Rural Clinical School - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-24 of 243
Real-World Data on Outcomes in Metastatic Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer Patients Treated With Abiraterone or Enzalutamide: A Regional Experience
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-06-18)
Background: Both abiraterone and enzalutamide have shown to improve overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) regardless of previous treatment with chemotherapy (COU-AA3011, COU-AA3022, AFFIRM3 and PREVAIL4). The data regarding the impact of these treatments in the real world setting is scarce. This study assessed the real world survival and disease outcomes in mCRPC patients in a regional health service in Victoria with the use of abiraterone and enzalutamide. Methods: This retrospective clinical audit included 75 patients with diagnosis of mCRPC treated with either abiraterone or enzalutamide between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2019, at Goulburn Valley Health. Patients were stratified according to the drug received, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status, Gleason score, burden of disease at diagnosis, presence of visceral metastases and use of previous chemotherapy. The primary end point was PSA response (defined as a reduction in the PSA level from baseline by 50% or more). The secondary outcomes were PSA PFS, radiographic PFS, and OS. Results: Thirty-seven patients received enzalutamide, and the other 38 received abiraterone. Only 20% of patients in either group had visceral metastases. 32% of patients receiving enzalutamide had a high burden of disease, compared to 53% receiving abiraterone. 38% of patients in the enzalutamide group and 53% in the abiraterone group had received prior chemotherapy. PSA response rates were higher in the enzalutamide group than abiraterone group (70.3% vs 37.8%). Both PSA and radiographic PFS were longer in the enzalutamide group than abiraterone group; 7 months vs 5 months for both end points. OS was also found to be longer in patients receiving enzalutamide; 30 months compared to only 13 months in patients receiving abiraterone. Conclusion: Both abiraterone and enzalutamide have shown to result in significant PSA response rates, as well as PFS and OS benefit in mCRPC patients in the real world setting. The difference in responses and survival benefit are probably impacted by the unbalanced burden of disease.
Genetic risk for dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue fever in multiple ancestries.
(Elsevier BV, 2020-01)
BACKGROUND: Genetic risk factors for dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS) and dengue fever (DF) are limited, in particular there are sparse data on genetic risk across diverse populations. METHODS: We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a derivation and validation sample of 7, 460 participants of Latin American, South Asian, and South East Asian ancestries. We then developed a weighted polygenic risk score (PRS) for each participant in each of the validation cohorts of the three ancestries to predict the risk of DHF/DSS compared to DF, DHF/DSS compared to controls, and, DF compared to controls. FINDINGS: The risk of DHF/DSS was significantly increased, odds ratio [OR] 1.84 (95%CI 1.47 to 2.31) (195 SNPs), compared to DF, fourth PRS quartile versus first quartile, in the validation cohort. The risk of DHF/DSS compared to controls was increased (OR=3.94; 95% CI 2.84 to 5.45) (278 SNPs), as was the risk of DF compared to controls (OR=1.97; 95%CI 1.63 to 2.39) (251 SNPs). Risk increased in a dose-dependent manner with increase in quartiles of PRS across comparisons. Significant associations persisted for PRS built within ancestries and applied to the same or different ancestries as well as for PRS built for one outcome (DHF/DSS or DF) and applied to the other. INTERPRETATION: There is a strong genetic effect that predisposes to risk of DHF/DSS and DF. The genetic risk for DHF/DSS is higher than that for DF when compared to controls, and this effect persists across multiple ancestries.
Experience of Healthcare Access in Australia during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Changes in health-seeking behaviours and challenges in accessing care have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. This qualitative study examines Australian experiences related to healthcare access during the early months of the pandemic. The study aimed to identify key areas of concern as well as opportunities for services to prevent, manage and treat health concerns when normal access was disrupted. Fifty-nine semi-structured interviews were analysed. Participants were interviewed between August and December in 2020 over telephone or Zoom and were located across Australia. Rapid identification of themes with an audio recordings technique was used to generate themes from the data. Participants described a variety of influences on their health-seeking behaviours, resulting in decisions to delay care or being unable to reach care. Many individuals accessed health services via telehealth and offered a range of perceptions and views on its effectiveness and appropriateness. The findings illustrate that maintenance of health and access to healthcare and psychosocial support were compromised for some individuals, leading to negative impacts on both mental and physical health. This highlights the need to provide mechanisms to facilitate a person's ability to access care in a timely manner during a pandemic.
