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  • The Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire: conceptual framework and item development.

    24 January 2019

    PURPOSE: To identify the main issues of importance when living with long-term conditions to refine a conceptual framework for informing the item development of a patient-reported outcome measure for long-term conditions. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews (n=48) were conducted with people living with at least one long-term condition. Participants were recruited through primary care. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by thematic analysis. The analysis served to refine the conceptual framework, based on reviews of the literature and stakeholder consultations, for developing candidate items for a new measure for long-term conditions. RESULTS: Three main organizing concepts were identified: impact of long-term conditions, experience of services and support, and self-care. The findings helped to refine a conceptual framework, leading to the development of 23 items that represent issues of importance in long-term conditions. The 23 candidate items formed the first draft of the measure, currently named the Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire. CONCLUSION: The aim of this study was to refine the conceptual framework and develop items for a patient-reported outcome measure for long-term conditions, including single and multiple morbidities and physical and mental health conditions. Qualitative interviews identified the key themes for assessing outcomes in long-term conditions, and these underpinned the development of the initial draft of the measure. These initial items will undergo cognitive testing to refine the items prior to further validation in a survey.

  • An internet-delivered handwashing intervention to modify influenza-like illness and respiratory infection transmission (PRIMIT): A primary care randomised trial

    24 January 2019

    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Background Handwashing to prevent transmission of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) has been widely advocated, especially during the H1N1 pandemic. However, the role of handwashing is debated, and no good randomised evidence exists among adults in non-deprived settings. We aimed to assess whether an internet-delivered intervention to modify handwashing would reduce the number of RTIs among adults and their household members. Methods We recruited individuals sharing a household by mailed invitation through general practices in England. After consent, participants were randomised online by an automated computer-generated random number programme to receive either no access or access to a bespoke automated web-based intervention that maximised handwashing intention, monitored handwashing behaviour, provided tailored feedback, reinforced helpful attitudes and norms, and addressed negative beliefs. We enrolled participants into an additional cohort (randomised to receive intervention or no intervention) to assess whether the baseline questionnaire on handwashing would affect handwashing behaviour. Participants were not masked to intervention allocation, but statistical analysis commands were constructed masked to group. The primary outcome was number of episodes of RTIs in index participants in a modified intention-to-treat population of randomly assigned participants who completed follow-up at 16 weeks. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN75058295. Findings Across three winters between Jan 17, 2011, and March 31, 2013, we enrolled 20 066 participants and randomly assigned them to receive intervention (n=10 040) or no intervention (n=10 026). 16 908 (84%) participants were followed up with the 16 week questionnaire (8241 index participants in intervention group and 8667 in control group). After 16 weeks, 4242 individuals (51%) in the intervention group reported one or more episodes of RTI compared with 5135 (59%) in the control group (multivariate risk ratio 0·86, 95% CI 0·83-0·89; p<0·0001). The intervention reduced transmission of RTIs (reported within 1 week of another household member) both to and from the index person. We noted a slight increase in minor self-reported skin irritation (231 [4%] of 5429 in intervention group vs 79 [1%] of 6087 in control group) and no reported serious adverse events. Interpretation In non-pandemic years, an effective internet intervention designed to increase handwashing could have an important effect in reduction of infection transmission. In view of the heightened concern during a pandemic and the likely role of the internet in access to advice, the intervention also has potential for effective implementation during a pandemic.

  • Randomised controlled feasibility trial of a web-based weight management intervention with nurse support for obese patients in primary care

