Nursing - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 202
Reducing the Psychological Distress of Family Caregivers of Home Based Palliative Care Patients: Short Term Effects From a Randomised Controlled Trial
BACKGROUND: Palliative care incorporates comprehensive support of family caregivers because many of them experience burden and distress. However, evidence-based support initiatives are few. PURPOSE: We evaluated a one-to-one psychoeducational intervention aimed at mitigating the distress of caregivers of patients with advanced cancer receiving home-based palliative care. We hypothesised that caregivers would report decreased distress as assessed by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). METHOD: A randomised controlled trial comparing two versions of the delivery of the intervention (one face-to-face home visit plus telephone calls versus two visits) plus standard care to a control group (standard care only) across four sites in Australia. RESULTS: Recruitment to the one visit condition was 57, the two visit condition 93, and the control 148. We previously reported non-significant changes in distress between times 1 (baseline) and 2 (1-week post-intervention) but significant gains in competence and preparedness. We report here changes in distress between times 1 and 3 (8-week post-death). There was significantly less worsening in distress between times 1 and 3 in the one visit intervention group than in the control group; however, no significant difference was found between the two visit intervention and the control group. CONCLUSIONS: These results are consistent with the aim of the intervention, and they support existing evidence demonstrating that relatively short psychoeducational interventions can help family caregivers who are supporting a dying relative. The sustained benefit during the bereavement period may also have positive resource implications, which should be the subject of future inquiry.
Development and evaluation of an aged care specific Advance Care Plan.
OBJECTIVES: To report on the quality of advance care planning (ACP) documents in use in residential aged care facilities (RACF) in areas of Victoria Australia prior to a systematic intervention; to report on the development and performance of an aged care specific Advance Care Plan template used during the intervention. DESIGN: An audit of the quality of pre-existing documentation used to record resident treatment preferences and end-of-life wishes at participating RACFs; development and pilot of an aged care specific Advance Care Plan template; an audit of the completeness and quality of Advance Care Plans completed on the new template during a systematic ACP intervention. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: 19 selected RACFs (managed by 12 aged care organisations) in metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria. RESULTS: Documentation in use at facilities prior to the ACP intervention most commonly recorded preferences regarding hospital transfer, life prolonging treatment and personal/cultural/religious wishes. However, 7 of 12 document sets failed to adequately and clearly specify the resident's preferences as regards life prolonging medical treatment. The newly developed aged care specific Advance Care Plan template was met with approval by participating RACFs. Of 203 Advance Care Plans completed on the template throughout the project period, 49% included the appointment of a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney. Requests concerning medical treatment were specified in almost all completed documents (97%), with 73% nominating the option of refusal of life-prolonging treatment. Over 90% of plans included information concerning residents' values and beliefs, and future health situations that the resident would find to be unacceptable were specified in 78% of completed plans. CONCLUSIONS: Standardised procedures and documentation are needed to improve the quality of processes, documents and outcomes of ACP in the residential aged care sector.
Robotics to enable older adults to remain living at home.
(Hindawi Limited, 2012)
Given the rapidly ageing population, interest is growing in robots to enable older people to remain living at home. We conducted a systematic review and critical evaluation of the scientific literature, from 1990 to the present, on the use of robots in aged care. The key research questions were as follows: (1) what is the range of robotic devices available to enable older people to remain mobile, independent, and safe? and, (2) what is the evidence demonstrating that robotic devices are effective in enabling independent living in community dwelling older people? Following database searches for relevant literature an initial yield of 161 articles was obtained. Titles and abstracts of articles were then reviewed by 2 independent people to determine suitability for inclusion. Forty-two articles met the criteria for question 1. Of these, 4 articles met the criteria for question 2. Results showed that robotics is currently available to assist older healthy people and people with disabilities to remain independent and to monitor their safety and social connectedness. Most studies were conducted in laboratories and hospital clinics. Currently limited evidence demonstrates that robots can be used to enable people to remain living at home, although this is an emerging smart technology that is rapidly evolving.
