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Perceptions on undertaking regular asymptomatic self-testing for COVID-19 using lateral flow tests: A qualitative study of university students and staff
Background There has been an increased interest from governments in implementing mass testing for COVID-19 of asymptomatic individuals using Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs). Successful implementation of such programmes depends on several factors, including feasibility, acceptability and how people act on test results. There is a paucity of studies examining these issues. Objective We aimed to examine experiences of university students and staff with experience of regular asymptomatic self-testing using LFTs, and their subsequent behaviours. Methods We invited people who were participating in a ‘weekly testing’ feasibility study. We conducted semi-structured remote interviews between December 2020 and January 2021. Additional qualitative data from a survey were also analysed. Data were analysed thematically. Results We interviewed 18 and surveyed 214 participants. Participants were motivated to regularly self-test as they wanted to know whether or not they were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Most reported that a negative test result did not change their behaviour but it did provide them with reassurance to engage with permitted activities. In contrast, some participants reported making decisions about visiting other people when they would not have done so otherwise, because they felt reassured by a negative test result. Participants valued the test training but some participants still doubted their ability to carry out the test. Participants were concerned about safety of attending test sites with lots of people and reported home testing was most convenient. Conclusions If governments want to increase uptake of LFT use, clear messages highlighting the benefits of regular testing for family, friends and society in identifying asymptomatic cases are needed. This should be coupled with transparent communication about accuracy of LFTs and how to act on either a positive or negative result. Concerns about safety, convenience of testing, and ability to do tests need to be addressed to ensure successful scaling up asymptomatic testing.
Background: The need for better methods for evaluation in health research has been widely recognised. The ‘complexity turn’ has drawn attention to the limitations of relying on causal inference from randomised controlled trials alone for understanding whether, and under which conditions, interventions in complex systems improve health services or the public health, and what mechanisms might link interventions and outcomes. We argue that case study research—currently denigrated as poor evidence—is an under-utilised resource for not only providing evidence about context and transferability, but also for helping strengthen causal inferences when pathways between intervention and effects are likely to be non-linear. Main body: Case study research, as an overall approach, is based on in-depth explorations of complex phenomena in their natural, or real-life, settings. Empirical case studies typically enable dynamic understanding of complex challenges and provide evidence about causal mechanisms and the necessary and sufficient conditions (contexts) for intervention implementation and effects. This is essential evidence not just for researchers concerned about internal and external validity, but also research users in policy and practice who need to know what the likely effects of complex programmes or interventions will be in their settings. The health sciences have much to learn from scholarship on case study methodology in the social sciences. However, there are multiple challenges in fully exploiting the potential learning from case study research. First are misconceptions that case study research can only provide exploratory or descriptive evidence. Second, there is little consensus about what a case study is, and considerable diversity in how empirical case studies are conducted and reported. Finally, as case study researchers typically (and appropriately) focus on thick description (that captures contextual detail), it can be challenging to identify the key messages related to intervention evaluation from case study reports. Conclusion: Whilst the diversity of published case studies in health services and public health research is rich and productive, we recommend further clarity and specific methodological guidance for those reporting case study research for evaluation audiences.
“Because we all have to grow up”: supporting adolescents in Uganda to develop core competencies to transition towards managing their HIV more independently
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of the International AIDS Society published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International AIDS Society. Introduction: Sustaining optimal adherence is the major challenge facing adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV), particularly in low-resource settings, where “second-line” is often the last accessible treatment option. We explored the knowledge and skills adolescents need in order to maintain improved adherence behaviours, and the specific ways clinicians and caregivers may support young people to do so more independently. Methods: We conducted individual, in-depth interviews with 20 ALHIV aged 10 to 18 years in Uganda in 2017 to 2018. All participants had recently commenced second-line treatment as part of a clinical trial. We used thematic qualitative analysis to examine adherence experiences and challenges while on first-line therapy, as well as specific supports necessary to optimise treatment-taking longer-term. Results: Adherence difficulties are exacerbated by relatively rapid shifts from caregiver-led approaches during childhood, to an expectation of autonomous treatment-taking with onset of adolescence. For many participants this shift compounded their ongoing struggles managing physical side effects and poor treatment literacy. Switching to second-line typically prompted reversion back to supervised adherence, with positive impacts on self-reported adherence in the immediate term. However, this measure is unlikely to be sustainable for caregivers due to significant caregiver burden (as on first line), and provided little opportunity for clinicians to guide and develop young people’s capacity to successfully adopt responsibility for their own treatment-taking. Conclusions: As ALHIV in sub-Saharan Africa are attributed increasing responsibility for treatment adherence and HIV management, they must be equipped with the core knowledge and skills required for successful, self-directed care. Young people need to be relationally supported to develop necessary “adherence competencies” within the supportive framework of a gradual “transition” period. Clinic conversations during this period should be adolescent-focussed and collaborative, and treatment-taking strategies situated within the context of their lived environments and support networks, to facilitate sustained adherence. The disclosure of adherence difficulties must be encouraged so that issues can be identified and addressed prior to treatment failure.
