General Practice - Research Publications

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    The CORE study-An adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve psychosocial recovery for people with severe mental illness: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial
    Palmer, VJ ; Chondros, P ; Furler, J ; Herrman, H ; Pierce, D ; Godbee, K ; Densley, K ; Gunn, JM (WILEY, 2021-08-04)
    BACKGROUND: Mental health policies outline the need for codesign of services and quality improvement in partnership with service users and staff (and sometimes carers), and yet, evidence of systematic implementation and the impacts on healthcare outcomes is limited. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to test whether an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve recovery-orientation of services led to greater psychosocial recovery outcomes for service users. DESIGN: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial was conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Four Mental Health Community Support Services providers, 287 people living with severe mental illnesses, 61 carers and 120 staff were recruited across Victoria, Australia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The 24-item Revised Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS-R) measured individual psychosocial recovery. RESULTS: A total of 841 observations were completed with 287 service users. The intention-to-treat analysis found RAS-R scores to be similar between the intervention (mean = 84.7, SD= 15.6) and control (mean = 86.5, SD= 15.3) phases; the adjusted estimated difference in the mean RAS-R score was -1.70 (95% confidence interval: -3.81 to 0.40; p = .11). DISCUSSION: This first trial of an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention for psychosocial recovery outcomes found no difference between the intervention and control arms. CONCLUSIONS: More attention to the conditions that are required for eight essential mechanisms of change to support codesign processes and implementation is needed. PATIENT AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT: The State consumer (Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council) and carer peak bodies (Tandem representing mental health carers) codeveloped the intervention. The adapted intervention was facilitated by coinvestigators with lived-experiences who were coauthors for the trial and process evaluation protocols, the engagement model and explanatory model of change for the trial.
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    The association between intimate partner violence, alcohol and depression in family practice
    Gilchrist, G ; Hegarty, K ; Chondros, P ; Herrman, H ; Gunn, J (BMC, 2010-09-27)
    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.
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    Community Perspectives of Complex Trauma Assessment for Aboriginal Parents: 'Its Important, butHowThese Discussions Are Held Is Critical'
    Chamberlain, C ; Gee, G ; Gartland, D ; Mensah, FK ; Mares, S ; Clark, Y ; Ralph, N ; Atkinson, C ; Hirvonen, T ; McLachlan, H ; Edwards, T ; Herrman, H ; Brown, SJ ; Nicholson, JM (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-09-15)
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Becoming a parent can be an exciting and also challenging transition, particularly for parents who have experienced significant hurt in their own childhoods, and may be experiencing 'complex trauma.' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) people also experience historical trauma. While the parenting transition is an important time to offer support for parents, it is essential to ensure that the benefits of identifying parents experiencing complex trauma outweigh any risks (e.g., stigmatization). This paper describes views of predominantly Aboriginal stakeholders regarding (1) the relative importance of domains proposed for complex trauma assessment, and (2) how to conduct these sensitive discussions with Aboriginal parents. SETTING AND METHODS: A co-design workshop was held in Alice Springs (Central Australia) as part of an Aboriginal-led community-based participatory action research project. Workshop participants were 57 predominantly Aboriginal stakeholders with expertise in community, clinical, policy and academic settings. Twelve domains of complex trauma-related distress had been identified in existing assessment tools and through community consultation. Using story-telling and strategies to create safety for discussing complex and sensitive issues, and delphi-style methods, stakeholders rated the level of importance of the 12 domains; and discussed why, by whom, where and how experiences of complex trauma should be explored. MAIN FINDINGS: The majority of stakeholders supported the importance of assessing each of the proposed complex trauma domains with Aboriginal parents. However, strong concerns were expressed regarding where, by whom and how this should occur. There was greater emphasis and consistency regarding 'qualities' (e.g., caring), rather than specific 'attributes' (e.g., clinician). Six critical overarching themes emerged: ensuring emotional and cultural safety; establishing relationships and trust; having capacity to respond appropriately and access support; incorporating less direct cultural communication methods (e.g., yarning, dadirri); using strengths-based approaches and offering choices to empower parents; and showing respect, caring and compassion. CONCLUSION: Assessments to identify Aboriginal parents experiencing complex trauma should only be considered when the prerequisites of safety, trusting relationships, respect, compassion, adequate care, and capacity to respond are assured. Offering choices and cultural and strengths-based approaches are also critical. Without this assurance, there are serious concerns that harms may outweigh any benefits for Aboriginal parents.
