Rural Clinical School - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 219
Exercise as a supportive care strategy in men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy at a regional cancer centre: a survey of patients and clinicians.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-14)
PURPOSE: To understand how frequently exercise is discussed and/or prescribed as a supportive care measure and the barriers and facilitators to exercise uptake for men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) at a regional cancer centre. METHODS: An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted at a regional cancer centre in three stages: (1) Retrospective chart review of men with prostate cancer undergoing ADT to identify the frequency of discussion and/or prescription of supportive care measures; (2) prospective patient survey exploring barriers and facilitators to exercise; and (3) prospective clinician survey exploring barriers, facilitators and awareness of exercise guidelines in men with prostate cancer. RESULTS: Files of 100 men receiving ADT (mean age 73 years; mean ADT duration =12 months) in the medical oncology (n = 50) and radiation oncology (n = 50) clinics were reviewed. Exercise was discussed with 16% of patients and prescribed directly to 5%. Patient survey (n = 49). 44.2% of patients reported participating in exercise at a high level. Common barriers to exercise participation included fatigue (51.0%), cancer/treatment-related weakness (46.9%) and joint stiffness (44.9%). 36.7% of patients reported interest in a supervised exercise program. Clinician survey (n = 22). 36.4% identified one or more exercise guidelines, and 40.9% correctly identified national exercise guidelines. Clinicians reported low knowledge of referral pathways to a supervised exercise program (27.3%). Clinicians believe physiotherapists (95.5%) are most suited to exercise prescription and 72.7% stated that exercise counselling should be part of supportive care. Limited time (63.6%) and patient safety (59.1%) were the two most common barriers to discussing exercise with patients. Clinicians reported that only 21.9% of their patients asked about exercise. The most endorsed facilitators to increase exercise uptake were patient handouts (90.9%) and integration of exercise specialists into the clinical team (86.4%). CONCLUSION: Despite a third of patient respondents indicating an interest in a supervised exercise program, only 16% of patients with prostate cancer undergoing ADT at a regional cancer centre engaged in a discussion about exercise with their treating clinicians. Physical limitations and fatigue were the greatest barriers for patients. Clinicians indicated a need for more clinician education and better integration of exercise specialists into clinical care. A tailored, integrated approach is needed to improve the uptake of exercise in men with prostate cancer.
Patients' understanding, management practices, and challenges regarding hypertension: A qualitative study among hypertensive women in a rural Bangladesh
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-07-01)
Background: Hypertension, as one of the main predisposing factors of many non-communicable diseases, is generally underdiagnosed among women with a significant uncontrolled rate. This study explores the understanding, management practice and challenges related to hypertension among hypertensive women in rural Bangladesh. Methods: A qualitative study was conducted among hypertensive rural women at Kumarkhali Upazilla, Kushtia, Bangladesh, using purposive and snowball sampling technique. Data was collected through in-depth interviews among twenty-three hypertensive women until they reached saturation. Data were analyzed thematically. Results: Findings of the study found that a small number of participants perceived the symptoms, risk factors, management and treatment of hypertension based on biomedical understanding. Also, their awareness level and adherence to preventive practices reflected a significant gap between biomedical preventive practices and local practices. A substantial number of participants preferred home management and alternative treatment for hypertension over the medication adherence and hospital treatment. This investigation revealed that poor socio-economic conditions, such as financial insufficiency, and, gender-based negligence impacted women's perception of and practice for hypertension and resulted in risky hypertension management behaviors. Conclusion: Based on the study, formulation of a comprehensive health education program for creating awareness, provisioning of significant interventions services related to hypertensive care are needed. Further intensive research is needed at the community-level to manage this chronic disease.
The Pandemic Is Not Occurring in a Vacuum: The Impact of COVID-19 and Other Disasters on Workforce Mental Health in Australia.
(Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2021-07-23)
OBJECTIVE: Prior to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many Australians experienced extreme bushfires, droughts, and floods. A history of experiencing these events might be a risk factor for increased psychological distress during COVID-19. This study aimed to provide insight into the mental health of Australian workers during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, with an additional focus on whether previous disaster exposure and impact from that disaster is a risk factor for increased psychological distress. METHODS: A snowball recruitment strategy was used. Participants (n = 596) completed an online survey, which included the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21, and questions related to mental health and disaster exposure. RESULTS: Overall, 19.2%, 13.4%, and 16.8% of participants were experiencing moderate to extremely severe depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, respectively. Multiple regression found that higher depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were associated with a pre-existing mental health diagnosis; only higher stress symptoms were associated with having experienced a disaster, with impact, in addition to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: People who have experienced impact from an additional disaster might need additional support to protect their mental health during COVID-19. A focus on the cumulative mental health impacts of multiple disasters and the implications for organizational communities where recovery work is undertaken, such as schools and workplaces, is needed.