Long-term monitoring in primary care for chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure: a multi-method research programme
Background Long-term monitoring is important in chronic condition management. Despite considerable costs of monitoring, there is no or poor evidence on how, what and when to monitor. The aim of this study was to improve understanding, methods, evidence base and practice of clinical monitoring in primary care, focusing on two areas: chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure. Objectives The research questions were as follows: does the choice of test affect better care while being affordable to the NHS? Can the number of tests used to manage individuals with early-stage kidney disease, and hence the costs, be reduced? Is it possible to monitor heart failure using a simple blood test? Can this be done using a rapid test in a general practitioner consultation? Would changes in the management of these conditions be acceptable to patients and carers? Design Various study designs were employed, including cohort, feasibility study, Clinical Practice Research Datalink analysis, seven systematic reviews, two qualitative studies, one cost-effectiveness analysis and one cost recommendation. Setting This study was set in UK primary care. Data sources Data were collected from study participants and sourced from UK general practice and hospital electronic health records, and worldwide literature. Participants The participants were NHS patients (Clinical Practice Research Datalink: 4.5 million patients), chronic kidney disease and chronic heart failure patients managed in primary care (including 750 participants in the cohort study) and primary care health professionals. Interventions The interventions were monitoring with blood and urine tests (for chronic kidney disease) and monitoring with blood tests and weight measurement (for chronic heart failure). Main outcome measures The main outcomes were the frequency, accuracy, utility, acceptability, costs and cost-effectiveness of monitoring. Results Chronic kidney disease: serum creatinine testing has increased steadily since 1997, with most results being normal (83% in 2013). Increases in tests of creatinine and proteinuria correspond to their introduction as indicators in the Quality and Outcomes Framework. The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation had 2.7% greater accuracy (95% confidence interval 1.6% to 3.8%) than the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation for estimating glomerular filtration rate. Estimated annual transition rates to the next chronic kidney disease stage are ≈ 2% for people with normal urine albumin, 3–5% for people with microalbuminuria (3–30 mg/mmol) and 3–12% for people with macroalbuminuria (> 30 mg/mmol). Variability in estimated glomerular filtration rate-creatinine leads to misclassification of chronic kidney disease stage in 12–15% of tests in primary care. Glycaemic-control and lipid-modifying drugs are associated with a 6% (95% confidence interval 2% to 10%) and 4% (95% confidence interval 0% to 8%) improvement in renal function, respectively. Neither estimated glomerular filtration rate-creatinine nor estimated glomerular filtration rate-Cystatin C have utility in predicting rate of kidney function change. Patients viewed phrases such as ‘kidney damage’ or ‘kidney failure’ as frightening, and the term ‘chronic’ was misinterpreted as serious. Diagnosis of asymptomatic conditions (chronic kidney disease) was difficult to understand, and primary care professionals often did not use ‘chronic kidney disease’ when managing patients at early stages. General practitioners relied on Clinical Commissioning Group or Quality and Outcomes Framework alerts rather than National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance for information. Cost-effectiveness modelling did not demonstrate a tangible benefit of monitoring kidney function to guide preventative treatments, except for individuals with an estimated glomerular filtration rate of 60–90 ml/minute/1.73 m2, aged < 70 years and without cardiovascular disease, where monitoring every 3–4 years to guide cardiovascular prevention may be cost-effective. Chronic heart failure: natriuretic peptide-guided treatment could reduce all-cause mortality by 13% and heart failure admission by 20%. Implementing natriuretic peptide-guided treatment is likely to require predefined protocols, stringent natriuretic peptide targets, relative targets and being located in a specialist heart failure setting. Remote monitoring can reduce all-cause mortality and heart failure hospitalisation, and could improve quality of life. Diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care N-terminal prohormone of B-type natriuretic peptide (sensitivity, 0.99; specificity, 0.60) was better than point-of-care B-type natriuretic peptide (sensitivity, 0.95; specificity, 0.57). Within-person variation estimates for B-type natriuretic peptide and weight were as follows: coefficient of variation, 46% and coefficient of variation, 1.2%, respectively. Point-of-care N-terminal prohormone of B-type natriuretic peptide within-person variability over 12 months was 881 pg/ml (95% confidence interval 380 to 1382 pg/ml), whereas between-person variability was 1972 pg/ml (95% confidence interval 1525 to 2791 pg/ml). For individuals, monitoring provided