Home-Based Transabdominal Interferential Electrical Stimulation for Six Months Improves Paediatric Slow Transit Constipation (STC)
BACKGROUND: Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) for one to two months has produced some improvement in treatment-resistant slow-transit constipation (STC) in children. Optimal parameters for treatment are not known. It is possible that more improvement would occur with stimulation for longer. This study examined the effectiveness of stimulation for six months. METHODS: Children with STC confirmed by nuclear transit study (NTS) were enrolled prospectively. All had chronic constipation for greater than two years and had failed medical treatment. TES was performed for one hour/day for six months using the INF 4160 (Fuji Dynamics) portable stimulator and 4 cm × 4 cm electrodes near the belly button and on the back. Families kept bowel diaries and completed PEDSQLCore QOL (4.0) questionnaires before and at end of treatment. RESULTS: Sixty-two children (34 females; seven years, 2-16 year) with STC were studied. Defecation frequency increased in 57/62 (91%, mean ± SEM pre- 1.49 ± 0.20 vs. post- 3.25 ± 0.25 defecation/week, p < 0.0001) with the number with ≥3BA increasing from 6 to 37 (10-59%). Soiling frequency decreased from 4.8 to 1.1 days/week (p <0.001). Abdominal pain decreased from 1.7 to 0.3 days/week (<0.0001), and spontaneous urge to defecate improved. Quality of life (p < 0.01), mean transit index and gastric emptying on NTS improved (p < 0.005). CONCLUSION: Treatment-resistant STC responds to TES using interferential current across the abdomen when given daily for many months. Battery operated stimulators allowed stimulation at home for an hour each day. Stimulation for six months produced clinically significant improvement in defecation frequency, soiling, abdominal pain, urge to defecate, and quality of life in half of these chronic patients.
Undescended testis: What paediatricians need to know
Undescended testis (UDT) occurs when something goes wrong with testicular descent from high in the abdominal cavity to the scrotum. Normal descent occurs in two steps, with the transabdominal phase controlled by a new testicular hormone, insulin-like hormone 3, and the inguinoscrotal phase controlled by androgens. The latter phase requires a complex process of migration from the inguinal abdominal wall to the scrotum and is commonly defective, leading to the high incidence (2-4%) of UDT at birth. The clinical examination of babies and infants aims to confirm the persistence of congenital UDT by 3-6 months, so surgery can be optimally timed at 6-12 months. For those boys who develop acquired UDT later in childhood, the 'ascending' testis often needs surgery between 5 years and 10 years, so all boys should be screened again for UDT at school entry.
Anatomical variations of the renal arterial vasculature: An Australian perspective
INTRODUCTION: Variations of the renal arteries have been studied and published across various population groups, but similar information for the ethnically diverse nation of Australia is lacking. This study describes the pattern of renal artery anomalies in a section of the Australian population based on computed tomography (CT) angiograms of the abdomen and cadaveric dissection. METHODS: The renal arterial vasculature of 594 kidneys from 300 subjects (28 cadavers, 272 CT) was studied. The number and pattern of renal arteries were categorised on the basis of laterality, point of origin and termination in the kidney (superior pole, hilum and inferior pole), symmetry and sex. RESULTS: Multiple renal arteries were discovered in 22% of subjects and 12.12% of kidneys. The most common pattern observed was the presence of one variant renal artery (93.1%), compared to the finding of two (5.6%) and three (1.4%) multiple arteries. The aorta was the most frequent site of origin for anomalous vessels, while the hilum was the predominant point of entry. No significant difference was established between left- and right-sided kidneys (13.8% vs. 12.5%; P = 0.627); however, unilateral distribution was more common than bilateral additional renal arteries (16.7% vs. 3.4%; P < 0.01), and variations among males were more than females (27.2% vs. 15.2%; P < 0.05). A higher rate of multiple renal arteries was noted in cadaveric dissections compared to CT images (46.4% vs. 19.5%; P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: These findings provide application of an evidence-based teaching tool that facilitates education regarding renal arterial variations in Australia.