    24 January 2019

    Background: There is a need for cost-effective weight management interventions that primary care can deliver to reduce the morbidity caused by obesity. Automated web-based interventions might provide a solution, but evidence suggests that they may be ineffective without additional human support. The main aim of this study was to carry out a feasibility trial of a web-based weight management intervention in primary care, comparing different levels of nurse support, to determine the optimal combination of web-based and personal support to be tested in a full trial. Methods: This was an individually randomised four arm parallel non-blinded trial, recruiting obese patients in primary care. Following online registration, patients were randomly allocated by the automated intervention to either usual care, the web-based intervention only, or the web-based intervention with either basic nurse support (3 sessions in 3 months) or regular nurse support (7 sessions in 6 months). The main outcome measure (intended as the primary outcome for the main trial) was weight loss in kg at 12 months. As this was a feasibility trial no statistical analyses were carried out, but we present means, confidence intervals and effect sizes for weight loss in each group, uptake and retention, and completion of intervention components and outcome measures. Results: All randomised patients were included in the weight loss analyses (using Last Observation Carried Forward). At 12 months mean weight loss was: usual care group (n = 43) 2.44 kg; web-based only group (n = 45) 2.30 kg; basic nurse support group (n = 44) 4.31 kg; regular nurse support group (n = 47) 2.50 kg. Intervention effect sizes compared with usual care were: d = 0.01 web-based; d = 0.34 basic nurse support; d = 0.02 regular nurse support. Two practices deviated from protocol by providing considerable weight management support to their usual care patients. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of delivering a web-based weight management intervention supported by practice nurses in primary care, and suggests that the combination of the web-based intervention with basic nurse support could provide an effective solution to weight management support in a primary care context.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN31685626. © 2014 Yardley et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

  • Exploring weight loss services in primary care and staff views on using a web-based programme

    24 January 2019

    Background Demand is increasing for primary care to deliver effective weight management services to patients, but research suggests that staff feel inadequately resourced for such a role. Supporting service delivery with a free and effective web-based weight management programme could maximise primary care resource and provide cost-effective support for patients. However, integration of e-health into primary care may face challenges. Objectives To explore primary care staff experiences of delivering weight management services and their perceptions of a web-based weight management programme to aid service delivery. Methods Focus groups were conducted with primary care physicians, nurses and healthcare assistants (n = 36) involved in delivering weight loss services. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results Participants thought that primary care should be involved in delivering weight management, especially when weight was aggravating health problems. However, they felt under-resourced to deliver these services and unsure as to the effectiveness of their input, as routine services were not evaluated. Beliefs that current services were ineffective resulted in staff reluctance to allocate more resources. Participants were hopeful that supplementing practice with a web-based weight management programme would enhance patient services and promote service evaluation. Conclusions Although primary care staff felt they should deliver weight loss services, low levels of faith in the efficacy of current treatments resulted in provision of under-resourced and 'ad hoc' services. Integration of a web-based weight loss programme that promotes service evaluation and provides a cost-effective option for supporting patients may encourage practices to invest more in weight management services. © 2012 PHCSG, British Computer Society.

  • Menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer: What is the true size of the increased risk?

    24 January 2019

    © 2016 Cancer Research UK. Background:Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) increases breast cancer risk; however, most cohort studies omit MHT use after enrolment and many infer menopausal age.Methods:We used information from serial questionnaires from the UK Generations Study cohort to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for breast cancer among post-menopausal women with known menopausal age, and examined biases induced when not updating data on MHT use and including women with inferred menopausal age.Results:Among women recruited in 2003-2009, at 6 years of follow-up, 58 148 had reached menopause and 96% had completed a follow-up questionnaire. Among 39 183 women with known menopausal age, 775 developed breast cancer, and the HR in relation to current oestrogen plus progestogen MHT use (based on 52 current oestrogen plus progestogen MHT users in breast cancer cases) relative to those with no previous MHT use was 2.74 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.05-3.65) for a median duration of 5.4 years of current use, reaching 3.27 (95% CI: 1.53-6.99) at 15+ years of use. The excess HR was underestimated by 53% if oestrogen plus progestogen MHT use was not updated after recruitment, 13% if women with uncertain menopausal age were included, and 59% if both applied. The HR for oestrogen-only MHT was not increased (HR=1.00; 95% CI: 0.66-1.54).Conclusions:Lack of updating MHT status through follow-up and inclusion of women with inferred menopausal age is likely to result in substantial underestimation of the excess relative risks for oestrogen plus progestogen MHT use in studies with long follow-up, limited updating of exposures, and changing or short durations of use.