Selective digestive decontamination, a seemingly effective regimen with individual benefit or a flawed concept with population harm?
Selective digestive decontamination (SDD) regimens, variously constituted with topical antibiotic prophylaxis (TAP) and protocolized parenteral antibiotic prophylaxis (PPAP), appear highly effective for preventing ICU-acquired infections but only within randomized concurrent control trials (RCCT's). Confusingly, SDD is also a concept which, if true, implies population benefit. The SDD concept can finally be reified in humans using the broad accumulated evidence base, including studies of TAP and PPAP that used non-concurrent controls (NCC), as a natural experiment. However, this test implicates overall population harm with higher event rates associated with SDD use within the ICU context.
Understanding and responding to the cost and health impact of short-term health staffing in remote and rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health services: a mixed methods study protocol
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
INTRODUCTION: Access to high-quality primary healthcare is limited for remote residents in Australia. Increasingly, remote health services are reliant on short-term or 'fly-in, fly-out/drive-in, drive-out' health workforce to deliver primary healthcare. A key strategy to achieving health service access equity, particularly evident in remote Australia, has been the development of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). This study aims to generate new knowledge about (1) the impact of short-term staffing in remote and rural ACCHSs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; (2) the potential mitigating effect of community control; and (3) effective, context-specific evidence-based retention strategies. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This paper describes a 3-year, mixed methods study involving 12 ACCHSs across three states. The methods are situated within an evidence-based programme logic framework for rural and remote primary healthcare services. Quantitative data will be used to describe staffing stability and turnover, with multiple regression analyses to determine associations between independent variables (population size, geographical remoteness, resident staff turnover and socioeconomic status) and dependent variables related to patient care, service cost, quality and effectiveness. Qualitative assessment will include interviews and focus groups with clinical staff, clinic users, regionally-based retrieval staff and representatives of jurisdictional peak bodies for the ACCHS sector, to understand the impact of short-term staff on quality and continuity of patient care, as well as satisfaction and acceptability of services. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has ethics approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Northern Territory Department of Health and Menzies School of Health Research (project number DR03171), Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee (CA-19-3493), Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee (WAAHEC-938) and Far North Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/2019/QCH/56393). Results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, the project steering committee and community/stakeholder engagement activities to be determined by each ACCHS.
Chronic ill health in a regional Victoria setting: A 13-year comparison
OBJECTIVE: High-quality data regarding the prevalence of chronic disease in rural areas are essential in understanding the challenges faced by rural populations and for informing strategies to address health care needs. This study compared the prevalence of a range of self-reported chronic conditions and utilisation of GP services and emergency department in a regional Victorian setting between two studies conducted in the same region in 2001-2003 and 2014. DESIGN: Repeat cross-sectional studies conducted over a decade apart. SETTING: The projects were conducted in the Goulburn Valley in regional Victoria. PARTICIPANTS: The earlier study randomly selected households from local government lists. The later study randomly selected householders from the telephone directory. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants were asked whether they had been diagnosed with a range of chronic health conditions and how often they had visited a general practitioner or emergency department in the past 12 months. RESULTS: The age-standardised prevalence of depression was higher in the 2014 study than the 2001-2003 study in men (increased by 8.0% (95% CI 4.5, 11.5%)) and women (increased by 13.7% (95% CI 8.4, 19.0%)). Similarly, the prevalence of age-standardised diabetes and hypertension was higher in 2014 than 2001-2003 (men increased by 3.6% (95% CI 0.7, 6.5% (diabetes)) and 13.6% (95% CI 8.6, 18.6% (hypertension)), women increased by 3.1% (95% CI 0.3, 6.5% (diabetes)) and 8.4% (95% CI 2.3, 14.5% (hypertension))). CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that the prevalence of self-reported depression, diabetes and hypertension has increased in this regional Victorian area over the past 13 years. The reasons for these observed increases and the subsequent impact on the health care needs of regional communities warrants further investigation.