Quality of referral: What information should be included in a request for diagnostic imaging when a patient is referred to a clinical radiologist?
Referral to a clinical radiologist is the prime means of communication between the referrer and the radiologist. Current Australian and New Zealand government regulations do not prescribe what clinical information should be included in a referral. This work presents a qualitative compilation of clinical radiologist opinion, relevant professional recommendations, governmental regulatory positions and prior work on diagnostic error to synthesise recommendations on what clinical information should be included in a referral. Recommended requirements on what clinical information should be included in a referral to a clinical radiologist are as follows: an unambiguous referral; identity of the patient; identity of the referrer; and sufficient clinical detail to justify performance of the diagnostic imaging examination and to confirm appropriate choice of the examination and modality. Recommended guideline on the content of clinical detail clarifies when the information provided in a referral meets these requirements. High-quality information provided in a referral allows the clinical radiologist to ensure that exposure of patients to medical radiation is justified. It also minimises the incidence of perceptual and interpretational diagnostic error. Recommended requirements and guideline on the clinical detail to be provided in a referral to a clinical radiologist have been formulated for professional debate and adoption.
Efficacy and toxicity of PACEBOM chemotherapy in relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphoma in the rituximab era
AIM: Relapsed/refractory (R/R) aggressive lymphoma outcomes are poor. There is no standard treatment. PACEBOM (prednisolone, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, etoposide, bleomycin, vincristine and methotrexate) has shown efficacy for several lymphoma subtypes in published reports. We evaluate PACEBOM+/-rituximab for R/R aggressive lymphomas in this millennium. METHODS: In this retrospective, single-center study, R/R aggressive lymphoma patients who received PACEBOM or its derivatives were identified from the pharmacy database. Demographic, treatment, toxicity and survival data were collected. RESULTS: A total of 37 eligible patients were identified. Histological subtypes included 20 Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), 10 T-Cell Lymphoma (TCL) and 7 Hodgkin lymphoma. All DLBCL patients had received prior rituximab. Thirty-one (84%) received second-line PACEBOM. Median number of cycles was six (1-6). Eighteen out of 20 B-cell lymphoma patients received R-PACEBOM. Overall response rate was 65%, 70% and 71% in patients with DLBCL, TCL and Hodgkin lymphoma respectively. Thirteen patients underwent autologous stem cell transplant post-PACEBOM. Median follow-up was 49 months (3-201). Most common grade 3-4 toxicities were neutropenia (46%), anemia (24%) and thrombocytopenia (16%). No additional toxicity was seen in patients who received rituximab. CONCLUSION: In this cohort, PACEBOM is active in R/R aggressive lymphoma with manageable toxicity and can be safely combined with rituximab. Outcomes were similar to reports of other salvage regimens. PACEBOM remains a suitable option for R/R aggressive lymphoma, in patients exposed to prior rituximab and those planned for autologous stem cell transplant.
