Randomized, controlled trial to evaluate increased intensity of physiotherapy treatment of arm function after stroke.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Many patients have impaired arm function after stroke, for which they receive physiotherapy. The aim of the study was to determine whether increasing the amount of physiotherapy early after stroke improved the recovery of arm function and to compare the effects of this therapy when administered by a qualified therapist or a trained, supervised assistant. The physiotherapy followed a typical British approach, which is Bobath derived. Ten hours of additional therapy were given over a 5-week period. METHODS: The study design was a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Stroke patients were recruited from those admitted to the hospital in the 5 weeks after stroke. They were randomly allocated to routine physiotherapy, additional treatment by a qualified physiotherapist, or additional treatment by a physiotherapy assistant. Outcome was assessed after 5 weeks of treatment and at 3 and 6 months after stroke on measures of arm function and of independence in activities of daily living. RESULTS: There were 282 patients recruited to the study. The median initial Barthel score was 6.5, and the median age of the patients was 73 years. The median initial Rivermead Motor Assessment Arm score was 1. There were no significant differences between the groups at randomization or on any of the outcome measures. Only half of the patients allocated to the 2 additional-therapy groups completed the program. CONCLUSIONS: This increase in the amount of physiotherapy for arm impairment with a typical British approach given early after stroke did not significantly improve the recovery of arm function in the patients studied. A number of other studies of interventions aimed at rehabilitation of arm function have reported positive results. Such findings may have been due to the content of these interventions, to the greater intensity of the interventions, or to the selection of patients to whom the treatments were applied. (+info)
Competency, board certification, credentialing, and specialization: who benefits?
Pharmacists are concerned with the rapid changes in the healthcare system and what the requirements will be for a pharmacist in the near future. The emergence of board certification, credentialing, and other certification programs for pharmacists are causing significant concern among pharmacists. Pharmacists must assess certification programs and decide on the value of certification to their careers and to the patients they serve. Employers of pharmacists and those paying for healthcare and pharmacy services must also evaluate the value of pharmacists certification. Perhaps the most direct and significant benefit of pharmacist certification lies in the ability of the pharmacist to provide better and more comprehensive care to patients or selected groups of patients (eg, diabetic patients). Better and more comprehensive care provided by a pharmacist benefits the patient, other healthcare professionals, the healthcare system generally, and payers of healthcare and pharmacy services. Demonstrated competence of the pharmacist to provide pharmaceutical care is essential to achieving this benefit. Board certification of pharmacists in current board-recognized specialty areas of nutrition support pharmacy, pharmacotherapy, psychiatric pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, and oncology pharmacy totaled 2075 board certified pharmacists in the United States as of January 1997. (+info)
Epidemiology and screening for prostate cancer.
This activity is designed for primary care physicians, internists, and general audiences. GOAL: To provide the reader with a basic understanding of the controversy surrounding population-based prostate cancer screening and of the tools needed to conduct early detection programs for prostate cancer among enrollees. OBJECTIVES: 1. Become familiar with the national debate regarding population-based prostate cancer screening. 2. Learn the essential elements of prostate specific antigen testing for patients. 3. Understand the cost-effectiveness and medico-legal/informed consent issues surrounding prostate cancer detection and screening. (+info)
Nurses' participation in audit: a regional study.
OBJECTIVES: To find out to what extent nurses were perceived to be participating in audit, to identify factors thought to impede their involvement, and to assess progress towards multidisciplinary audit. RESEARCH DESIGN: Qualitative. METHODS: Focus groups and interviews. PARTICIPANTS: Chairs of audit groups and audit support staff in hospital, community and primary health care and audit leads in health authorities in the North West Region. RESULTS: In total 99 audit leads/support staff in the region participated representing 89% of the primary health care audit groups, 80% of acute hospitals, 73% of community health services, and 59% of purchasers. Many audit groups remain medically dominated despite recent changes to their structure and organisation. The quality of interprofessional relations, the leadership style of the audit chair, and nurses' level of seniority, audit knowledge, and experience influenced whether groups reflected a multidisciplinary, rather than a doctor centred approach. Nurses were perceived to be enthusiastic supporters of audit, although their active participation in the process was considered substantially less than for doctors in acute and community health services. Practice nurses were increasingly being seen as the local audit enthusiasts in primary health care. Reported obstacles to nurses' participation in audit included hierarchical nurse and doctor relationships, lack of commitment from senior doctors and managers, poor organisational links between departments of quality and audit, work load pressures and lack of protected time, availability of practical support, and lack of knowledge and skills. Progress towards multidisciplinary audit was highly variable. The undisciplinary approach to audit was still common, particularly in acute services. Multidisciplinary audit was more successfully established in areas already predisposed towards teamworking or where nurses had high involvement in decision making. Audit support staff were viewed as having a key role in helping teams to adopt a collaborative approach to audit. CONCLUSION: Although nurses were undertaking audit, and some were leading developments in their settings, a range of structural and organisational, interprofessional and intraprofessional factors was still impeding progress. If the ultimate goal of audit is to improve patient care, the obstacles that make it difficult for nurses to contribute actively to the process must be acknowledged and considered. (+info)
The abilities of primary care physicians in dermatology: implications for quality of care.
