General Practice - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 637
Cluster randomized controlled trial of a peer support program for people with diabetes: study protocol for the Australasian peers for progress study
BACKGROUND: Well managed diabetes requires active self-management in order to ensure optimal glycaemic control and appropriate use of available clinical services and other supports. Peer supporters can assist people with their daily diabetes self-management activities, provide emotional and social support, assist and encourage clinical care and be available when needed. METHODS: A national database of Australians diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is being used to invite people in pre-determined locations to participate in community-based peer support groups. Peer supporters are self-identified from these communities. All consenting participants receive diabetes self-management education and education manual prior to randomization by community to a peer support intervention or usual care. This multi-faceted intervention comprises four interconnected components for delivering support to the participants. (1) Trained supporters lead 12 monthly group meetings. Participants are assisted to set goals to improve diabetes self-management, discuss with and encourage each other to strengthen linkages with local clinical services (including allied health services) as well as provide social and emotional support. (2) Support through regular supporter-participant or participant-participant contact, between monthly sessions, is also promoted in order to maintain motivation and encourage self-improvement and confidence in diabetes self-management. (3) Participants receive a workbook containing diabetes information, resources and community support services, key diabetes management behaviors and monthly goal setting activity sheets. (4) Finally, a password protected website contains further resources for the participants. Supporters are mentored and assisted throughout the intervention by other supporters and the research team through attendance at a weekly teleconference. Data, including a self-administered lifestyle survey, anthropometric and biomedical measures are collected on all participants at baseline, 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome is change in cardiovascular disease risk using the UKPDS risk equation. Secondary outcomes include biomedical, quality of life, psychosocial functioning, and other lifestyle measures. An economic evaluation will determine whether the program is cost effective. DISCUSSION: This manuscript presents the protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial of group-based peer support for people with type 2 diabetes in a community setting. Results from this trial will contribute evidence about the effectiveness of peer support in achieving effective self-management of diabetes. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR); ACTRN12609000469213.
Primary care and youth mental health in Ireland: qualitative study in deprived urban areas
BACKGROUND: Mental disorders account for six of the 20 leading causes of disability worldwide with a very high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity in youth aged 15-24 years. However, healthcare professionals are faced with many challenges in the identification and treatment of mental and substance use disorders in young people (e.g. young people's unwillingness to seek help from healthcare professionals, lack of training, limited resources etc.) The challenge of youth mental health for primary care is especially evident in urban deprived areas, where rates of and risk factors for mental health problems are especially common. There is an emerging consensus that primary care is well placed to address mental and substance use disorders in young people especially in deprived urban areas. This study aims to describe healthcare professionals' experience and attitudes towards screening and early intervention for mental and substance use disorders among young people (16-25 years) in primary care in deprived urban settings in Ireland. METHODS: The chosen method for this qualitative study was inductive thematic analysis which involved semi-structured interviews with 37 healthcare professionals from primary care, secondary care and community agencies at two deprived urban centres. RESULTS: We identified three themes in respect of interventions to increase screening and treatment: (1) Identification is optimised by a range of strategies, including raising awareness, training, more systematic and formalised assessment, and youth-friendly practices (e.g. communication skills, ensuring confidentiality); (2) Treatment is enhanced by closer inter-agency collaboration and training for all healthcare professionals working in primary care; (3) Ongoing engagement is enhanced by motivational work with young people, setting achievable treatment goals, supporting transition between child and adult mental health services and recognising primary care's longitudinal nature as a key asset in promoting treatment engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Especially in deprived areas, primary care is central to early intervention for youth mental health. Identification, treatment and continuing engagement are likely to be enhanced by a range of strategies with young people, healthcare professionals and systems. Further research on youth mental health and primary care, including qualitative accounts of young people's experience and developing complex interventions that promote early intervention are priorities.