Delayed diagnosis of anorectal malformations in neonates
BACKGROUND: Anorectal malformations (ARM) are common congenital abnormalities of the terminal hindgut. Ideally, ARM should be diagnosed at, or shortly following, birth by careful physical examination of the perineum. Delayed diagnosis has been implicated as a risk factor for complications, including intestinal perforation. This study aimed to determine the rate of delayed diagnosis and associated intestinal perforation in ARM. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed for all ARM patients managed at The Royal Children's Hospital over a 16-year period (2000-2015). Data collected included ARM type, timing of diagnosis and complications. Delayed diagnosis was defined as being at more than 24 h of age. RESULTS: A total of 243 ARM patients (male 146/243, 60%) were included. The most frequent ARM types were perineal fistula (83/243, 34%) and rectovestibular fistula (40/243, 16%). Diagnosis was delayed beyond 24 h of age in 92 of 243 (38%) patients. The ARM type most commonly delayed in diagnosis was perineal fistula (37/83, 45%). Two patients in whom diagnosis was delayed suffered an intestinal perforation. CONCLUSION: Delayed diagnosis in ARM patients remains a common, and potentially fatal, occurrence. Improved assessment of newborns is required to ensure timely diagnosis of ARM, and avoidance of complications associated with delayed diagnosis.
Recommended pre-analytical plasma glucose sampling methodology may distort gestational diabetes mellitus prevalence: implications for diagnostic thresholds
AIM: Current International Association of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups/World Health Organization gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) diagnostic thresholds are based on a landmark study in which the pre-analytical plasma glucose sampling methodology is unclear. Worldwide, plasma glucose pre-analytical sampling methodology practices are divergent. We considered the effects of pre-analytical plasma glucose sampling methodology on GDM prevalence and gestational outcomes. METHODS: This is a retrospective observational cohort study of 1178 pregnant women undergoing an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Of the 1178 pregnant women, a subset of 892 non-GDM women with singleton births undergoing OGTT between 24 and 28 weeks' gestation were investigated for large for gestation age (LGA) outcomes. OGTT were determined using traditional methods (sodium fluoride tubes batched at roomed temperature). We modelled the potential effects of using a recommended pre-analytical plasma glucose methodology (lyophilized citrate tubes) on GDM prevalence. RESULTS: The GDM prevalence in our cohort was 13.5%. The incidence of LGA showed a linear association with maternal plasma glucose that was similar to the association observed in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome study. Frequency of LGA exceeded 10% at HAPO glucose category 4 (fasting, 4.8 to 4.9 mmol/l; 1-h, 8.7 to 9.5 mmol/l) for fasting and 1-h plasma glucose. The use of a recommended pre-analytical method is projected to increase the prevalence of GDM to 39.2%. CONCLUSION: We challenge the consensus that recommended pre-analytical plasma glucose methodologies are optimal for the accurate diagnosis of GDM. Recommended pre-analytical plasma glucose methods may profoundly over-diagnose GDM. Centres using recommended pre-analytical plasma glucose methodologies may need to reappraise their diagnostic thresholds.
Efficacy of late line pertuzumab with trastuzumab and chemotherapy in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer: An Australian case series
BACKGROUND: Pertuzumab, when combined with trastuzumab and chemotherapy, is a highly active human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), targeting agent in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant and first-line metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer setting. The efficacy of late-line (after first/second-line) pertuzumab in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy is unknown. AIMS: To establish pertuzumab efficacy by performing an audit of patients who received pertuzumab after first-line HER2 directed therapy. We sought to establish whether efficacy differed by clinicopathological factors. METHODS: The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) and the secondary endpoint, overall survival (OS). Clinicopathological factors, PFS and OS data were collated and clinicopathological factors associated with PFS were evaluated using Cox regression models. RESULTS: Fourteen women were identified. Six (43%) had hormone receptor (HR) negative and eight (57%) had HR-positive, metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. Median follow up was 22.8 months, median prior lines of therapy were 5 (range: 1-9). Median time from diagnosis of metastatic disease to receiving pertuzumab was 4.5 years (range: 4.2-5.8). All patients received initial chemotherapy with pertuzumab and trastuzumab (taxane-based 71%). Median PFS was 9 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 7-not estimable [NE]) and median OS was not reached (95% CI, 16 months-NE). Univariable analysis demonstrated that HR-negative patients had a significantly longer PFS than HR-positive patients (hazard ratio = 0.11; 95% CI, 0.01-0.88; P = 0.04). CONCLUSION: This small cases series reports a favorable PFS and OS for pertuzumab with trastuzumab and chemotherapy in the later line metastatic setting. This finding warrants further study.