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    What factors are associated with resilient outcomes in children exposed to social adversity? A systematic review
    Gartland, D ; Riggs, E ; Muyeen, S ; Giallo, R ; Afifi, TO ; MacMillan, H ; Herrman, H ; Bulford, E ; Brown, SJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-06-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Children exposed to social adversity-hardship as a result of social circumstances such as poverty or intergenerational trauma-are at increased risk of poor outcomes across the life course. Understanding what promotes resilient outcomes is essential for the development of evidence informed intervention strategies. We conducted a systematic review to identify how child resilience is measured and what factors are associated with resilient outcomes. DESIGN: Systematic search conducted in CINAHL, MEDLINE and PsychInfo from January 2004 to October 2018 using the keywords 'resilien* and child* in the title or abstract. Eligible studies: (1) described children aged 5-12 years; (2) identified exposure to social adversity; (3) identified resilience; and (4) investigated factors associated with resilience. OUTCOME MEASURES: (1) approaches to identifying resilience and (2) factors associated with resilient outcomes. RESULTS: From 1979 studies retrieved, 30 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were moderate to high quality, with low cultural competency. Social adversity exposures included poverty, parent loss, maltreatment and war. Only two studies used a measure of child resilience; neither was psychometrically validated. Remaining studies classified children as resilient if they showed positive outcomes (eg, mental health or academic achievement) despite adversity. A range of child, family, school and community factors were associated with resilient outcomes, with individual factors most commonly investigated. The best available evidence was for cognitive skills, emotion regulation, relationships with caregivers and academic engagement. CONCLUSIONS: While there is huge variation in the type and severity of adversity that children experience, there is some evidence that specific individual, relational and school factors are associated with resilient outcomes across a range of contexts. Such factors provide an important starting point for effective public health interventions to promote resilience and to prevent or ameliorate the immediate and long-term impacts of social adversity on children.
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    Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future-co-designing perinatal strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma: framework and protocol for a community-based participatory action research study
    Chamberlain, C ; Gee, G ; Brown, SJ ; Atkinson, J ; Herrman, H ; Gartland, D ; Glover, K ; Clark, Y ; Campbell, S ; Mensah, FK ; Atkinson, C ; Brennan, SE ; McLachlan, H ; Hirvonen, T ; Dyall, D ; Ralph, N ; Hokke, S ; Nicholson, J (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-06-01)
    INTRODUCTION: Child maltreatment and other traumatic events can have serious long-term physical, social and emotional effects, including a cluster of distress symptoms recognised as 'complex trauma'. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) people are also affected by legacies of historical trauma and loss. Trauma responses may be triggered during the transition to parenting in the perinatal period. Conversely, becoming a parent offers a unique life-course opportunity for healing and prevention of intergenerational transmission of trauma. This paper outlines a conceptual framework and protocol for an Aboriginal-led, community-based participatory action research (action research) project which aims to co-design safe, acceptable and feasible perinatal awareness, recognition, assessment and support strategies for Aboriginal parents experiencing complex trauma. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This formative research project is being conducted in three Australian jurisdictions (Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria) with key stakeholders from all national jurisdictions. Four action research cycles incorporate mixed methods research activities including evidence reviews, parent and service provider discussion groups, development and psychometric evaluation of a recognition and assessment process and drafting proposals for pilot, implementation and evaluation. Reflection and planning stages of four action research cycles will be undertaken in four key stakeholder workshops aligned with the first four Intervention Mapping steps to prepare programme plans. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics and dissemination protocols are consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council Indigenous Research Excellence criteria of engagement, benefit, transferability and capacity-building. A conceptual framework has been developed to promote the application of core values of safety, trustworthiness, empowerment, collaboration, culture, holism, compassion and reciprocity. These include related principles and accompanying reflective questions to guide research decisions.
