Socioeconomic inequalities and disability pension in middle-aged men.
BACKGROUND: The issue of inequalities in health has generated much discussion and socioeconomic status is considered an important variable in studies of health. It is frequently used in epidemiological studies, either as a possible risk factor or a confounder and the aim of this study was to analyse the relation between socioeconomic status and risk of disability pension. METHODS: Five complete birth year cohorts of middle-aged male residents in Malmo were invited to a health survey and 5782 with complete data constituted the cohort in this prospective study. Each subject was followed for approximately 11 years and nationwide Swedish data registers were used for surveillance. RESULTS: Among the 715 men (12%), granted disability pension during follow-up, three groups were distinguished. The cumulative incidence of disability pension among blue collar workers was 17% and among lower and higher level white collar workers, 11% and 6% respectively. With simultaneous adjustment for biological risk factors and job conditions, the relative risk for being granted a disability pension (using higher level white collar workers as reference) was 2.5 among blue collar workers and 1.6 among lower level white collar workers. CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic status, as defined by occupation, is a risk factor for being granted disability pension even after adjusting for work conditions and other risk factors for disease. (+info)
Disabling injuries of the cervical spine in Argentine rugby over the last 20 years.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence and risk factors of disabling injuries to the cervical spine in rugby in Argentina. METHODS: A retrospective review of all cases reported to the Medical Committee of the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) and Rugby Amistad Foundation was carried out including a follow up by phone. Cumulative binomial distribution, chi 2 test, Fisher test, and comparison of proportions were used to analyse relative incidence and risk of injury by position and by phase of play (Epi Info 6, Version 6.04a). RESULTS: Eighteen cases of disabling injury to the cervical spine were recorded from 1977 to 1997 (0.9 cases per year). The forwards (14 cases) were more prone to disabling injury of the cervical spine than the backs (four cases) (p = 0.03). Hookers (9/18) were at highest risk of injury (p < 0.01). The most frequent cervical injuries occurred at the 4th, 5th, and 6th vertebrae. Seventeen of the injuries occurred during match play. Set scrums were responsible for most of the injuries (11/18) but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.44). The mean age of the injured players was 22. Tetraplegia was initially found in all cases. Physical rehabilitation has been limited to the proximal muscles of the upper limbs, except for two cases of complete recovery. One death, on the seventh day after injury, was reported. CONCLUSIONS: The forwards suffered a higher number of injuries than the backs and this difference was statistically significant. The chance of injury for hookers was statistically higher than for the rest of the players and it was particularly linked to scrummaging. However, the number of injuries incurred in scrums was not statistically different from the number incurred in other phases of play. (+info)
Health expectancy indicators.
An outline is presented of progress in the development of health expectancy indicators, which are growing in importance as a means of assessing the health status of populations and determining public health priorities. (+info)
Systematic review of day hospital care for elderly people. The Day Hospital Group.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of day hospital attendance in prolonging independent living for elderly people. DESIGN: Systematic review of 12 controlled clinical trials (available by January 1997) comparing day hospital care with comprehensive care (five trials), domiciliary care (four trials), or no comprehensive care (three trials). SUBJECTS: 2867 elderly people. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Death, institutionalisation, disability, global "poor outcome," and use of resources. RESULTS: Overall, there was no significant difference between day hospitals and alternative services for death, disability, or use of resources. However, compared with subjects receiving no comprehensive care, patients attending day hospitals had a lower odds of death or "poor" outcome (0.72, 95% confidence interval 0.53 to 0.99; P<0.05) and functional deterioration (0.61, 0.38 to 0.97; P<0.05). The day hospital group showed trends towards reductions in hospital bed use and placement in institutional care. Eight trials reported treatment costs, six of which reported that day hospital attendance was more expensive than other care, although only two analyses took into account cost of long term care. CONCLUSIONS: Day hospital care seems to be an effective service for elderly people who need rehabilitation but may have no clear advantage over other comprehensive care. Methodological problems limit these conclusions, and further randomised trials are justifiable. (+info)
Measuring handicap: the London Handicap Scale, a new outcome measure for chronic disease.
