Rural Clinical School - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 240
"There's no place like home" a pilot study of perspectives of international health and social care professionals working in the UK.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2005-10-27)
BACKGROUND: Many countries are reporting health workforce shortages across a range of professions at a time of relatively high workforce mobility. Utilising the global market to supply shortage health skills is now a common recruitment strategy in many developed countries. At the same time a number of countries report a 'brain drain' resulting from professional people leaving home to work overseas. Many health and social care professionals make their way to the UK from other countries. This pilot study utilises a novel 'e-survey' approach to explore the motives, experiences and perspectives of non-UK health and social care professionals who were working or had worked in the UK. The study aims to understand the contributions of international health and social care workers to the UK and their 'home' countries. The purpose of the pilot study is also in part to test the appropriateness of this methodology for undertaking a wider study. RESULTS: A 24-item questionnaire with open-ended and multiple choice questions was circulated via email to 10 contacts who were from a country outside the UK, had trained outside the UK and had email access. These contacts were requested to forward the email to other contacts who met these criteria (and so on). The email was circulated over a one month pilot period to 34 contacts. Responses were from physiotherapists (n = 11), speech therapists (n = 4), social workers (n = 10), an occupational therapist (n = 1), podiatrists (n = 5), and others (n = 3). Participants were from Australia (n = 20), South Africa (n = 10), New Zealand (n = 3) and the Republic of Ireland (n = 1). Motives for relocating to the UK included travel, money and career opportunities. Participants identified a number of advantages and disadvantages of working in the UK compared to working in their home country health system. Respondents generally reported that by working in the UK, they had accumulated skills and knowledge that would allow them to contribute more to their profession and health system on their return home. CONCLUSION: This pilot study highlights a range of issues and future research questions for international learning and comparison for the health and social care professions as a result of international workforce mobility. The study also highlights the usefulness of an e-survey technique for capturing information from a geographically diverse and mobile group of professionals.
'I think we're getting a bit clinical here': A qualitative study of professionals' experiences of providing mental healthcare to young people within an Australian rural service
This paper contributes to scholarship on the medicalisation of mental health support for young people through a case study of a multidisciplinary mental health service in rural Australia. All staff (n = 13) working at the service participated in semi-structured, individual interviews. Transcripts of interview data were read and selectively coded and interpreted in relation to the overarching question of how participants view and experience mental health care provision to a diverse range of young people. Following analytical reflection, codes pertaining to engagement, accessibility and care provision were re-examined using the concept of medicalisation to understand the biomedical underpinning of mental healthcare and how this plays out in the experiences and perceived challenges participants talked about in responding to the mental health concerns of diverse young people. The resulting analysis is presented under five theme headings: (a) privileging clinical expertise and priorities within service provision, which was an important source of conflict for some participants; (b) 'multidisciplinary' teams-a 'difficult kind of culture at times'; (c) articulations of where cultural barriers lie; (d) the tracks along which young people are directed to 'engage' with 'mental health'; and (e) a clinical 'feel' to space. We suggest that service and system investment needs to be given to alternative ways of thinking about and approaching mental health and care provision that are cognisant of, and engage with, the inherent connections between individual circumstance and social, place, cultural, economic and political contexts. This is particularly relevant to the provision of care in rural contexts because of limited service options and the complexities of access and providing care to a diverse range of young people living in isolated environments. Interdisciplinary frameworks need to be enacted and services must acknowledge their own cultural positions for alternative ways of working to become possibilities.
'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.
A central review of histopathology reports after breast cancer neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the neo-tango trial
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-03-05)
BACKGROUND: Neo-tAnGo, a National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) multicentre randomised neoadjuvant chemotherapy trial in early breast cancer, enroled 831 patients in the United Kingdom. We report a central review of post-chemotherapy histopathology reports on the surgical specimens, to assess the presence and degree of response. METHODS: A central independent two-reader review (EP and HME) of histopathology reports from post-treatment surgical specimens was performed. The quality and completeness of pathology reporting across all centres was assessed. The reviews included pathological response to chemotherapy (pathological complete response (pCR); minimal residual disease (MRD); and lesser degrees of response), laterality, the number of axillary metastases and axillary nodes, and the type of surgery. A consensus was reached after discussion. RESULTS: In all, 825 surgical reports from 816 patients were available for review. Out of 4125 data items there were 347 discrepant results (8.4% of classifications), which involved 281 patients. These involved grading of breast response (169 but only 9 involving pCR vs MRD); laterality (6); presence of axillary metastasis (35); lymph node counts (108); and type of axillary surgery (29). Excluding cases with pCR, only 45% of reports included any comment regarding response in the breast and 30% in the axillary lymph nodes. CONCLUSION: We found considerable variability in the completeness of reporting of surgical specimens within this national neoadjuvant breast cancer trial. This highlights the need for consensus guidelines among trial groups on histopathology reporting, and the participation of histopathologists throughout the development and analysis of neoadjuvant trials.