Evaluation of a Theory-Informed Implementation Intervention for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain in General Medical Practice: The IMPLEMENT Cluster Randomised Trial
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-06-13)
INTRODUCTION: This cluster randomised trial evaluated an intervention to decrease x-ray referrals and increase giving advice to stay active for people with acute low back pain (LBP) in general practice. METHODS: General practices were randomised to either access to a guideline for acute LBP (control) or facilitated interactive workshops (intervention). We measured behavioural predictors (e.g. knowledge, attitudes and intentions) and fear avoidance beliefs. We were unable to recruit sufficient patients to measure our original primary outcomes so we introduced other outcomes measured at the general practitioner (GP) level: behavioural simulation (clinical decision about vignettes) and rates of x-ray and CT-scan (medical administrative data). All those not involved in the delivery of the intervention were blinded to allocation. RESULTS: 47 practices (53 GPs) were randomised to the control and 45 practices (59 GPs) to the intervention. The number of GPs available for analysis at 12 months varied by outcome due to missing confounder information; a minimum of 38 GPs were available from the intervention group, and a minimum of 40 GPs from the control group. For the behavioural constructs, although effect estimates were small, the intervention group GPs had greater intention of practising consistent with the guideline for the clinical behaviour of x-ray referral. For behavioural simulation, intervention group GPs were more likely to adhere to guideline recommendations about x-ray (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.01, 3.05) and more likely to give advice to stay active (OR 4.49, 95%CI 1.90 to 10.60). Imaging referral was not statistically significantly different between groups and the potential importance of effects was unclear; rate ratio 0.87 (95%CI 0.68, 1.10) for x-ray or CT-scan. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention led to small changes in GP intention to practice in a manner that is consistent with an evidence-based guideline, but it did not result in statistically significant changes in actual behaviour. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN012606000098538.
Home-based chlamydia and gonorrhoea screening: a systematic review of strategies and outcomes
BACKGROUND: In many countries, low Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) screening rates among young people in primary-care have encouraged screening programs outside of clinics. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) make it possible to screen people in homes with self-collected specimens. We systematically reviewed the strategies and outcomes of home-based CT/NG screening programs. METHODS: Electronic databases were searched for home-based CT and/or NG screening studies published since January 2005. Screening information (e.g. target group, recruitment and specimen-collection method) and quantitative outcomes (e.g. number of participants, tests and positivity) were extracted. The screening programs were classified into seven groups on the basis of strategies used. RESULTS: We found 29 eligible papers describing 32 home-based screening programs. In seven outreach programs, people were approached in their homes: a median of 97% participants provided specimens and 76% were tested overall (13717 tests). In seven programs, people were invited to receive postal test-kits (PTKs) at their homes: a median of 37% accepted PTKs, 79% returned specimens and 19% were tested (46225 tests). PTKs were sent along with invitation letters in five programs: a median of 33% returned specimens and 29% of those invited were tested (15126 tests). PTKs were requested through the internet or phone without invitations in four programs and a median of 32% returned specimens (2666 tests). Four programs involved study personnel directly inviting people to receive PTKs: a median of 46% accepted PTKs, 21% returned specimens and 9.1% were tested (341 tests). PTKs were picked-up from designated locations in three programs: a total of 6765 kits were picked-up and 1167 (17%) specimens were returned for screening. Two programs used a combination of above strategies (2395 tests) but the outcomes were not reported separately. The overall median CT positivity was 3.6% (inter-quartile range: 1.7-7.3%). CONCLUSIONS: A variety of strategies have been used in home-based CT/NG screening programs. The screening strategies and their feasibility in the local context need to be carefully considered to maximize the effectiveness of home-based screening programs.
"One country, two systems": Sociopolitical implications for female migrant sex workers in Hong Kong.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008-12-12)
BACKGROUND: Under the "two countries, one system" policy implemented by China to manage the return of Hong Kong's sovereignty, Hong Kong has maintained a comparatively prosperous economy within the Asian region. This has resulted in an environment which fosters migration from the mainland to Hong Kong, due largely to proximity, higher earning potential, common language, and a relaxing of border control measures. However not all mainland China citizens are equally able to access these new migration schemes and indeed a number of women such as sex workers are either migrating and/or working illegally and without occupational, legal and health protection within Hong Kong. DISCUSSION: Female migrant sex workers are exposed to a number of significant threats to their health, however their illegal status contributes to even greater vulnerability. The prevailing discourses which view these women as either "trafficked women" or as "illegal immigrants" do not adequately account for the complex situations which result in such women's employment in Hong Kong's sex industry. Rather, their position can best be understood within the broader frameworks provided by migration literature and the concept of "structural violence". This allows for a greater understanding of the socio-political issues which are systematically denying migrant sex workers adequate access to health care and other opportunities for social advancement. When these issues are taken into account, it becomes clear that the current relevant legislation regarding both immigration and sex work is perpetuating the marginalised and vulnerable status of migrant sex workers. Unless changes are made, structural barriers will remain in place which impede the ability of migrant sex workers to manage their own health needs and status. CONCLUSION: Female migrant sex workers in Hong Kong are extremely vulnerable to a number of occupational health and safety hazards which have significantly detrimental effects on their health. These risks can best be understood within a broad framework of socio-political factors contributing to their vulnerability. Ensuring that migrant sex workers have adequate support for their health and legal rights requires require structural interventions such as decriminalisation and providing open and inclusive access to health service to counteract such factors.