The impact of bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer with an intact primary tumor: Results from a large prospective cohort study
BACKGROUND: Debate continues regarding the benefits versus risks of initial resection of the primary tumor in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients with an asymptomatic primary tumor. Although the benefit of the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agent bevacizumab alongside first-line chemotherapy in mCRC is established, the impact of bevacizumab on the intact primary tumor (IPT) is less well understood. METHODS: Data from an Australian mCRC registry were used to assess the impact of bevacizumab-based regimens in the presence of an IPT, to see if this differs from effects in resected primary tumor (RPT) patients and to understand the safety profile of bevacizumab in patients with IPT. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and safety endpoints were analyzed. RESULTS: Of 1204 mCRC patients, 826 (69%) were eligible for inclusion. Bevacizumab use was similar in both arms (IPT (64%) versus RPT (70%)); compared with chemotherapy alone, bevacizumab use was associated with significantly longer PFS (IPT: 8.5 months vs 4.7 months, P = 0.017; RPT: 10.8 months vs 5.8 months, P < 0.001) and OS (IPT: 20 months vs 14.8 months, P = 0.005; RPT: 24.4 months vs 17.3 months, P = 0.004)).1 Bevacizumab use in an IPT was associated with more GI perforations (4.5% vs 1.8%, P = 0.210) but less frequent bleeding (1.5% vs 5.3%, P = 0.050) and thrombosis (1.5% vs 2.7%, P = 0.470), versus chemotherapy alone. Median survival was equivalent between patients that did or did not experience bevacizumab-related adverse events - 20.0 months versus 19.9 months, hazard ratio = 0.98, P = 0.623.1 CONCLUSIONS: The addition of bevacizumab significantly improved survival outcomes in mCRC with an IPT. The occurrence of bevacizumab-related adverse events did not significantly impact survival outcomes.
Retrograde continence enema in children with spina bifida: Not as effective as first thought
AIM: The aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of Peristeen retrograde continence enema (RCE) in the management of faecal incontinence in children with spina bifida. METHODS: We identified a homogenous group of spina bifida patients in whom RCE was initiated (Jan 2006-July 2013). Confidential assessments included (i) Fecal Incontinence Quality Of Life (FIQOL), (ii) St Marks Faecal Incontinence score, (iii) Cleveland Clinic Constipation score and (iv) Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction score. RESULTS: Of 20 patients, 11 (mean age 14.5 ± 5.3 years) were male. Of 20 patients, nine were still using RCE (mean follow-up 4.1 years). Three patients ceased RCE within 10 days, six after 4-12 months and two after 36-48 months. Reasons for cessation included balloon difficulties (n = 4), procedure deemed too difficult (n = 4) and pain (n = 3). There were no differences between the groups in length of training time for technique, instillate fluid/volume used and time taken to perform RCE. There were no differences between the groups for quality of life, faecal incontinence or constipation scores. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated a high rate of cessation with RCE in patients with spina bifida. This could not be explained by associated conditions, or by enema-related parameters. One possible explanation is the lack of ongoing outpatient support for the children and their families.
A typology of longitudinal integrated clerkships.
CONTEXT: Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) represent a model of the structural redesign of clinical education that is growing in the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa. By contrast with time-limited traditional block rotations, medical students in LICs provide comprehensive care of patients and populations in continuing learning relationships over time and across disciplines and venues. The evidence base for LICs reveals transformational professional and workforce outcomes derived from a number of small institution-specific studies. OBJECTIVES: This study is the first from an international collaborative formed to study the processes and outcomes of LICs across multiple institutions in different countries. It aims to establish a baseline reference typology to inform further research in this field. METHODS: Data on all LIC and LIC-like programmes known to the members of the international Consortium of Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships were collected using a survey tool developed through a Delphi process and subsequently analysed. Data were collected from 54 programmes, 44 medical schools, seven countries and over 15 000 student-years of LIC-like curricula. RESULTS: Wide variation in programme length, student numbers, health care settings and principal supervision was found. Three distinct typological programme clusters were identified and named according to programme length and discipline coverage: Comprehensive LICs; Blended LICs, and LIC-like Amalgamative Clerkships. Two major approaches emerged in terms of the sizes of communities and types of clinical supervision. These referred to programmes based in smaller communities with mainly family physicians or general practitioners as clinical supervisors, and those in more urban settings in which subspecialists were more prevalent. CONCLUSIONS: Three distinct LIC clusters are classified. These provide a foundational reference point for future studies on the processes and outcomes of LICs. The study also exemplifies a collaborative approach to medical education research that focuses on typology rather than on individual programme or context.