Clinical decision-making: midwifery students' recognition of, and response to, post partum haemorrhage in the simulation environment
BACKGROUND: This paper reports the findings of a study of how midwifery students responded to a simulated post partum haemorrhage (PPH). Internationally, 25% of maternal deaths are attributed to severe haemorrhage. Although this figure is far higher in developing countries, the risk to maternal wellbeing and child health problem means that all midwives need to remain vigilant and respond appropriately to early signs of maternal deterioration. METHODS: Simulation using a patient actress enabled the research team to investigate the way in which 35 midwifery students made decisions in a dynamic high fidelity PPH scenario. The actress wore a birthing suit that simulated blood loss and a flaccid uterus on palpation. The scenario provided low levels of uncertainty and high levels of relevant information. The student's response to the scenario was videoed. Immediately after, they were invited to review the video, reflect on their performance and give a commentary as to what affected their decisions. The data were analysed using Dimensional Analysis. RESULTS: The students' clinical management of the situation varied considerably. Students struggled to prioritize their actions where more than one response was required to a clinical cue and did not necessarily use mnemonics as heuristic devices to guide their actions. Driven by a response to single cues they also showed a reluctance to formulate a diagnosis based on inductive and deductive reasoning cycles. This meant they did not necessarily introduce new hypothetical ideas against which they might refute or confirm a diagnosis and thereby eliminate fixation error. CONCLUSIONS: The students response demonstrated that a number of clinical skills require updating on a regular basis including: fundal massage technique, the use of emergency standing order drugs, communication and delegation of tasks to others in an emergency and working independently until help arrives. Heuristic devices helped the students to evaluate their interventions to illuminate what else could be done whilst they awaited the emergency team. They did not necessarily serve to prompt the students' or help them plan care prospectively. The limitations of the study are critically explored along with the pedagogic implications for initial training and continuing professional development.
Perceived differences in the management of mental health patients in remote and rural australia and strategies for improvement: findings from a national qualitative study of emergency clinicians.
(Hindawi Limited, 2011)
Introduction. We aimed to describe perceptions of Australian emergency clinicians of differences in management of mental health patients in rural and remote Australia compared with metropolitan hospitals, and what could be improved. Methods. Descriptive exploratory study using semi-structured telephone interviews of doctors and nurses in Australian emergency departments (EDs), stratified to represent states and territories and rural or metropolitan location. Content analysis of responses developed themes and sub-themes. Results. Of 39 doctors and 32 nurses responding to email invitation, 20 doctors and 16 nurses were interviewed. Major themes were resources/environment, staff and patient issues. Clinicians noted lack of access in rural areas to psychiatric support services, especially alcohol and drug services, limited referral options, and a lack of knowledge, understanding and acceptance of mental health issues. The clinicians suggested resource, education and guideline improvements, wanting better access to mental health experts in rural areas, better support networks and visiting specialist coverage, and educational courses tailored to the needs of rural clinicians. Conclusion. Clinicians managing mental health patients in rural and remote Australian EDs lack resources, support services and referral capacity, and access to appropriate education and training. Improvements would better enable access to support and referral services, and educational opportunities.
A randomised trial of a psychosocial intervention for cancer patients integrated into routine care: the PROMPT study (promoting optimal outcomes in mood through tailored psychosocial therapies)
BACKGROUND: Despite evidence that up to 35% of patients with cancer experience significant distress, access to effective psychosocial care is limited by lack of systematic approaches to assessment, a paucity of psychosocial services, and patient reluctance to accept treatment either because of perceived stigma or difficulties with access to specialist psycho-oncology services due to isolation or disease burden. This paper presents an overview of a randomised study to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief tailored psychosocial Intervention delivered by health professionals in cancer care who undergo focused training and participate in clinical supervision. METHODS/DESIGN: Health professionals from the disciplines of nursing, occupational therapy, speech pathology, dietetics, physiotherapy or radiation therapy will participate in training to deliver the psychosocial Intervention focusing on core concepts of supportive-expressive, cognitive and dignity-conserving care. Health professional training will consist of completion of a self-directed manual and participation in a skills development session. Participating health professionals will be supported through structured clinical supervision whilst delivering the Intervention. In the stepped wedge design each of the 5 participating clinical sites will be allocated in random order from Control condition to Training then delivery of the Intervention. A total of 600 patients will be recruited across all sites. Based on level of distress or risk factors eligible patients will receive up to 4 sessions, each of up to 30 minutes in length, delivered face-to-face or by telephone. Participants will be assessed at baseline and 10-week follow-up. Patient outcome measures include anxiety and depression, quality of life, unmet psychological and supportive care needs. Health professional measures include psychological morbidity, stress and burnout. Process evaluation will be conducted to assess perceptions of participation in the study and the factors that may promote translation of learning into practice. DISCUSSION: This study will provide important information about the effectiveness of a brief tailored psychological Intervention for patients with cancer and the potential to prevent development of significant distress in patients considered at risk. It will yield data about the feasibility of this model of care in routine clinical practice and identify enablers and barriers to its systematic implementation in cancer settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12610000448044.
Women's experiences of preeclampsia: Australian action on preeclampsia survey of women and their confidants.