Quality of care in medicine has become an increasingly important issue as the nature of healthcare delivery has changed. Many managed care systems rely on the primary care physician to serve as a gatekeeper, thereby limiting access to specialist care. Controversy has arisen regarding the abilities of primary care physicians in one such specialty: dermatology. We reviewed the many studies conducted in the United States evaluating primary care physicians' abilities in dermatology. Despite inherent flaws in many of the studies, one can conclude that primary care providers are inferior to dermatologists in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disease. Whether these process-based data predict outcome is not known. (+info)
Evaluation of "solitary" thyroid nodules in a community practice: a managed care approach.
Evaluation of thyroid nodules remains a challenge for primary care physicians. To include or exclude the presence of malignancy in a thyroid nodule, radioisotope scan, ultrasound, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid generally are used. The objectives of this study were to determine the utility and cost effectiveness of fine-needle aspiration biopsy of solitary thyroid nodules in a community setting; to compare the cost of fine-needle aspiration biopsy with that of radioisotope scan and ultrasound; and to determine whether the practice of obtaining radioisotope scans and ultrasound has changed in the 1990s compared with the 1980s. Patients were referred by community physicians to university-based endocrinologists for evaluation of thyroid nodules. Many of the patients had previously undergone radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans at the discretion of their primary care physicians. All patients underwent fine-needle aspiration biopsy. The biopsy results were evaluated prospectively, and the practice of community physicians' obtaining radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans was compared for the 1980s and 1990s. Eighty-three patients underwent 104 biopsies. In 20 biopsies the specimens were inadequate; the others showed 70 benign, 9 suspicious, and 4 malignant lesions. All four patients with biopsy findings read as malignant were found to have malignant growth at surgical procedures. Two benign biopsy findings were false-negative results. Malignant growth was correctly diagnosed later for one patient at a second biopsy and for the other because of growth of the nodule. The cost of 104 biopsies was $20,800. The cost of radioisotope scans was $22,400, and the cost of ultrasound scans was $10,640. The frequency of obtaining radioisotope scans (84.5% vs 77%) and ultrasound scans (65% vs 45%) was slightly higher in the 1990s compared with the 1980s. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is a safe and cost effective initial evaluation modality for smaller community-based centers, as it is at large tertiary centers. The cost incurred ($33,040) in obtaining the radioisotope scans and ultrasound scans could have been saved if fine-needle aspiration biopsy had been used as the initial diagnostic procedure for evaluation of these nodules. Although radioisotope scan and ultrasound scan are of little diagnostic help in the evaluation of thyroid nodules, they continued to be obtained at a high frequency during the last decade. (+info)
Mammography: influence of departmental practice and women's characteristics on patient satisfaction: comparison of six departments in Norway.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate how departmental practice and women's characteristics are related to low patient satisfaction with mammography. DESIGN: Survey of patients by means of self administered questionnaires before and after mammography. PATIENTS: 488 women (89% of those invited), aged 23-86 years, at six departments. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Low level of satisfaction measured on psychometric scales of physical pain, psychological distress, staff punctuality and technical skills, information provided, and physical surroundings. RESULTS: Satisfaction varied by department on the scales for pain, punctuality, information, and surroundings. After adjustment for women's characteristics an attributable risk of negative outcome by department was identified on the scales for pain, distress, punctuality, information, and surroundings. Adjusted odds ratio (ORs) ranged from 0.3 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.2 to 6.0) on the pain scale, to 6.0 (2.9 to 12.3) on the punctuality scale. After adjustment for confounding variables, higher risk of dissatisfaction was associated with age < 50, nervousness about mammography, expected pain, lack of knowledge about mammography, and distrust in mammography (adjusted OR (95% CI) ranged from 1.6 (1.0 to 2.7) to 3.7 (2.0 to 7.3)). CONCLUSION: Departmental practices differed for breast compression, information, punctuality, and facilities and were associated with a low level of satisfaction irrespective of patient characteristics. Women's lack of knowledge about mammography and distrust in the procedure were confirmed as risk factors for dissatisfaction. All these factors might be helped by training the staff, improving facilities, and informing the women. (+info)