A matched comparison study of hepatitis C treatment outcomes in the prison and community setting, and an analysis of the impact of prison release or transfer during therapy
Prisoners are a priority group for hepatitis C (HCV) treatment. Although treatment durations will become shorter using directly acting antivirals (DAAs), nearly half of prison sentences in Scotland are too short to allow completion of DAA therapy prior to release. The purpose of this study was to compare treatment outcomes between prison- and community-based patients and to examine the impact of prison release or transfer during therapy. A national database was used to compare treatment outcomes between prison treatment initiates and a matched community sample. Additional data were collected to investigate the impact of release or transfer on treatment outcomes. Treatment-naïve patients infected with genotype 1/2/3/4 and treated between 2009 and 2012 were eligible for inclusion. 291 prison initiates were matched with 1137 community initiates: SVRs were 61% (95% CI 55%-66%) and 63% (95% CI 60%-66%), respectively. Odds of achieving a SVR were not significantly associated with prisoner status (P=.33). SVRs were 74% (95% CI 65%-81%), 59% (95% CI 42%-75%) and 45% (95% CI 29%-62%) among those not released or transferred, transferred during treatment, or released during treatment, respectively. Odds of achieving a SVR were significantly associated with release (P<.01), but not transfer (P=.18). Prison-based HCV treatment achieves similar outcomes to community-based treatment, with those not released or transferred during treatment doing particularly well. Transfer or release during therapy should be avoided whenever possible, using anticipatory planning and medical holds where appropriate.
Predicting post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis using the 4-h serum lipase level
BACKGROUND: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a complex therapeutic procedure that is complicated by pancreatitis in 3-5% of cases. The aim of this study is to determine whether a 4-h post-ERCP serum lipase level is superior to the serum amylase level in predicting the occurrence of post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP). METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data on 543 consecutive patients undergoing therapeutic ERCP at a single centre. Serum lipase and amylase levels were measured at 4-h post-procedure and were recorded as a factor of the upper limit of normal: amylase factor (AF) and lipase factor (LF). Sensitivity and specificity were compared using receiver-operating characteristics and the Youden index (YI). RESULTS: A total of 506 procedures were considered for analysis. PEP occurred in 19 patients (3.8%). A LF of <10 was useful for the exclusion of PEP with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 94%, YI = 0.94. In contrast, an AF <3 yielded a sensitivity of 79% and specificity of 94%, YI = 0.73. CONCLUSION: Serum lipase measured at 4-h post-ERCP better excludes PEP than serum amylase measured at the same time point. Patients with a LF <10 may be safely considered for same-day discharge.
An evaluation of the additional benefit of population screening for dementia beyond a passive case-finding approach
OBJECTIVE: General practitioners (GPs) fail to identify more than 50% of dementia cases using the existing passive case-finding approach. Using data from the "Ageing in General Practice" study, we sought to establish the additional benefit of screening all patients over the age of 75 for dementia beyond those patients already identified by passive case-finding. METHOD: Patients were classified as "case-finding" (n = 425) or "screening" (n = 1006) based on their answers to four subjective memory related questions or their GP's clinical judgement of their dementia status. Cognitive status of each patient was formally assessed by a research nurse using the Cambridge Cognition Examination (CAMCOG-R). Patients then attended their usual GP for administration of the GP assessment of Cognition (GPCOG) dementia screening instrument, and follow-up care and/or referral as necessary in light of the outcome. RESULTS: The prevalence of dementia was significantly higher in the case-finding group (13.6%) compared to the screening group (4.6%; p < 0.01). The GPCOG had a positive predictive value (PPV) of 61% in the case-finding group and 39% in the screening group; negative predictive value was >95% in both groups. GPs and their patients both found the GPCOG to be an acceptable cognitive assessment tool. The dementia cases missed via case-finding were younger (p = 0.024) and less cognitively impaired (p = 0.020) than those detected. CONCLUSION: There is a very limited benefit of screening for dementia, as most people with dementia could be detected using a case-finding approach, and considerable potential for social and economic harm because of the low PPV associated with screening.