(Hindawi Limited, 2011)
INTRODUCTION: The experience of normal pregnancy is often disrupted for women with preeclampsia (PE). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Postal survey of the 112 members of the consumer group, Australian Action on Pre-Eclampsia (AAPEC). RESULTS: Surveys were returned by 68 women (61% response rate) and from 64 (57%) partners, close relatives or friends. Respondents reported experiencing pre-eclampsia (n = 53), eclampsia (n = 5), and/or Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelets (HELLP syndrome) (n = 26). Many women had no knowledge of PE prior to diagnosis (77%) and, once diagnosed, did not appreciate how serious or life threatening it was (50%). Women wanted access to information about PE. Their experience contributed substantial anxiety towards future pregnancies. Partners/friends/relatives expressed fear for the woman and/or her baby and had no prior understanding of PE. CONCLUSIONS: The PE experience had a substantial effect on women, their confidants, and their babies and affected their approach to future pregnancies. Access to information about PE was viewed as very important.
The devil is in the detail - a multifactorial intervention to reduce blood pressure in coexisting diabetes and chronic kidney disease: a single blind, randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND: About 30-60% of individuals are non-adherent to their prescribed medications and this risk increases as the number of prescribed medications increases. This paper outlines the development of a consumer-centred Medicine Self-Management Intervention (MESMI), designed to improve blood pressure control and medication adherence in consumers with diabetes and chronic kidney disease recruited from specialist outpatients' clinics. METHODS: We developed a multifactorial intervention consisting of Self Blood Pressure Monitoring (SBPM), medication review, a twenty-minute interactive Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), and follow-up support telephone calls to help consumers improve their blood pressure control and take their medications as prescribed. The intervention is novel in that it has been developed from analysis of consumer and health professional views, and includes consumer video exemplars in the DVD. The primary outcome measure was a drop of 3-6 mmHg systolic blood pressure at three months after completion of the intervention. Secondary outcome measures included: assessment of medication adherence, medication self-efficacy and general wellbeing. Consumers' adherence to their prescribed medications was measured by manual pill count, self-report of medication adherence, and surrogate biochemical markers of disease control. DISCUSSION: The management of complex health problems is an increasing component of health care practice, and requires interventions that improve patient outcomes. We describe the preparatory work and baseline data of a single blind, randomized controlled trial involving consumers requiring cross-specialty care with a follow-up period extending to 12 months post-baseline. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ACTRN12607000044426).
Protocol for the RT Prepare Trial: a multiple-baseline study of radiation therapists delivering education and support to women with breast cancer who are referred for radiotherapy
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2014-01-01)
INTRODUCTION: There is limited evidence to guide the preparation of patients for radiotherapy. This paper describes the protocol for an evaluation of a radiation therapist led education intervention delivered to patients with breast cancer in order to reduce psychological distress. METHODS: A multiple-baseline study is being used. Usual care data is being collected prior to the start of the intervention at each of three sites. The intervention is delivered by radiation therapists consulting with patients prior to their treatment planning and on the first day of treatment. The intervention focuses on providing sensory and procedural information to patients and reducing pretreatment anxiety. Recruitment is occurring in three states in Australia. Eligible participants are patients who have been referred for radiotherapy to treat breast cancer. 200 patients will be recruited during a usual care phase and, thereafter, 200 patients in the intervention phase. Measures will be collected on four occasions-after meeting with their radiation oncologist, prior to treatment planning, on the first day of treatment and after treatment completion. The primary hypothesis is that patients who receive the radiotherapy preparatory intervention will report a significantly greater decrease in psychological distress from baseline to prior to radiotherapy treatment planning in comparison with the usual care group. Secondary outcome measures include concerns about radiotherapy, patient knowledge of radiotherapy, patient preparedness and quality of life. Patient health system usage and costs will also be measured. Multilevel mixed effects regression models will be applied to test for intervention effects. ETHICS: Ethics approval has been gained from Curtin University and the three recruiting sites. DISSEMINATION: Results will be reported in international peer reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registration: ACTRN12611001000998.
The Melbourne Family Support Program: evidence-based strategies that prepare family caregivers for supporting palliative care patients.