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    The maternal health study: Study design update for a prospective cohort of first-time mothers and their firstborn children from birth to age ten
    Brown, SJ ; Gartland, D ; Woolhouse, H ; Giallo, R ; McDonald, E ; Seymour, M ; Conway, L ; FitzPatrick, KM ; Cook, F ; Papadopoullos, S ; MacArthur, C ; Hegarty, K ; Herrman, H ; Nicholson, JM ; Hiscock, H ; Mensah, F (WILEY, 2021-05-06)
    BACKGROUND: Maternal health is critical to the health and well-being of children and families, but is rarely the primary focus of pregnancy and birth cohort studies. Globally, poor maternal health and the exposure of women and children to family violence contribute to the perpetuation and persistence of intergenerational health inequalities. OBJECTIVES: The Maternal Health Study was designed to investigate the contribution of social and obstetric risk factors to common maternal physical and psychological morbidities. Over time, our focus has expanded to include mother-child pairs and investigation of intergenerational trauma and family violence. POPULATION: A total of 1507 first-time mothers were recruited in early pregnancy from six public hospitals in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003-2005. METHODS: Women completed questionnaires or telephone interviews in early pregnancy (≤24 weeks); at 32 weeks' gestation; at three, six, nine, 12 and 18 months postpartum; and at four and ten years. At ten years, women and children were invited to participate in face-to-face interviews, which included direct assessment of children's cognitive and language development. A wide range of obstetric, social and contextual factors have been measured, including exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) (1-year, 4-year and 10-year follow-up). RESULTS: 1507 eligible women were recruited at a mean gestation of 15 weeks. At one year, four years and ten years postpartum, 90.0%, 73.1% and 63.2% of the original cohort took part in follow-up. One in three women in the study (34.5%) reported exposure to IPV in the first ten years of motherhood: 19% in the first 12 months postpartum, 20% in the year prior to four-year follow-up and 18.3% in the year prior to ten-year follow-up. CONCLUSION: The study affords a unique opportunity to examine patterns of maternal and child health and health service use associated with exposure to IPV.
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    The Participatory Zeitgeist: an explanatory theoretical model of change in an era of coproduction and codesign in healthcare improvement
    Palmer, VJ ; Weavell, W ; Callander, R ; Piper, D ; Richard, L ; Maher, L ; Boyd, H ; Herrman, H ; Furler, J ; Gunn, J ; Iedema, R ; Robert, G (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-01)
    Healthcare systems redesign and service improvement approaches are adopting participatory tools, techniques and mindsets. Participatory methods increasingly used in healthcare improvement coalesce around the concept of coproduction, and related practices of cocreation, codesign and coinnovation. These participatory methods have become the new Zeitgeist-the spirit of our times in quality improvement. The rationale for this new spirit of participation relates to voice and engagement (those with lived experience should be engaged in processes of development, redesign and improvements), empowerment (engagement in codesign and coproduction has positive individual and societal benefits) and advancement (quality of life and other health outcomes and experiences of services for everyone involved should improve as a result). This paper introduces Mental Health Experience Co-design (MH ECO), a peer designed and led adapted form of Experience-based Co-design (EBCD) developed in Australia. MH ECO is said to facilitate empowerment, foster trust, develop autonomy, self-determination and choice for people living with mental illnesses and their carers, including staff at mental health services. Little information exists about the underlying mechanisms of change; the entities, processes and structures that underpin MH ECO and similar EBCD studies. To address this, we identified eight possible mechanisms from an assessment of the activities and outcomes of MH ECO and a review of existing published evaluations. The eight mechanisms, recognition, dialogue, cooperation, accountability, mobilisation, enactment, creativity and attainment, are discussed within an 'explanatory theoretical model of change' that details these and ideal relational transitions that might be observed or not with MH ECO or other EBCD studies. We critically appraise the sociocultural and political movement in coproduction and draw on interdisciplinary theories from the humanities-narrative theory, dialogical ethics, cooperative and empowerment theory. The model advances theoretical thinking in coproduction beyond motivations and towards identifying underlying processes and entities that might impact on process and outcome. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: The Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12614000457640 (results).
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    Embedding effective depression care: using theory for primary care organisational and systems change
    Gunn, JM ; Palmer, VJ ; Dowrick, CF ; Herrman, HE ; Griffiths, FE ; Kokanovic, R ; Blashki, GA ; Hegarty, KL ; Johnson, CL ; Potiriadis, M ; May, CR (BMC, 2010-08-06)
    BACKGROUND: Depression and related disorders represent a significant part of general practitioners (GPs) daily work. Implementing the evidence about what works for depression care into routine practice presents a challenge for researchers and service designers. The emerging consensus is that the transfer of efficacious interventions into routine practice is strongly linked to how well the interventions are based upon theory and take into account the contextual factors of the setting into which they are to be transferred. We set out to develop a conceptual framework to guide change and the implementation of best practice depression care in the primary care setting. METHODS: We used a mixed method, observational approach to gather data about routine depression care in a range of primary care settings via: audit of electronic health records; observation of routine clinical care; and structured, facilitated whole of organisation meetings. Audit data were summarised using simple descriptive statistics. Observational data were collected using field notes. Organisational meetings were audio taped and transcribed. All the data sets were grouped, by organisation, and considered as a whole case. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was identified as an analytical theory to guide the conceptual framework development. RESULTS: Five privately owned primary care organisations (general practices) and one community health centre took part over the course of 18 months. We successfully developed a conceptual framework for implementing an effective model of depression care based on the four constructs of NPT: coherence, which proposes that depression work requires the conceptualisation of boundaries of who is depressed and who is not depressed and techniques for dealing with diffuseness; cognitive participation, which proposes that depression work requires engagement with a shared set of techniques that deal with depression as a health problem; collective action, which proposes that agreement is reached about how care is organised; and reflexive monitoring, which proposes that depression work requires agreement about how depression work will be monitored at the patient and practice level. We describe how these constructs can be used to guide the design and implementation of effective depression care in a way that can take account of contextual differences. CONCLUSIONS: Ideas about what is required for an effective model and system of depression care in primary care need to be accompanied by theoretically informed frameworks that consider how these can be implemented. The conceptual framework we have presented can be used to guide organisational and system change to develop common language around each construct between policy makers, service users, professionals, and researchers. This shared understanding across groups is fundamental to the effective implementation of change in primary care for depression.