reassurance; future changes, such as increased testing, would be acceptable. Point-of-care testing in general practice surgeries was perceived positively, reducing waiting time and anxiety. Community heart failure nurses had greater knowledge of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance than general practitioners and practice nurses. Health-care professionals believed that the cost of natriuretic peptide tests in routine monitoring would outweigh potential benefits. The review of cost-effectiveness studies suggests that natriuretic peptide-guided treatment is cost-effective in specialist settings, but with no evidence for its value in primary care settings. Limitations No randomised controlled trial evidence was generated. The pathways to the benefit of monitoring chronic kidney disease were unclear. Conclusions It is difficult to ascribe quantifiable benefits to monitoring chronic kidney disease, because monitoring is unlikely to change treatment, especially in chronic kidney disease stages G3 and G4. New approaches to monitoring chronic heart failure, such as point-of-care natriuretic peptide tests in general practice, show promise if high within-test variability can be overcome. Future work The following future work is recommended: improve general practitioner–patient communication of early-stage renal function decline, and identify strategies to reduce the variability of natriuretic peptide. Study registration This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42015017501, CRD42019134922 and CRD42016046902. Funding This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research programme and will be published in full in Programme Grants for Applied Research; Vol. 9, No. 10. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
Estimating the Effect of Healthcare-Associated Infections on Excess Length of Hospital Stay Using Inverse Probability-Weighted Survival Curves
Background: Studies estimating excess length of stay (LOS) attributable to nosocomial infections have failed to address time-varying confounding, likely leading to overestimation of their impact. We present a methodology based on inverse probability-weighted survival curves to address this limitation. Methods: A case study focusing on intensive care unit-acquired bacteremia using data from 2 general intensive care units (ICUs) from 2 London teaching hospitals were used to illustrate the methodology. The area under the curve of a conventional Kaplan-Meier curve applied to the observed data was compared with that of an inverse probability-weighted Kaplan-Meier curve applied after treating bacteremia as censoring events. Weights were based on the daily probability of acquiring bacteremia. The difference between the observed average LOS and the average LOS that would be observed if all bacteremia cases could be prevented was multiplied by the number of admitted patients to obtain the total excess LOS. Results: The estimated total number of extra ICU days caused by 666 bacteremia cases was estimated at 2453 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1803-3103) days. The excess number of days was overestimated when ignoring time-varying confounding (2845 [95% CI, 2276-3415]) or when completely ignoring confounding (2838 [95% CI, 2101-3575]). Conclusions: ICU-acquired bacteremia was associated with a substantial excess LOS. Wider adoption of inverse probability-weighted survival curves or alternative techniques that address time-varying confounding could lead to better informed decision making around nosocomial infections and other time-dependent exposures.
This scoping review was undertaken to provide an overview of peer-reviewed empirical evidence concerning the undertaking of Life Story Work (LSW) with children and young people with care experience (CYPCE). Our search identified 1,336 potentially relevant publications. Of these, 24 empirical studies met our inclusion criteria and examined a wide range of practices in different countries. Using a thematic approach, key findings and characteristics related to current conceptualizations of LSW are explored and knowledge gaps identified. Our review shows that predominantly small-scale qualitative studies have been undertaken. These studies typically reported participants’ experiences and perspectives on pre-existing LSW practices (17 articles), or evaluations of innovative practices (7 articles). However, both lacked efficacy data. We identified numerous LSW practices that were consistently identified as providing “high-quality” experiences: young person-led approaches; consistent support to access and process personal information, including chronological facts, reasons for care entry and beyond; the use of artifacts; and assistance/training for carers supporting LSW. The included studies also identified practices that undermined LSW: rushed, incomplete accounts, using insensitive language that failed to include different voices from a young person’s past. The discussion appraises the findings through a critical lens and concludes that LSW is a clear priority for all and represents an intervention that has potential to help the unaddressed mental health needs of CYPCE. Unfortunately, without better evidence on how this intervention works best, for whom, over what period, and at what cost, practice cannot move forward. This paper challenges all stakeholders to realize this potential.