  • Psychological stress, adverse life events and breast cancer incidence: A cohort investigation in 106,000 women in the United Kingdom

    24 January 2019

    © 2016 The Author(s). Background: Women diagnosed with breast cancer frequently attribute their cancer to psychological stress, but scientific evidence is inconclusive. We investigated whether experienced frequency of stress and adverse life events affect subsequent breast cancer risk. Methods: Breast cancer incidence was analysed with respect to stress variables collected at enrolment in a prospective cohort study of 106,000 women in the United Kingdom, with 1783 incident breast cancer cases. Relative risks (RR) were obtained as hazard ratios using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: There was no association of breast cancer risk overall with experienced frequency of stress. Risk was reduced for death of a close relative during the 5years preceding study entry (RR=0.87, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.78-0.97), but not for death of a spouse/partner or close friend, personal illness/injury, or divorce/separation. There was a positive association of divorce with oestrogen-receptor-negative (RR=1.54, 95% CI: 1.01-2.34), but not with oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer. Risk was raised in women who were under age 20 at the death of their mother (RR=1.31, 95% CI: 1.02-1.67), but not of their father, and the effect was attenuated after excluding mothers with breast or ovarian cancer (RR=1.17, 95% CI: 0.85-1.61). Conclusions: This large prospective study did not show consistent evidence for an association of breast cancer risk with perceived stress levels or adverse life events in the preceding 5years, or loss of parents during childhood and adolescence.

  • 30-year trends in admission rates for encephalitis in children in England and effect of improved diagnostics and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination: a population-based observational study

    24 January 2019

    © 2017 Elsevier Ltd Background Encephalitis is a serious neurological disorder, yet data on admission rates for all-cause childhood encephalitis in England are scarce. We aimed to estimate admission rates for childhood encephalitis in England over 33 years (1979–2011), to describe trends in admission rates, and to observe how these rates have varied with the introduction of vaccines and improved diagnostics. Methods We did a retrospective analysis of hospital admission statistics for encephalitis for individuals aged 0–19 years using national data from the Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE, 1979–85) and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES, 1990–2011). We analysed annual age-specific and age-standardised admission rates in single calendar years and admission rate trends for specified aetiologies in relation to introduction of PCR testing and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. We compared admission rates between the two International Classification of Diseases (ICD) periods, ICD9 (1979–94) and ICD10 (1995–2011). Findings We found 16 571 encephalitis hospital admissions in the period 1979–2011, with a mean hospital admission rate of 5·97 per 100 000 per year (95% CI 5·52–6·41). Hospital admission rates declined from 1979 to 1994 (ICD9; annual percentage change [APC] −3·30%; 95% CI −2·88 to −3·66; p<0·0001) and increased between 1995 and 2011 (ICD10; APC 3·30%; 2·75–3·85; p<0·0001). Admissions for measles decreased by 97% (from 0·32 to 0·009) and admissions for mumps encephalitis decreased by 98% (from 0·60 to 0·01) after the introduction of the two-dose MMR vaccine. Hospital admission rates for encephalitis of unknown aetiology have increased by 37% since the introduction of PCR testing. Interpretation Hospital admission rates for all-cause childhood encephalitis in England are increasing. Admissions for measles and mumps encephalitis have decreased substantially. The numbers of encephalitis admissions without a specific diagnosis are increasing despite availability of PCR testing, indicating the need for strategies to improve aetiological diagnosis in children with encephalitis. Funding None.

  • whoishRisk - an R package to calculate WHO/ISH cardiovascular risk scores for all epidemiological subregions of the world

    24 January 2019

    © 2017 Collins D et al. The World Health Organisation and International Society of Hypertension (WHO/ISH) cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment charts have been implemented in many low- and middle-income countries as part of the WHO Package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease (PEN) Interventions for Primary Health Care in Low-Resource settings. Evaluation of the WHO/ISH cardiovascular risk charts and their use is a key priority and since they only existed in paper or PDF formats, we developed an R implementation of the charts for all epidemiological subregions of the world. The main strengths of this implementation are that it is built in a free, open-source, coding language with simple syntax, can be downloaded from github as a package ("whoishRisk"), and can be used with a standard computer.

  • Introduction

    24 January 2019

    © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Therese Feiler, Joshua Hordern and Andrew Papanikitas; individual chapters, the contributors. This book offers an interdisciplinary collection of papers that analyse the phenomenon of marketisation in healthcare.