Relationship between practice counselling and referral to outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology.
BACKGROUND: Although reduction in the use of secondary care mental health services is a suggested benefit of counselling in general practice, there has been little empirical investigation of this relationship. AIM: To investigate the relationship between the provision of counselling in general practice and the use of outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology services across a geographical area. METHOD: Information on referrals to outpatient psychiatry and clinical psychology from all general practices in the London Borough of Islington over one year (October 1993 to September 1994) was collected from the routine information systems of the main hospital departments serving this area. Referral rates per 1000 practice population were compared for practices with and without a practice-based counsellor. RESULTS: Fifteen (35%) of the 43 practices had a counsellor based in the practice. The median referral rate to clinical psychology was higher in practices with a counsellor (4.1 per 1000) than in practices without a counsellor (0.8 per 1000). There was no relationship between the provision of practice counselling and median referral rates to outpatient psychiatry (1.8 per 1000 with a counsellor, 1.7 per 1000 without a counsellor). CONCLUSION: Provision of practice counselling in the study was associated with higher referral rates to clinical psychology and no difference in referral rates to outpatient psychiatry. This is in contrast to the hypothesis that counselling reduces the use of secondary care mental health services. (+info)
The self-reported well-being of employees facing organizational change: effects of an intervention.
The objective of this study was to investigate the self-reported well-being of employees facing organizational change, and the effect of an intervention. It was a controlled intervention study. Subjects were allocated to study and control groups, and brief individual counselling was offered to the subjects in the study groups. Questionnaire measures were administered before and after counselling (a 3-month interval), and non-counselled subjects also completed questionnaires at the same times. The setting was 15 estate offices in an urban local authority Housing Department. Subjects comprised the total workforce of the Housing Management division: 193 employees, male and female, aged 22-62 years, facing compulsory competitive tendering between 1994-97. Main outcome measures were baseline and comparative measures of psychological morbidity, including the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI). Questionnaire response rates were 72% and 47% on first and second occasions respectively. The uptake of counselling was 37%. In comparison with (1) the UK norms for the OSI and (2) the norms for a similar occupational group, this group of workers were under more work-related pressure and their self-reported health was markedly poorer. They were not however at a disadvantage in terms of coping strategies. Those accepting the offer of counselling were subject to greater levels of work stress, had poorer self-reported health and markedly lower levels of job satisfaction than those who did not. Questionnaire scores were not significantly different before and after counselling, giving no evidence of treatment effects on symptomatology. However, almost all subjects rated counselling as having been extremely helpful. This study suggests that adverse effects on staff facing organizational change may be ameliorated by improved management practice. (+info)
New therapies and prevention strategies for genital herpes.
Genital herpes is among the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases. Optimal management of genital herpes includes accurate diagnosis, antiviral therapy, and counseling of patients about complications and transmission of herpes simplex virus (HSV). Antiviral therapy offers significant palliation, and the option of episodic or suppressive treatment should be offered to all patients with genital herpes. Valacyclovir and famciclovir are two newer antiviral agents that are effective and safe for the treatment of genital herpes. Prevention strategies for sexual and perinatal transmission of HSV have not been well defined. Availability of type-specific serological tests for HSV antibodies may assist in identifying persons at risk for acquiring or transmitting HSV infection. Further research is needed to define strategies to prevent the spread of this epidemic infection. (+info)
Young women taking isotretinoin still conceive. Role of physicians in preventing disaster.
QUESTION: One of my adolescent patients was prescribed isotretinoin for severe acne by a dermatologist. I was shocked to discover she does not use any means of contraception. The dermatologist insists he told her about the need for contraception. How can we do better? ANSWER: Clearly this dermatologist, like many of his colleagues, does not comply with the Pregnancy Prevention Program. Until physicians become more aware of this program, babies will continue to be born with embryopathy due to isotretinoin. (+info)
Conditions required for a law on active voluntary euthanasia: a survey of nurses' opinions in the Australian Capital Territory.
