Telephone counseling for smoking cessation: rationales and meta-analytic review of evidence.
We review the various ways in which telephone counseling has been used in smoking cessation programs. Reactive approaches--help lines or crisis lines--attract only a small percentage of eligible smokers but are sensitive to promotional campaigns. While difficult to evaluate, they appear to be efficacious and useful as a public intervention for large populations. Proactive phone counseling has been used in a variety of ways. In 13 randomized trials, most showed significant short-term (3-6 month) effects, and four found substantial long-term differences between intervention and control conditions. A meta-analysis of proactive studies using a best-evidence synthesis confirmed a significant increase in cessation rates compared with control conditions [pooled odds ratios of 1.34 (1.19-1.51) and 1.20 (1.06-1.37) at short- and long-term follow-up, respectively]. Proactive phone counseling appeared most effective when used as the sole intervention modality or when augmenting programs initiated in hospital settings. Suggestions for further research and utilization are offered. (+info)
Satisfaction with telephone advice from an accident and emergency department: identifying areas for service improvement.
OBJECTIVES: Members of the public often telephone general practice, accident and emergency departments, and other health services for advice. However, satisfaction related to telephone consultation has received relatively little attention. This study aimed to describe the views of callers to an accident and emergency department who expressed any element of dissatisfaction about their telephone consultation. This was part of a larger study intended to help identify areas for service improvement. METHODS: A telephone consultation record form was used to document details of advice calls made to the accident and emergency department over a three month period. Callers who provided a telephone number were followed up within 72 hours. The interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, and explored using content analysis for emerging themes related to dissatisfaction. RESULTS: 203 callers were contacted within 72 hours of their call, of which 197 (97%) agreed to participate. 11 (5.6%) expressed global dissatisfaction, and a further 34 (17%) callers expressed at least one element of dissatisfaction at some point during the interview. Sources of dissatisfaction fell into four broad categories, each of which included more specific aspects of dissatisfaction: 36 (80%) callers were dissatisfied with advice issues, 31 (69%) with process aspects, such as the interpersonal skills of the staff member who took the call, 23 (51%) due to lack of acknowledgement of physical or emotional needs, and 11 (24%) due to access problems. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the findings of other work and identifies three issues for particular consideration in improving the practice of telephone consultation: (a) training of health professionals at both undergraduate and specialist levels should cover telephone communication skills, (b) specific attention needs to be given to ensuring that the information and advice given over the phone is reliable and consistent, and (c) organisational change is required, including the introduction of departmental policies for telephone advice which should become the subject of regular audit. (+info)
AIDS information needs: conceptual and content analyses of questions asked of AIDS information hotlines.
Dissemination of accurate information about HIV is an essential element of national AIDS prevention strategies and AIDS telephone hotlines serve a vital function in providing such information. In this study, questions asked of two AIDS information hotlines were collected and examined to determine the AIDS information needs of the general public. Questions asked of local AIDS lines in Houston and Milwaukee (N = 1611) were independently classified into 30 content areas, with two independent raters achieving 94% agreement. The content areas were organized for analysis into 11 broader information domains. Questions about HIV antibody testing were the most frequently asked (27%), followed by questions about sexual transmission of HIV (16%), HIV-related symptoms (16%) and situations that do not confer risk for HIV infection (14%). Content analyses suggested that individuals were motivated to call hotlines by fears of contracting HIV from actual risk behaviors or to dismiss concerns about contracting HIV through casual modes. Many individuals had information needs related to their own personal experiences that could not be addressed through media campaigns or other means of mass public health education. Results suggest that HIV information dissemination to the public through hotlines and other means of direct health education serves both preventive and destigmatizing functions. (+info)
Controlled management of public relations following a public health incident.
This paper describes the management of public relations following an outbreak of multidrug resistant TB at a London hospital. Eight patients were involved, all of the secondary cases occurred in HIV seropositive patients, and three cases died. The paper describes how the the Incident Committee undertook to recall contacts of the cases for screening, inform the general practitioners of all of the contacts about their patients' exposure, warn other organizations and professionals interested or involved in the management of HIV in the London area as to the nature of the incident, and establish a helpline, before informing a wider audience through the EPINET, Communicable Disease Report and national press. (+info)
ChildLine--the first twelve years.
This brief article aims to give a history and overview of ChildLine's work in the first 12 years of its existence and to provide references to more detailed information on a range of issues that children and young people themselves have identified as important. All callers' names and identifying details have been changed to preserve confidentiality. (+info)
Cost analysis of nurse telephone consultation in out of hours primary care: evidence from a randomised controlled trial.