A qualitative study of the barriers and enablers to fertility-awareness education in general practice
AIMS: To understand the barriers and enablers to fertility-awareness education in general practice. BACKGROUND: Most women along with their primary care practitioners - general practitioners and practice nurses - believe that women should be educated about fertility-awareness when first reporting trouble conceiving. To date, no in-depth study has examined the enablers and challenges of this type of education in general practice. DESIGN: A descriptive exploratory qualitative study using deductive content analysis. METHODS: General practitioners (N = 11) and practice nurses (N = 20) were recruited from general practices in three socioculturally diverse areas in Victoria, Australia. Data were collected through semistructured interviews based on the 12 domains of a theoretical behaviour change framework from April-August 2012. The participants' responses were organized into themes that fall under the framework domains. FINDINGS: The biggest barriers to fertility-awareness education in general practice were short consultations and time constraints faced by general practitioners together with a lack of patient educational materials and remuneration to support its delivery. The biggest enablers were a greater use of nurses trained in fertility-awareness in a collaborative team care arrangement with general practitioners. CONCLUSION: This study has identified several important barriers and enablers to fertility-awareness education in general practice. Translation into practice of our findings is imperative as the first step in establishing a primary care model in fertility-awareness. This would fill an important gap in the primary care of infertile women and build capacity in general practice to reduce infertility through women's enhanced fertility knowledge.
Association between lung capacity and abnormal glucose metabolism: findings from China and Australia
OBJECTIVE: Restricted pulmonary function is found among people with diabetes. This study aimed to investigate the dose-response relationship between pulmonary function measurements [forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC)] and risk of metabolic syndrome (MS)/type 2 diabetes. METHODS: A total of 1454 adults in rural Victoria, Australia, and 5824 adults in Nanjing, China, from randomly selected households provided clinical history, oral glucose tolerance test, lipids, anthropometric, blood pressure and spirometric measurements. MS was defined by International Diabetes Federation criteria. Adjusted odds ratios for MS and type 2 diabetes with lung capacity measurements were estimated using logistic regression. Dose-response relationships were explored using the restricted cubic spline models. RESULTS: There was a nonlinear relationship between FEV1 and the risk of type 2 diabetes and MS (both P < 0·0001) in both the Australian and Chinese populations. The FEV1 associated with the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes and MS was above 2·70 l (95%CI: 2·68 to 2·72 l and 2·65 to 2·76 l in Chinese and Australian populations, respectively). The discrimination of the model could be significantly improved using the FEV1 threshold in both the Australian and Chinese populations. CONCLUSIONS: In both the Australian and Chinese populations, the risk of type 2 diabetes and MS is lowest with a FEV1 of 2·65-2·76 l. This might be used in clinical practice in different countries as a prompt to screen for type 2 diabetes and MS in patients with obstructive lung disease and to ensure there was no abnormal glucose metabolism before the commencement of steroids if indicated.
Sporting injuries, seasonal trend and impact on rural Australian hospitals: Implications and recommendations
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of sporting injuries in a regional Australian setting and readiness of the rural health systems to combat the overall impact. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Five years of data between 2008 and 2012 from the Victorian Emergency Minimal Dataset showing sports injuries presenting to Goulburn Valley Base Hospital Emergency Department (ED) were analysed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of overall sporting injuries including different types and location of injury in the body, seasonal variation for emergency presentation, mechanism of injury and hospital admissions. RESULTS: We observed a total of 4537 Emergency presentations and 235 hospitalisations between 2008 and 2012 with sporting injuries. About 78% of injuries presented in the winter sporting months; the rate of injury was higher in the month of 'May' across the most data reviewing years. Also, there was a higher proportion of hospital admissions recorded in winter sporting months. We reported that those who played sports in winter were significantly younger than those in summer (P < 0.05). Sprains and strains due to different sporting activities were the commonest cause of ED presentations, while falls and collisions were the mostly reported mechanism for sporting injuries. CONCLUSION: It might be extrapolated from the data that within a regional setting, there is a need to optimise emergency departments and hospital bed availability with emphasis on orthopaedic involvements during the winter sporting months. Many of these sports injuries are preventable and community risk reduction strategies should be applied to reduce the burden to the regional hospitals.