The Role of Trust and Hope in Antipsychotic Medication Reviews in Primary Care Settings: A Realist Review.
Abstract Background: Increasing number of service users diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis are being discharged from specialist secondary care services to primary care, many of whom are prescribed long-term antipsychotics. It is unclear if General Practitioners have the confidence and experience to appropriately review and adjust doses of antipsychotic medication without secondary care support.Aim: To explore barriers and facilitators of conducting antipsychotic medication reviews in primary care for individuals with no specialist mental health inputDesign & Setting: Realist review in general practice settings. Method: A realist review has been conducted to synthesise evidence on antipsychotic medication reviews conducted in primary care with service users diagnosed with schizophrenia and/or psychosis. Following initial scoping searches and discussions with stakeholders, a systematic search and iterative secondary searches were conducted. Articles were systematically screened and analysed to develop a realist programme theory explaining the contexts (C) and mechanisms (M) which facilitate or prevent antipsychotic medication reviews (O) in primary care settings, and the potential outcomes of medication reviews.Results: Antipsychotic medication reviews may not occur for individuals with only primary care medical input. Several, often mutually reinforcing, mechanisms have been identified as potential barriers to carrying out meaningful reviews, including low expectations of recovery for people with severe mental illness, a perceived lack of capability to understand and participate in medication reviews, linked with a lack of information shared in appointments between GPs and Service Users, and perceived risk and uncertainty regarding antipsychotic medication and illness trajectory. Conclusions: The review identified reciprocal and reinforcing stereotypes affecting both GPs and service users. Possible mechanisms to counteract these barriers are discussed, including realistic expectations of medication, and the need for increased information sharing and trust between GPs and service users.
Management of penicillin allergy in primary care: a qualitative study with patients and primary care physicians
Background: Six percent of patients are allergic to penicillin according to their medical records. While this designation protects a small number of truly allergic patients from serious reactions, those who are incorrectly labelled may be denied access to recommended first line treatment for many infections. Removal of incorrect penicillin allergy may have positive health consequences for the individual and the general population. We aimed to explore primary care physicians’ (PCPs) and patients’ views and understanding of penicillin allergy with a focus on clinical management of infections in the face of a penicillin allergy record. Methods: We conducted an interview study with 31 patients with a penicillin allergy record, and 19 PCPs in the North of England. Data were analysed thematically. Results: Patients made sense of their allergy status by considering the timing and severity of symptoms. Diagnosis of penicillin allergy was reported to be ‘imperfect’ with PCPs relying on patient reports and incomplete medical records. PCPs and patients often suspected that an allergy record was incorrect, but PCPs were reluctant to change records. PCPs had limited knowledge of allergy services. PCPs often prescribed alternative antibiotics which were easy to identify. Both patients and PCPs differed in the extent to which they were aware of the negative consequences of incorrect penicillin allergy records, their relevance and importance to their lives, and management of penicillin allergy. Conclusions: PCPs and patients appear insufficiently aware of potential harms associated with incorrect penicillin allergy records. Some of the problems experienced by PCPs could be reduced by ensuring the details of newly diagnosed reactions to antibiotics are clearly documented. In order for PCPs to overturn more incorrect penicillin records through appropriate use of allergy services, more information and training about these services will be needed.
Foreign objects in college bodies: young women’s feelings about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) are now recommended for use among nulliparous young women to prevent unintended pregnancy. While research has explored LARC knowledge, attitudes, and use among young women in the United States, college women’s feelings about LARC have received limited attention. This article reports findings from a focus group study conducted with a convenience sample of 45 women, ages 18–25 years, enrolled in a large public university in the southeastern USA in April 2017. Focus groups combined LARC users and non-users and elicited a range of positive and negative affective responses to LARC. Some participants had an aversion to LARC because they perceived them to be unnatural, while others felt a sense of security because of their long-term effectiveness. Feelings about the location and mode of insertion for the intrauterine device (IUD) versus the implant played a significant role in the decision to use a specific LARC method: some found being able to feel the implant in their arm reassuring, while others found it disturbing and preferred the IUD. College-going LARC users also appear to be effective advocates for LARC use among their peers.
Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 in older peoPLE (PRINCIPLE): Protocol for a randomised, controlled, open-label, adaptive platform, trial of community treatment of COVID-19 syndromic illness in people at higher risk
Introduction There is an urgent need to idenfy treatments for COVID-19 that reduce illness duration and hospital admission in those at higher risk of a longer illness course and complications. Methods and analysis The Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older peoPLE trial is an open-label, multiarm, prospective, adaptive platform, randomised clinical trial to evaluate potential treatments for COVID-19 in the community. A master protocol governs the addition of new interventions as they become available, as well as the inclusion and cessation of existing intervention arms via frequent interim analyses. The first three interventions are hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and doxycycline. Eligible participants must be symptomatic in the community with possible or confirmed COVID-19 that started in the preceding 14 days and either (1) aged 65 years and over or (2) aged 50-64 years with comorbidities. Recruitment is through general practice, health service helplines, COVID-19 'hot hubs' and directly through the trial website. Participants are randomised to receive either usual care or a study drug plus usual care, and outcomes are collected via daily online symptom diary for 28 days from randomisation. The research team contacts participants and/or their study partner following days 7, 14 and 28 if the online diary is not completed. The trial has two coprimary endpoints: time to first self-report of feeling recovered from possible COVID-19 and hospital admission or death from possible COVID-19 infection, both within 28 days from randomisation. Prespecified interim analyses assess efficacy or futility of interventions and to modify randomisation probabilities that allocate more participants to interventions with better outcomes. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval Ref: 20/SC/0158 South Central - Berkshire Research Ethics Committee; IRAS Project ID: 281958; EudraCT Number: 2020-001209-22. Results will be presented to policymakers and at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Trial registration number ISRCTN86534580.
‘You just have to learn to keep moving on’: young women’s experiences with unplanned pregnancy in the Cook Islands
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The Cook Islands is one of several countries in the Pacific region that has high rates of teenage pregnancy and birth. While the social determinants of pregnancy and early motherhood are well established in the global context, little is known about how Cook Islands young women who become pregnant before age 20 make sense of their experiences. Drawing on individual interviews with a purposive sample of 10 young mothers, this paper examines the phenomenology of early pregnancy from their perspectives. Structural, cultural and individual factors emerged as salient themes in participants’ accounts. Qualitative analysis revealed that nearly all the pregnancies were unplanned and every participant reacted negatively when she learned she was pregnant. While some participants wanted to terminate their pregnancies, lack of access to safe, legal and affordable abortion care limited their options. Ultimately, while nearly all participants wished they had been able to delay motherhood, they expressed happiness and pride about their new-found status as mothers. These findings allow for a fuller understanding of factors shaping young women’s experiences of pregnancy in the Cook Islands, which have policy implications for reproductive health and rights.
Protocol for ‘virtual presence’: a qualitative study of the cultural dialectic between loneliness and technology
IntroductionMost research on loneliness comes from the health sciences, statistically seeking to measure the health-related effects of feeling alone or isolated. There is a need to expand on this understanding and explore loneliness as a more complex social phenomenon. In this article, we present a qualitative design for studying the intersection between loneliness, technology and culture. Conceptualising this as the cultural dialectic between loneliness and technology, we aim to unpack the reciprocal ways by which understandings of loneliness shape technology, while technologies also affect society’s understandings of loneliness. In elucidating this dialectic, we aim to develop new knowledge and a novel theoretical framework for understanding loneliness and its technological solutions, which, in turn, can enable better solutions to contemporary problems of loneliness.Methods and analysisWe will adopt a qualitative approach that combines interviews, participant observation and textual analysis to explore loneliness and its technological solutions from the perspectives of policy-makers, producers, professionals and users in Norway and the UK. The data will be analysed through an analytical framework combining insights from discourse theory and philosophical debates on presence, which will allow us to capture and rethink fundamental assumptions about loneliness and technology. Outcomes will be revised understandings of loneliness, relevant to researchers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, clinicians, educators and the broader public.Ethics and disseminationThe project has been evaluated and approved by the data protection officer at Oslo Metropolitan University and by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services. Additional ethical approval for data collection in the UK has been provided by the University of Oxford Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee. Informed consent will be obtained from all participants. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, international conference presentations and lay media.