OBJECTIVE: To undertake an economic evaluation of nurse telephone consultation using decision support software in comparison with usual general practice care provided by a general practice cooperative. DESIGN: Cost analysis from an NHS perspective using stochastic data from a randomised controlled trial. SETTING: General practice cooperative with 55 general practitioners serving 97 000 registered patients in Wiltshire, England. SUBJECTS: All patients contacting the service, or about whom the service was contacted during the trial year (January 1997 to January 1998). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Costs and savings to the NHS during the trial year. RESULTS: The cost of providing nurse telephone consultation was 81 237 pound sterling per annum. This, however, determined a 94 422 pound sterling reduction of other costs for the NHS arising from reduced emergency admissions to hospital. Using point estimates for savings, the cost analysis, combined with the analysis of outcomes, showed a dominance situation for the intervention over general practice cooperative care alone. If a larger improvement in outcomes is assumed (upper 95% confidence limit) NHS savings increase to 123 824 pound sterling per annum. Savings of only 3728 pound sterling would, however, arise in a scenario where lower 95% confidence limits for outcome differences were observed. To break even, the intervention would have needed to save 138 emergency hospital admissions per year, around 90% of the effect achieved in the trial. Additional savings of 16 928 pound sterling for general practice arose from reduced travel to visit patients at home and fewer surgery appointments within three days of a call. CONCLUSIONS: Nurse telephone consultation in out of hours primary care may reduce NHS costs in the long term by reducing demand for emergency admission to hospital. General practitioners currently bear most of the cost of nurse telephone consultation and benefit least from the savings associated with it. This indicates that the service produces benefits in terms of service quality, which are beyond the reach of this cost analysis. (+info)
A centralised telephone service for tobacco cessation: the California experience.
OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of the California Smokers' Helpline, an increasingly popular telephone program for tobacco cessation in California since 1992. As many states, regions, and nations are contemplating various telephone programs as part of large scale anti-tobacco campaigns, this paper presents a practical model. DESIGN: The Helpline provides Californians with free cessation services that include counselling, self help quit kits, and cessation related information. Services are provided in six spoken languages plus a line for the hearing impaired. The program is promoted statewide by media campaigns, health care providers, local tobacco control programs, and the public school system. SETTING: The Helpline is centrally operated through the University of California, San Diego and provides services statewide via telephone. RESULTS: The Helpline has served over 100 000 tobacco users and has become the chief cessation resource for the Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program in California. Media was the most important referral source for Helpline callers (50%), followed by health care providers (20%). About one third of the callers were ethnic minorities and 17% were 24 years old or younger. Compared to California smokers in general, the callers were more dependent on nicotine and more likely to live with other smokers, but they were also more likely to have tried to quit recently and were more ready to try again. Two randomised trials have demonstrated the efficacy of the Helpline's counselling protocol. CONCLUSION: A centralised helpline operation can be an accessible and effective service for tobacco users and should be included in any large scale, comprehensive tobacco control program. (+info)
Impact of a telephone helpline for smokers who called during a mass media campaign.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a telephone helpline (Quitline) with additional support (written information) on callers who use the service during a mass media campaign. DESIGN: Telephone recall surveys of callers to the helpline carried out two months and one year after their initial call. SETTING: Telephone helpline. SUBJECTS: Callers to the helpline. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Smoking behaviour change among callers to the helpline at two months and one year. RESULTS: At one year 22% (95% confidence interval (CI) 18.4% to 25.6%) of smokers reported that they had stopped smoking. Assuming that those who refuse to take part in the one year follow up are continuing smokers and a further 20% of reported successes fail biochemical validation, this yields an adjusted quit rate of 15. 6% (95% CI 12.7% to 18.9%) at one year. Among ex-smokers, 41% (95% CI 34.3% to 47.7%) reported that they were still not smoking at one year. The adjusted figure for ex-smokers at one year is 29% (95% CI 23.3% to 34.8%). Of those who resumed smoking 28% were smoking less than they had been initially. Currently Quitline receives around half a million calls in the course of one year, 93% of whom are phoning for themselves. This represents 4.2% of the total population of adults smokers in England. CONCLUSION: The Health Education Authority's advertising campaign was extremely successful in generating calls to the helpline. Very large numbers of smokers from diverse backgrounds, including the key groups highlighted in the UK government's recent proposals on tobacco, called the Quitline, which appeared to be very successful in helping these callers to stop smoking. For a single intervention to reach 4.2% of the total population of adult smokers in England is a major achievement. This makes Quitline a very promising model for public health intervention programs. (+info)