OBJECTIVES: To ascertain which conditions nurses believe should be in a law allowing active voluntary euthanasia (AVE). DESIGN: Survey questionnaire posted to registered nurses (RNs). SETTING: Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at the end of 1996, when active voluntary euthanasia was legal in the Northern Territory. SURVEY SAMPLE: A random sample of 2,000 RNs, representing 54 per cent of the RN population in the ACT. MAIN MEASURES: Two methods were used to look at nurses' opinions. The first involved four vignettes which varied in terms of critical characteristics of each patient who was requesting help to die. The respondents were asked if the law should be changed to allow any of these requests. There was also a checklist of conditions, most of which have commonly been included in Australian proposed laws on AVE. The respondents chose those which they believed should apply in a law on AVE. RESULTS: The response rate was 61%. Support for a change in the law to allow AVE was 38% for a young man with AIDS, 39% for an elderly man with early stage Alzheimer's disease, 44% for a young woman who had become quadriplegic and 71% for a middle-aged woman with metastases from breast cancer. The conditions most strongly supported in any future AVE law were: "second doctor's opinion", "cooling off period", "unbearable protracted suffering", "patient fully informed about illness and treatment" and "terminally ill". There was only minority support for "not suffering from treatable depression", "administer the fatal dose themselves" and "over a certain age". CONCLUSION: Given the lack of support for some conditions included in proposed AVE laws, there needs to be further debate about the conditions required in any future AVE bills. (+info)
Effectiveness of brief intervention on non-dependent alcohol drinkers (EBIAL): a Spanish multi-centre study.
OBJECTIVE: The project was designed to compare the effectiveness of brief intervention (BI) versus simple advice (SA) in the secondary prevention of hazardous alcohol consumption. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial with a 12-month follow-up was conducted. A total of 74 community-based primary care practices (328 physicians) located in 13 Spanish autonomous regions were recruited initially. Out of 546 men screened, only 229 were randomized into BI (n = 104) and SA (n = 125); 44.6% of practices finalized the study. The interventions on the BI group consisted of a 15-minute counselling visit carried out by physicians which included: (i) alcohol quantification, (ii) information on safe limits, (iii) advice, (iv) drinking limits agreement, (v) self-informative booklet with drinking diary record and (vi) unscheduled reinforcement visits. The SA group spent 5 minutes which included (i), (ii) and (iii). RESULTS: There were no significant differences between both groups at baseline on alcohol use, age, socioeconomic status and CAGE score. After the 12-month follow-up there was a significant decrease in frequency of excessive drinkers (67% of BI group reached targeted consumption, versus 44% of SA; P < 0.001) as well as weekly alcohol intake reduction (BI reached 52 versus 32% in SA; P < 0.001). A trend to improve outcome with the number of reinforcement visits was found with BI. The only predictor of success was the initial alcohol consumption level. CONCLUSIONS: Brief intervention is more effective than simple advice to reduce alcohol intake on adult men who attend primary care services in Spain. (+info)
Empirical comparison of two psychological therapies. Self psychology and cognitive orientation in the treatment of anorexia and bulimia.
The authors investigated the applicability of self psychological treatment (SPT) and cognitive orientation treatment (COT) to the treatment of anorexia and bulimia. Thirty-three patients participated in this study. The bulimic patients (n = 25) were randomly assigned either to SPT, COT, or control/nutritional counseling only (C/NC). The anorexic patients (n = 8) were randomly assigned to either SPT or COT. Patients were administered a battery of outcome measures assessing eating disorders symptomatology, attitudes toward food, self structure, and general psychiatric symptoms. After SPT, significant improvement was observed. After COT, slight but nonsignificant improvement was observed. After C/NC, almost no changes could be detected. (+info)
Voluntary newborn HIV-1 antibody testing: a successful model program for the identification of HIV-1-seropositive infants.
Harlem Hospital in New York City has one of the highest HIV-1 newborn seroprevalence rates in the United States. We report the results of a program introduced in 1993 and designed to identify HIV-1-seropositive (HIV+) newborns at birth. All new mothers, independent of risk, received HIV counseling that emphasized the medical imperative to know the infant's HIV status as well as their own. Consent was obtained to test the infant; discarded cord blood samples were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and when positive, Western Blot confirmation. We compared the number of HIV+ infants identified through voluntary testing with the number reported by the anonymous New York State Newborn HIV Seroprevalence Study. In 1993, 97.8% (91 of 93) of the number of HIV+ infants identified by the anonymous testing were identified through voluntary maternal and newborn testing programs. Eighty-five HIV+ infants were identified before nursery discharge: 50% (42/85) through newborn testing; 14% (12/85) through prenatal testing; 13% (11/85) presented to care knowing their status; 23% (20/85) were known because of a previous HIV+ child. Six additional HIV+ children were diagnosed after hospital discharge (mean age, 5.5 months; range 1.5 through 17 months); four presented with symptomatic disease. The optimal time for identification of the HIV+ pregnant woman is before or during pregnancy, but when this does not occur, voluntary newborn testing can identify many HIV+ infants who would otherwise be discharged undiagnosed from the nursery. (+info)