Offering fragile X syndrome carrier screening: a prospective mixed-methods observational study comparing carrier screening of pregnant and non-pregnant women in the general population
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-01-01)
INTRODUCTION: Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the leading cause of inherited intellectual and developmental disability. Policy development relating to carrier screening programmes for FXS requires input from large studies examining not only test uptake but also psychosocial aspects. This study will compare carrier screening in pregnant and non-pregnant populations, examining informed decision-making, psychosocial issues and health economics. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Pregnant and non-pregnant women are being recruited from general practices and obstetric services. Women receive study information either in person or through clinic mail outs. Women are provided pretest counselling by a genetic counsellor and make a decision about testing in their own time. Data are being collected from two questionnaires: one completed at the time of making the decision about testing and the second 1 month later. Additional data are gathered through qualitative interviews conducted at several time points with a subset of participating women, including all women with a positive test result, and with staff from recruiting clinics. A minimum sample size of 500 women/group has been calculated to give us 88% power to detect a 10% difference in test uptake and 87% power to detect a 10% difference in informed choice between the pregnant and non-pregnant groups. Questionnaire data will be analysed using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models. Interview data will be thematically analysed. Willingness-to-pay and cost effectiveness analyses will also be performed. Recruitment started in July 2009 and data collection will be completed by December 2013. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been granted by the Universities of Melbourne and Western Australia and by recruiting clinics, where required. Results will be reported in peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and through a website http://www.fragilexscreening.net.au. The results of this study will make a significant contribution to discussions about the wider introduction of population carrier screening for FXS.
Accessing maternal and child health services in Melbourne, Australia: Reflections from refugee families and service providers
BACKGROUND: Often new arrivals from refugee backgrounds have experienced poor health and limited access to healthcare services. The maternal and child health (MCH) service in Victoria, Australia, is a joint local and state government operated, cost-free service available to all mothers of children aged 0-6 years. Although well-child healthcare visits are useful in identifying health issues early, there has been limited investigation in the use of these services for families from refugee backgrounds. This study aims to explore experiences of using MCH services, from the perspective of families from refugee backgrounds and service providers. METHODS: We used a qualitative study design informed by the socioecological model of health and a cultural competence approach. Two geographical areas of Melbourne were selected to invite participants. Seven focus groups were conducted with 87 mothers from Karen, Iraqi, Assyrian Chaldean, Lebanese, South Sudanese and Bhutanese backgrounds, who had lived an average of 4.7 years in Australia (range one month-18 years). Participants had a total of 249 children, of these 150 were born in Australia. Four focus groups and five interviews were conducted with MCH nurses, other healthcare providers and bicultural workers. RESULTS: Four themes were identified: facilitating access to MCH services; promoting continued engagement with the MCH service; language challenges; and what is working well and could be done better. Several processes were identified that facilitated initial access to the MCH service but there were implications for continued use of the service. The MCH service was not formally notified of new parents arriving with young children. Pre-arranged group appointments by MCH nurses for parents who attended playgroups worked well to increase ongoing service engagement. Barriers for parents in using MCH services included access to transportation, lack of confidence in speaking English and making phone bookings. Service users and providers reported that continuity of nurse and interpreter is preferred for increasing client-provider trust and ongoing engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Although participants who had children born in Melbourne had good initial access to, and experience of, using MCH services, significant barriers remain. A systems-oriented, culturally competent approach to service provision would improve the service utilisation experience for parents and providers, including formalising links and notifications between settlement services and MCH services.