BACKGROUND: A key component of palliative care is support for family caregivers. Although some family caregivers identify positive aspects, the impact is typically burdensome; they are prone to physical and psychological morbidity, financial disadvantage and social isolation. Outcomes of systematic reviews have highlighted the importance of investment in family caregiver intervention research. PURPOSE: To provide an overview of the development, evaluation and outcomes arising from of a programme of research (The Melbourne Family Support Program (FSP)), which focused on reducing the psychosocial burden of family caregivers. METHODS: Developmental work involved a systematic literature review; focus groups with family caregivers and health professionals; and identification of a conceptual framework. Following a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT), a programme of psychoeducational intervention studies was developed and tested; one via RCT, the others via prepost test. RESULTS: Four psychoeducational interventions, incorporating one-to-one and group format delivery, conducted in both the home and inpatient hospital/hospice were evaluated. Statistically significant outcomes included improvements in family caregivers' preparedness, competence, positive emotions, more favourable levels of psychological wellbeing and a reduction in unmet needs. Internationally endorsed guidelines for the psychosocial support of family caregivers were produced and several resources were constructed. Fifteen publications in international peer-reviewed journals have arisen from this programme. CONCLUSIONS: The interventions and resources from the Melbourne FSP provide several evidenced-based and clinically relevant approaches that focus on reducing the psychosocial burden of the caregiving role. In several instances, however, more rigorous methodological testing is advocated.
A Prospective Cohort Study of the Effects of Adjuvant Breast Cancer Chemotherapy on Taste Function, Food Liking, Appetite and Associated Nutritional Outcomes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-07-31)
BACKGROUND: 'Taste' changes are commonly reported during chemotherapy. It is unclear to what extent this relates to actual changes in taste function or to changes in appetite and food liking and how these changes affect dietary intake and nutritional status. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This prospective, repeated measures cohort study recruited participants from three oncology clinics. Women (n = 52) prescribed adjuvant chemotherapy underwent standardised testing of taste perception, appetite and food liking at six time points to measure change from baseline. Associations between taste and hedonic changes and nutritional outcomes were examined. RESULTS: Taste function was significantly reduced early in chemotherapy cycles (p<0.05) but showed recovery by late in the cycle. Ability to correctly identify salty, sour and umami tastants was reduced. Liking of sweet food decreased early and mid-cycle (p<0.01) but not late cycle. Liking of savory food was not significantly affected. Appetite decreased early in the cycle (p<0.001). Reduced taste function was associated with lowest kilojoule intake (r = 0.31; p = 0.008) as was appetite loss with reduced kilojoule (r = 0.34; p = 0.002) and protein intake (r = 0.36; p = 0.001) early in the third chemotherapy cycle. Decreased appetite early in the third and final chemotherapy cycles was associated with a decline in BMI (p = <0.0005) over the study period. Resolution of taste function, food liking and appetite was observed 8 weeks after chemotherapy completion. There was no association between taste change and dry mouth, oral mucositis or nausea. CONCLUSION: The results reveal, for the first time, the cyclical yet transient effects of adjuvant chemotherapy on taste function and the link between taste and hedonic changes, dietary intake and nutritional outcomes. The results should be used to inform reliable pre-chemotherapy education.
Reducing hospital-acquired infections and improving the rational use of antibiotics in a developing country: an effectiveness study
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-05-01)
BACKGROUND: Prevention of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) is central to providing safe and high quality healthcare. Transmission of infection between patients by health workers, and the irrational use of antibiotics have been identified as preventable aetiological factors for HAIs. Few studies have addressed this in developing countries. AIMS: To implement a multifaceted infection control and antibiotic stewardship programme and evaluate its effectiveness on HAIs and antibiotic use. METHODS: A before-and-after study was conducted over 27 months in a teaching hospital in Indonesia. All children admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit and paediatric wards were observed daily. Assessment of HAIs was made based on the criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The multifaceted intervention consisted of a hand hygiene campaign, antibiotic stewardship (using the WHO Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children guidelines as standards of antibiotic prescribing for community-acquired infections), and other elementary infection control practices. Data were collected using an identical method in the preintervention and postintervention periods. RESULTS: We observed a major reduction in HAIs, from 22.6% (277/1227 patients) in the preintervention period to 8.6% (123/1419 patients) in the postintervention period (relative risk (RR) (95% CI) 0.38 (0.31 to 0.46)). Inappropriate antibiotic use declined from 43% (336 of 780 patients who were prescribed antibiotics) to 20.6% (182 of 882 patients) (RR 0.46 (0.40 to 0.55)). Hand hygiene compliance increased from 18.9% (319/1690) to 62.9% (1125/1789) (RR 3.33 (2.99 to 3.70)). In-hospital mortality decreased from 10.4% (127/1227) to 8% (114/1419) (RR 0.78 (0.61 to 0.97)). CONCLUSIONS: Multifaceted infection control interventions are effective in reducing HAI rates, improving the rational use of antibiotics, increasing hand hygiene compliance, and may reduce mortality in hospitalised children in developing countries.