Prioritising the cultural inclusivity of a rural mainstream health service for First Nation Australians: an analysis of discourse and power
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2018-01-01)
In the context of persisting health inequities within many multicultural and socially diverse countries like Australia, there is a call for health services to implement culturally inclusive systems and practices. Nowhere is this more important than in regional, rural and remote Australia where consumers are diverse, health services are scarce, and services designed for particular groups of the population are lacking. Drawing on interviews with 20 staff of a rurally-based, mainstream community health service, this article examines the role of discourse in the transition to a culturally inclusive health centre. In doing so, the power struggles inherent in such a process are highlighted. The article contends that improvements in the health outcomes of First Nation and culturally Other groups within the Australian population is contingent upon systematic resistances that disrupt and re-arrange existing dominant discourses. This calls for a disruption of current race relations in both broader social fields as well as those supporting biomedical assumptions about the delivery of healthcare in the mainstream health sector. Alternative discourses must be promoted in both these fields.
'It's a cultural thing': excuses used by health service providers on providing inclusive care
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2020-11-17)
Although health services in Australia have an aim to provide inclusive care for their patients/clients, this study highlights how barriers to care can lie at the centre of patient-provider interactions. Racial microaggression is a subtle form of racism that can occur in health settings, leading to further exclusion for First Nations Australians, immigrants and refugees. This paper is guided by Derrida's approach to deconstructionism by unpacking how language is used by health professionals - as holders of organisational power - and how they construct 'truths' or discourses about clients that historically have been marginalised by health services and system. Data comprise 21 interviews with staff from two rural health services. It identified three racial microaggressions were used to justify the challenges of providing care to people from First Nations, immigrant and refugee backgrounds: (1) Participants problematised culture(s) of service users; (2) participants implied cultural superiority in their conceptualisation of 'other' cultures; and (3) participants shared stories of inactions, discomfort and relegating of responsibility. The findings identified these discourses as forms of racial microaggression that can potentially lead to further exclusion of people seeking services and support.
Building readiness for inclusive practice in mainstream health services: A pre-inclusion framework to deconstruct exclusion
(PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2021-11-01)
Across the globe, people are not equitably included or respected by health services. This results in some people being 'hardly reached' and having less access to safe and appropriate care. While some health services have adopted specific agendas to increase inclusion, these services can struggle to implement such strategies because the underlying reasons for exclusion have not been addressed. This calls for preparation prior to implementation of inclusion approaches that deconstructs discourses and practices of exclusion. This paper presents a pre-inclusion framework that seeks to deconstruct exclusion in health services. Authors developed this framework from action research in four 'mainstream' regional health services in southeast Australia over five years. Research identified dominant discourses of exclusion among staff in these services. The study also identified common experiences of residents hardly reached by these services. Following, a range of change activities were undertaken within these services to deconstruct exclusion. Researchers also kept journals, reflected on their impact, and identified lessons learned from trying to deconstruct exclusion. Triangulating these analyses, researchers developed an interdisciplinary framework that weaves together Foucauldian theory on power/discourse with continuous quality improvement processes to embed cultural humility and voices of the hardly reached in health care. The framework outlines five foundational concepts (power as productive, deconstruction, use of continuous quality improvement processes, cultural humility and voices of service users), followed by six principles (a journey, expect resistance, whole of service approach, make visible the reasons for change, we are all cultural beings and people centred care) and six actions undertaken within health services (commitment, assessment of exclusion, action plans, structural change, reflective discussions and engagement). Until such approaches to deconstruct exclusion are implemented, inclusive agendas are likely to be ineffective.
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
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.