Aboriginal Families Study: a population-based study keeping community and policy goals in mind right from the start
BACKGROUND: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are between two to five times more likely to die in childbirth than non-Aboriginal women, and two to three times more likely to have a low birthweight infant. Babies with a low birthweight are more likely to have chronic health problems in adult life. Currently, there is limited research evidence regarding effective interventions to inform new initiatives to strengthen antenatal care for Aboriginal families. METHOD/DESIGN: The Aboriginal Families Study is a cross sectional population-based study investigating the views and experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women having an Aboriginal baby in the state of South Australia over a 2-year period. The primary aims are to compare the experiences and views of women attending standard models of antenatal care with those accessing care via Aboriginal Family Birthing Program services which include Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care (AMIC) Workers as members of the clinical team; to assess factors associated with early and continuing engagement with antenatal care; and to use the information to inform strengthening of services for Aboriginal families. Women living in urban, regional and remote areas of South Australia have been invited to take part in the study by completing a structured interview or, if preferred, a self-administered questionnaire, when their baby is between 4-12 months old. DISCUSSION: Having a baby is an important life event in all families and in all cultures. How supported women feel during pregnancy, how women and families are welcomed by services, how safe they feel coming in to hospitals to give birth, and what happens to families during a hospital stay and in the early months after the birth of a new baby are important social determinants of maternal, newborn and child health outcomes. The Aboriginal Families Study builds on consultation with Aboriginal communities across South Australia. The project has been implemented with guidance from an Aboriginal Advisory Group keeping community and policy goals in mind right from the start. The results of the study will provide a unique resource to inform quality improvement and strengthening of services for Aboriginal families.
Chlamydia trachomatis Incidence and Re-Infection among Young Women - Behavioural and Microbiological Characteristics
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-05-25)
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to estimate rates of chlamydia incidence and re-infection and to investigate the dynamics of chlamydia organism load in prevalent, incident and re-infections among young Australian women. METHODS: 1,116 women aged 16 to 25 years were recruited from primary care clinics in Australia. Vaginal swabs were collected at 3 to 6 month intervals for chlamydia testing. Chlamydia organism load was measured by quantitative PCR. RESULTS: There were 47 incident cases of chlamydia diagnosed and 1,056.34 person years of follow up with a rate of 4.4 per 100 person years (95% CI: 3.3, 5.9). Incident infection was associated with being aged 16 to 20 years [RR = 3.7 (95%CI: 1.9, 7.1)], being employed [RR = 2.4 (95%CI: 1.1, 4.9)] and having two or more new sex partners [RR = 5.5 (95%CI: 2.6, 11.7)]. Recent antibiotic use was associated with a reduced incidence [RR:0.1 (95%CI: 0.0, 0.5)]. There were 14 re-infections with a rate of 22.3 per 100 person years (95%CI: 13.2, 37.6). The median time to re-infection was 4.6 months. Organism load was higher for prevalent than incident infections (p<0.01) and for prevalent than re-infections (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Chlamydia is common among young women and a high proportion of women are re-infected within a short period of time, highlighting the need for effective partner treatment and repeat testing. The difference in organism load between prevalent and incident infections suggests prevalent infection may be more important for ongoing transmission of chlamydia.
Contraception matters: indicators of poor usage of contraception in sexually active women attending family planning clinics in Victoria, Australia
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-12-23)
BACKGROUND: Unintended pregnancy (mistimed or unwanted) remains an important health issue for women. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with risk of unintended pregnancy in a sample of Victorian women attending family planning clinics. METHODS: This cross-sectional survey of three Family Planning Victoria Clinics from April to July 2011 recruited women aged 16-50 years with a male sexual partner in the last 3 months, and not intending to conceive. The questionnaire asked about contraceptive behaviours and important factors that influence contraception use (identified from a systematic literature review). Univariate analysis was calculated for the variables of interest for associations with contraceptive use. An overall multivariate model for being at risk for unintended pregnancy (due to inconsistent or ineffective contraceptive use or non-use) was calculated through backward elimination with statistical significance set at <0.05. RESULTS: 1006 surveys were analyzed with 96% of women reporting contraception use in the last 3 months. 37% of women were at risk for unintended pregnancy due to imperfect use (61% inconsistent users; 31% ineffective methods) or never using contraception (8%). On multivariate analysis, women at risk for unintended pregnancy compared with women not at risk were <25 years old (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.7); had no university/postgraduate degree (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.4); and had >1 partner in the last 3 months (OR 3.2, 95% CI 2.3-4.6). These women were dissatisfied with current contraception (OR 2.5, 95% 1.8-3.5); felt "vulnerable" to pregnancy (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.6-3.0); were not confident in contraceptive knowledge (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.5-4.8); were unable to stop to use contraception when aroused (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.5-2.9) but were comfortable in speaking to a doctor about contraception (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.1). CONCLUSION: Despite reported high contraceptive usage, nearly 40% of women were at risk for unintended pregnancy primarily due to inconsistent contraceptive use and use of ineffective contraception. Strategies for improving consistency of effective contraception use or greater emphasis on long-acting contraception may be needed for certain subpopulations at higher risk for unintended pregnancy.
