the University of Sydney, the developers of the PLUS system. New chiropractic specific terms and codes were created when a relevant term was not available in ICPC-2 PLUS. RESULTS: Information was collected from 52 chiropractors who documented 4,464 chiropractor-patient encounters. During the study, 6,225 reasons for encounter and 6,491 diagnoses/problems were documented, coded and analysed; 169 new chiropractic specific terms were added to the ICPC-2 PLUS terminology list. Most new terms were allocated to diagnoses/problems, with reasons for encounter generally well covered in the original ICPC 2 PLUS terminology: 3,074 of the 6,491 (47%) diagnoses/problems and 274 of the 6,225 (4%) reasons for encounter recorded during encounters were coded to a new term. Twenty nine new terms (17%) represented chiropractic processes of care. CONCLUSION: While existing ICPC-2 PLUS terminology could not fully represent chiropractic practice, adding terms specific to chiropractic enabled coding of a large number of chiropractic encounters at the desired level. Further, the new system attempted to record the diversity among chiropractic encounters while enabling generalisation for reporting where required. COAST is ongoing, and as such, any further encounters received from chiropractors will enable addition and refinement of ICPC-2 PLUS (Chiro). More research is needed into the diagnosis/problem descriptions used by chiropractors.
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    'Less like a drug than a drug': The use of St John's wort among people who self-identify as having depression and/or anxiety symptoms
    Pirotta, M ; Willis, K ; Carter, M ; Forsdike, K ; Newton, D ; Gunn, J (CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE, 2014-10-01)
    OBJECTIVE: St John's wort (SJW) is one of the most commonly used complementary medicines (CM) for the self-treatment of depression which can be accessed with or without health professional advice. While there is evidence to support its effectiveness in depression it has potential for serious side effects and interactions with many pharmaceuticals and herbs. Despite the potential risks, we know little about consumer perspectives on the use of SJW. Our research aimed to understand, from their own perspective, how and why people use SJW for management of self-identified 'depression, stress or worries'. DESIGN: A qualitative design, focusing on understanding the reasons for SJW use. A purposive sampling strategy was used to recruit 41 people who self-identified as having used SJW for 'depression stress or worries' from the community in Melbourne, Australia. In-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted. Interviews were taped, transcribed and analysed thematically. RESULTS: Three themes emerged as to why participants used SJW - ease of access of SJW, perceptions of effectiveness and safety of SJW enabling control over its use, and the perceived benefits of using a natural product. Generally, participants did not reserve use of SJW only for mild depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: People use many self-care strategies to manage symptoms of depression, including more severe symptoms. While there is often a preference for more natural approaches like SJW, people experiment and continue to use what they perceive is most effective for them.