OBJECTIVE: To develop a handicap measurement scale in a self completion questionnaire format, with scale weights allowing quantification of handicap at an interval level of measurement. DESIGN: Adaptation of the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and handicaps into a practical questionnaire incorporating the dimensions of handicap mobility, occupation, physical independence, social integration, orientation, and economic self sufficiency and scale weights derived from interviews with a general population sample, with the technique of conjoint analysis. SETTING: Two general practices in different areas of London. SUBJECTS: 240 adults aged 55-74 years randomly selected from the practices, 101 (42%) of whom agreed to be interviewed, and 79 (78%) of whom completed the exercise. MAIN MEASURES: Rating of severity of handicap associated with 30 hypothetical health scenarios on a visual analogue scale, from which was derived a matrix of scale weights ("part utilities") relating to different levels of disadvantage on each dimension, with a formula for combining them into an overall handicap score. Severity scores measured directly for five scenarios not used to derive the scale weights were compared with those calculated from the formula to validate the model. RESULTS: The part utilities obtained conformed with the expected hierarchy for each dimension, confirming the validity of the method. The measured severities and those calculated from the formula for the five scenarios used to validate the model agreed closely (Pearson's r = 0.98, p = 0.0009; Kendall's tau = 1.00, p = 0.007). CONCLUSIONS: This interval level handicap measurement scale will be useful in assessing both specific therapies and health services, in clinical trials, in analyses of cost effectiveness, and in assessments of quality assurance. (+info)
Patient satisfaction: an indicator of quality in disablement services centres.
OBJECTIVES: To develop a patient satisfaction system for disablement services centres and to report on how the initial findings have been used in audit to improve their quality of care and services. DESIGN: Interview survey of randomly selected users attending in three centres: Birmingham (centre X), Oxford (centre Y), and Cambridge (centre Z) to establish core topics for developing a patient satisfaction questionnaire with incorporation into a computer patient satisfaction system (PATSAT) to enable collation of responses to the questionnaire. A pilot of the questionnaire was undertaken in the centres to assess the sensitivity of the questionnaire, which was subsequently used as part of clinical audit process during June 1991 and April 1992 in centre X and the patient satisfaction system used to monitor changes in routine practice. PATIENTS: 123 amputees in the development phase, selected by cluster sampling, and 1103 amputees in the pilot study. MAIN MEASURES: Satisfaction scores for components of the service. RESULTS: The questionnaire included 16 core topics contributing to quality of care and services, including comfort of limbs, appointments, interpersonal aspects of care, a system of support and counselling, and organisation. The pilot survey demonstrated high satisfaction scores for aspects of interpersonal care, organisation, and physical surroundings of the centres and lower satisfaction for counselling services, comfort of the limb and the number of alterations made before the limb was considered acceptable. During the audit in centre X these results prompted changes to care and services which produced significant improvements in satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: The early results suggest that the questionnaire, coupled with PATSAT software system, enable users' views to be expressed, collated, and fed back to staff; the information provided has already prompted change, and the system is sufficiently sensitive to measure changes in satisfaction with the service. (+info)
Opening the debate on DALYs (disability-adjusted life years).
The 1993 World Development Report is proving to be an influential document for the development of the health sector policies in developing countries. One important aspect of the Report concerns its proposals for Disability Adjusted Life Years as a measure of health change and hence effectiveness of interventions. This article comments on the use of such measures in the health policy arena. (+info)
Longer term quality of life and outcome in stroke patients: is the Barthel index alone an adequate measure of outcome?
OBJECTIVES: To consider whether the Barthel Index alone provides sufficient information about the long term outcome of stroke. DESIGN: Cross sectional follow up study with a structured interview questionnaire and measures of impairment, disability, handicap, and general health. The scales used were the hospital anxiety and depression scale, mini mental state examination, Barthel index, modified Rankin scale, London handicap scale, Frenchay activities index, SF36, Nottingham health profile, life satisfaction index, and the caregiver strain index. SETTING: South east London. SUBJECTS: People, and their identified carers, resident in south east London in 1989-90 when they had their first in a life-time stroke aged under 75 years. INTERVENTIONS: Observational study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comparison and correlation of the individual Barthel index scores with the scores on other outcome measures. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty three (42%) people were known to be alive, of whom 106 (86%) were interviewed. The median age was 71 years (range 34-79). The mean interval between the stroke and follow up was 4.9 years. The rank correlation coefficients between the Barthel and the different dimensions of the SF36 ranged from r = 0.217 (with the role emotional dimension) to r = 0.810 (with the physical functioning dimension); with the Nottingham health profile the range was r = -0.189 (with the sleep dimension, NS) to r = -0.840 (with the physical mobility dimension); with the hospital and anxiety scale depression component the coefficient was r = -0.563, with the life satisfaction index r = 0.361, with the London handicap scale r = 0.726 and with the Frenchay activities index r = 0.826. CONCLUSIONS: The place of the Barthel index as the standard outcome measure for populations of stroke patients is still justified for long term follow up, and may be a proxy for different outcome measures intended for the assessment of other domains. (+info)