Barriers faced by Ugandan university students in seeking medical care and sexual health counselling: a cross-sectional study.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-11-16)
BACKGROUND: Meeting the medical and sexual health care needs of young people is crucial for sustainable development. In Uganda, youth are faced with a number of challenges related to accessing medical care and sexual health counselling services. This study sought to investigate the barriers faced by Ugandan university students in seeking medical care and sexual health counselling. METHODS: This study is part of a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2005 among 980 students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Data was collected by means of a self-administered 11-page questionnaire. The barriers encountered by respondents in seeking medical care and sexual health counselling were classified into three categories reflecting the acceptability, accessibility, or availability of services. RESULTS: Two out of five students reported unmet medical care needs, and one out of five reported unmet sexual health counselling needs. Acceptability of services was the main barrier faced by students for seeking medical care (70.4%) as well as for student in need of sexual health counselling (72.2%), regardless of age, gender, self-rated health, and rural/peri-urban or urban residence status. However, barriers differed within the various strata. There was a significant difference (p-value 0.01) in barriers faced by students originally from rural versus peri-urban/urban areas in seeking medical care (acceptability: 64.8%/74.5%, accessibility: 22.0% /12.6%, availability 13.2%/12.9%, respectively). Students who reported poor self-rated health encountered barriers in seeking both medical care and sexual health counselling that were significantly different from their other counterparts (p-value 0.001 and 0.007 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Barriers faced by students in seeking medical and sexual health care should be reduced by interventions aimed at boosting confidence in health care services, encouraging young people to seek early treatment, and increasing awareness of where they can turn for services. The availability of medical services should be increased and waiting times and cost reduced for vulnerable groups.
The ProPrems trial: investigating the effects of probiotics on late onset sepsis in very preterm infants
BACKGROUND: Late onset sepsis is a frequent complication of prematurity associated with increased mortality and morbidity. The commensal bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract play a key role in the development of healthy immune responses. Healthy term infants acquire these commensal organisms rapidly after birth. However, colonisation in preterm infants is adversely affected by delivery mode, antibiotic treatment and the intensive care environment. Altered microbiota composition may lead to increased colonisation with pathogenic bacteria, poor immune development and susceptibility to sepsis in the preterm infant.Probiotics are live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host. Amongst numerous bacteriocidal and nutritional roles, they may also favourably modulate host immune responses in local and remote tissues. Meta-analyses of probiotic supplementation in preterm infants report a reduction in mortality and necrotising enterocolitis. Studies with sepsis as an outcome have reported mixed results to date.Allergic diseases are increasing in incidence in "westernised" countries. There is evidence that probiotics may reduce the incidence of these diseases by altering the intestinal microbiota to influence immune function. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a multi-centre, randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled trial investigating supplementing preterm infants born at < 32 weeks' gestation weighing < 1500 g, with a probiotic combination (Bifidobacterium infantis, Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis). A total of 1,100 subjects are being recruited in Australia and New Zealand. Infants commence the allocated intervention from soon after the start of feeds until discharge home or term corrected age. The primary outcome is the incidence of at least one episode of definite (blood culture positive) late onset sepsis before 40 weeks corrected age or discharge home. Secondary outcomes include: Necrotising enterocolitis, mortality, antibiotic usage, time to establish full enteral feeds, duration of hospital stay, growth measurements at 6 and 12 months' corrected age and evidence of atopic conditions at 12 months' corrected age. DISCUSSION: Results from previous studies on the use of probiotics to prevent diseases in preterm infants are promising. However, a large clinical trial is required to address outstanding issues regarding safety and efficacy in this vulnerable population. This study will address these important issues. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN012607000144415The product "ABC Dophilus Probiotic Powder for Infants®", Solgar, USA has its 3 probiotics strains registered with the Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen (DSMZ--German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures) as BB-12 15954, B-02 96579, Th-4 15957.