More than just numbers! Perceptions of remote area nurse staffing in Northern Territory Government health clinics
OBJECTIVE: The need for more Remote Area Nurses in the Northern Territory is clear. This paper investigates the perspectives of Remote Area Nurse workforce issues among multiple stakeholders. The aim is to identify how Remote Area Nurse staffing issues are perceived by clinic managers, Remote Area Nurses themselves, Aboriginal colleagues and community members in seven remote communities in the Northern Territory. DESIGN: This is a qualitative study that uses interviews and focus groups to identify key messages of local stakeholders about Remote Area Nurse workforce issues. A content analysis was used for data analysis. SETTING: Seven diverse remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory with government-run health clinics were visited. PARTICIPANTS: Non-random sampling techniques were used to target staff at the clinics at the time of field work. Staff and community members, who agreed to participate, were interviewed either individually or in groups. Interviews were conducted with 5 Managers, 29 Remote Area Nurses, 12 Aboriginal staff (some clinics did not have Aboriginal staff) and 56 community residents. Twelve focus groups were conducted with community members. RESULTS: Content analysis revealed that participants thought having the "right" nurse was more important than having more nurses. Participants highlighted the need for Remote Area Nurses to have advanced clinical and cultural skills. While managers and, to a lesser extent, Remote Area Nurses prioritised clinical skills, Aboriginal staff and community residents prioritised cultural skills. CONCLUSIONS: Participants identified the importance of clinical and cultural skills and reiterated that getting the "right" Remote Area Nurse was more important than simply recruiting more nurses. Thus, retention strategies need to be more targeted and cultural skills prioritised in recruitment.
Screening for associated anomalies in anorectal malformations: the need for a standardized approach
BACKGROUND: Anorectal malformations (ARM) are common congenital abnormalities of the terminal hindgut. The high incidence of associated anomalies necessitates systematic screening, which should include renal and spinal ultrasonography, spinal radiography and an echocardiogram. This study aimed to determine the incidence of associated anomalies in ARM, and whether screening protocols were appropriately applied. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed of all ARM patients managed at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne over a 16-year period (2000-2015). Data collected included ARM type, presence of associated anomalies, as well as utilization of renal and spinal ultrasonography, spinal radiography and echocardiography. RESULTS: A total of 243 patients (male 146/243, 60%) were reviewed. The most frequent ARM types were perineal fistula (83/243, 34%) and rectovestibular fistula (40/243, 16%). Full screening was performed in 153/243 (63%), while 18/243 (7%) received no screening. In fully screened patients, associated anomalies were diagnosed in 143/153 (93%), with cardiovascular, renal and musculoskeletal anomalies being most frequent. CONCLUSIONS: The high incidence of associated anomalies identified in fully screened ARM patients highlights the importance of systematic screening. Clinically significant anomalies may have been overlooked in the more than one-third of ARM patients in whom screening was absent or incomplete. Standardized screening protocols for ARM patients have now been implemented.
Chemotherapy and biologic use in the routine management of metastatic colorectal cancer in Australia: is clinical practice following the evidence?
BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence on the optimal use of chemotherapy and biologics in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer should impact management in routine care. Recent studies have demonstrated benefits for initial triplet chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, FOLFOXIRI) and for initial treatment with an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor (EGFRi) in patients with a RAS wild-type tumour and a left-sided primary tumour. AIM: To explore evolving pattern of metastatic colorectal cancer care over time in Australia. METHODS: We analysed data from the Treatment of Recurrent and Advanced Colorectal Cancer registry. RESULTS: From July 2009 to December 2017, 2552 metastatic colorectal cancer patients were entered into the Treatment of Recurrent and Advanced Colorectal Cancer registry. Of 1585 patients who initially underwent chemotherapy, treatment was with a doublet in 76%. FOLFOXIRI was given to 22 patients (1.4%), mostly young patients and those with potentially resectable disease. Along with first-line chemotherapy, 61% received bevacizumab, while 3.3% received an EGFRi, predominantly over the last 2 years. Within the KRAS wild-type left-sided tumour cohort, EGFRi use increased from 9% in 2015 to 37% in 2017. Across treatment sites, there was a wide variation in the utilisation of FOLFOXIRI and EGFRi therapy; bevacizumab use was more consistent. A clear impact on survival outcomes from these regimens is not evident, potentially due to multiple confounders. CONCLUSION: Doublet chemotherapy + bevacizumab remains the dominant initial strategy, with limited uptake of triplet chemotherapy and of EGFRi. Potential explanations include uncertainty about the significance of post hoc analyses for EGFRi and concerns regarding adverse events for both strategies.