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    Diverse voices, simple desires: a conceptual design for primary care to respond to depression and related disorders
    Palmer, V ; Gunn, J ; Kokanovic, R ; Griffiths, F ; Shrimpton, B ; Hurworth, R ; Herrman, H ; Johnson, C ; Hegarty, K ; Blashki, G ; Butler, E ; Johnston-Ata'ata, K ; Dowrick, C (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2010-08-01)
    BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization and the World Organization of Family Doctors have called for 'doable' and 'limited' tasks to integrate mental health into primary care. Little information is provided about tasks GPs can undertake outside of guidelines that suggest to prescribe medication and refer to specialists. OBJECTIVES: The reorder study aimed to gather diverse patient and community perspectives to inform the development of an effective system of depression care. METHOD: Five hundred and seventy-six patients completed computer-assisted telephone interviews. Two hundred and seventy-six community stakeholders completed a modified two round Delphi. Responses were analysed to identify tasks and these were synthesised into a conceptual design. RESULTS: Fifteen core tasks were identified, 5 were agreed upon and a further 10 identified by each group but not agreed upon. Listen, understand and empathize, provide thorough and competent diagnosis and management, follow-up and monitor patients, be accessible and do not rush appointments and provide holistic approach and tailor care to individual needs were agreed on. Other tasks included: develop plans with patients, assess for severity and suicide risk, account for social factors, be well trained in depression care and offer a range of treatment options, appropriate and timely referral, support and reassurance, educate patients about depression, prescribe appropriately and manage medication and be positive and encouraging. CONCLUSIONS: The tasks form the basis of a conceptual design for developing a primary care response to depression. They fit within three domains of care: the relational, competency and systems domains. This illustrates tasks for GPs beyond prescription and referral.
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    A trajectory-based approach to understand the factors associated with persistent depressive symptoms in primary care
    Gunn, J ; Elliott, P ; Densley, K ; Middleton, A ; Ambresin, G ; Dowrick, C ; Herrman, H ; Hegarty, K ; Gilchrist, G ; Griffiths, F (ELSEVIER, 2013-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Depression screening in primary care yields high numbers. Knowledge of how depressive symptoms change over time is limited, making decisions about type, intensity, frequency and length of treatment and follow-up difficult. This study is aimed to identify depressive symptom trajectories and associated socio-demographic, co-morbidity, health service use and treatment factors to inform clinical care. METHODS: 789 people scoring 16 or more on the CES-D recruited from 30 randomly selected Australian family practices. Depressive symptoms are measured using PHQ-9 at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. RESULTS: Growth mixture modelling identified a five-class trajectory model as the best fitting (lowest Bayesian Information Criterion): three groups were static (mild (n=532), moderate (n=138) and severe (n=69)) and two were dynamic (decreasing severity (n=32) and increasing severity (n=18)). The mild symptom trajectory was the most common (n=532). The severe symptom trajectory group (n=69) differed significantly from the mild symptom trajectory group on most variables. The severe and moderate groups were characterised by high levels of disadvantage, abuse, morbidity and disability. Decreasing and increasing severity trajectory classes were similar on most variables. LIMITATIONS: Adult only cohort, self-report measures. CONCLUSIONS: Most symptom trajectories remained static, suggesting that depression, as it presents in primary care, is not always an episodic disorder. The findings indicate future directions for building prognostic models to distinguish those who are likely to have a mild course from those who are likely to follow more severe trajectories. Determining appropriate clinical responses based upon a likely depression course requires further research.