A longitudinal evaluation of the center for epidemiologic studies-depression scale (CES-D) in a rheumatoid arthritis population using Rasch analysis
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to test the internal validity of the total Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale using Rasch analysis in a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) population. METHODS: CES-D was administered to 157 patients with RA over three time points within a 12 month period. Rasch analysis was applied using RUMM2020 software to assess the overall fit of the model, the response scale used, individual item fit, differential item functioning (DIF) and person separation. RESULTS: Pooled data across three time points was shown to fit the Rasch model with removal of seven items from the original 20-item CES-D scale. It was necessary to rescore the response format from four to three categories in order to improve the scale's fit. Two items demonstrated some DIF for age and gender but were retained within the 13-item CES-D scale. A new cut point for depression score of 9 was found to correspond to the original cut point score of 16 in the full CES-D scale. CONCLUSION: This Rasch analysis of the CES-D in a longstanding RA cohort resulted in the construction of a modified 13-item scale with good internal validity. Further validation of the modified scale is recommended particularly in relation to the new cut point for depression.
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.
A modified Continuous Quality Improvement approach to improve culturally and socially inclusive care within rural health services
BACKGROUND: The sickest Australians are often those belonging to non-privileged groups, including Indigenous Australians, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, intersex and queer people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and people with disabilities and low English literacy. These consumers are not always engaged by, or included within, mainstream health services, particularly in rural Australia where health services are limited in number and tend to be generalist in nature. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to present a new approach for improving the sociocultural inclusivity of mainstream, generalist, rural, health care organisations. DESIGN: This approach combines a modified Continuous Quality Improvement framework with Participatory Action Research principles and Foucault's concepts of power, discourse and resistance to develop a change process that deconstructs the power relations that currently exclude marginalised rural health consumers from mainstream health services. It sets up processes for continuous learning and consumer responsiveness. RESULTS: The approach proposed could provide a Continuous Quality Improvement process for creating more inclusive mainstream health institutions and fostering better engagement with many marginalised groups in rural communities to improve their access to health care. CONCLUSION: The approach to improving cultural inclusion in mainstream rural health services presented in this article builds on existing initiatives. This approach focuses on engaging on-the-ground staff in the need for change and preparing the service for genuine community consultation and responsive change. It is currently being trialled and evaluated.
A qualitative evaluation of the implementation of a cultural competence project in rural Victoria
OBJECTIVE: To explore the complex factors influencing the implementation of cultural competency frameworks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within rural, Victorian, mainstream health and community service organisations. METHODS: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with key individuals from 20 public health and community services in rural Victoria who had participated in the Koolin Balit Aboriginal Health Cultural Competence Project (KB-AHCC project). Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and a content analysis was undertaken. The findings informed the selection of six case study sites for more in-depth analysis. Following this, an expert reference group provided feedback on the findings. Findings from the different data were triangulated to identify eight factors. RESULTS: Key factors acting as barriers and/or enablers to implementing cultural competence frameworks were: comprehensive, structured tools; project workers; communication; organisational responsibility for implementation; prioritising organisational cultural competence resourcing; resistance to focussing on one group of people; and accountability. CONCLUSIONS: Embedding cultural competence frameworks within rural, mainstream health and community services requires sustained government resourcing, prioritisation and formal accountability structures. Implications for public health: Findings will inform and guide the future development, implementation and evaluation of organisational cultural competence projects for rural public health and community services.
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.
A Role for MAIT Cells in Colorectal Cancer
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-05-20)
MAIT cells are MR1-restricted T cells that are well-known for their anti-microbial properties, but they have recently been associated with different forms of cancer. Several studies have reported activated MAIT cells within the microenvironment of colorectal tumors, but there is conjecture about the nature of their response and whether they are contributing to anti-tumor immunity, or to the progression of the disease. We have reviewed the current state of knowledge about the role of MAIT cells in colorectal cancer, including their likely influence when activated and potential sources of stimulation in the tumor microenvironment. The prospects for MAIT cells being used in clinical settings as biomarkers or as targets of new immunotherapies designed to harness their function are discussed.
A routine third trimester growth ultrasound in the obese pregnant woman does not reliably identify fetal growth abnormalities: A retrospective cohort study
BACKGROUND: In response to the challenges of assessing fetal growth in obese women, guidelines recommend routine third trimester ultrasound scans. AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic performance of this routine scan in obese women (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 35 kg/m2 ). METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of 1008 pregnancies with maternal BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 born after 37 weeks gestation at a Victorian hospital from 2015 to 2017. Multiple pregnancies and those affected by diabetes were excluded. Growth ultrasounds were performed between 34 + 0 and 36 + 6 weeks gestation. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the detection of large for gestational age (LGA > 90%) and small for gestational age (SGA < 10%) were calculated using ultrasound estimated fetal weight (EFW) or abdominal circumference (AC) and compared with gestational age and gender-based birthweight percentiles. RESULTS: Using EFW, sensitivity for detecting SGA at birth was 8.1% (six of 74) with a PPV of 100%. Sensitivity for detecting LGA at birth was 61.0% (119 of 195), PPV 54.8%. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV percentages were all lower using AC. Only 40% of actual birthweight percentiles (405/1008) were within ±10 percentiles of their growth ultrasound EFW percentile. CONCLUSION: The performance of a routine third trimester ultrasound in women with BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 suggests limited utility in helping identify aberrant fetal growth. This has important implications for the management of obese pregnant women.