Oral contraceptive use: interview data versus pharmacy records.
BACKGROUND: If women tend to forget and underreport their past oral contraceptive (OC) use, but the recall among cases is enhanced by the presence of disease, recall bias may explain some reported health effects of OC use. METHODS: Two different sources of information on lifetime OC use were compared for 427 (84%) of a community-based sample of 511 women aged 20-34: (i) structured interviews, using a life event calendar and picture display as memory aids, and (ii) a register of all prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies in the county since 1970. RESULTS: Interview data and pharmacy records showed high levels of agreement for any OC use, current use, time since first and last use, total duration of use, and for duration of use in different 'time windows'. But there was a tendency to under-report specific kinds of OC used in the past. CONCLUSION: Underreporting of OC use among non-cases would usually introduce little or no bias (as compared to pharmacy records) for this kind of interview and women. However, it may be preferable to use interviews for current OC use, and pharmacy records for specific kinds of OC used in the past. (+info)
Influenza vaccination among the elderly in Italy.
This article surveys the attitudes and perceptions of a random sample of the elderly population in three regions of Italy on the use and efficacy of influenza vaccine. The data were collected by direct interviews using a standard questionnaire. The results show that vaccination coverage against influenza is inadequate (26-48.6%). The major reasons for nonvaccination were lack of faith in the vaccine and disbelief that influenza is a dangerous illness. These data emphasize the need for a systematic education programme targeted at the elderly and the provision of influenza vaccination, with the increased cooperation of general practitioners. (+info)
The Montefiore community children's project: a controlled study of cognitive and emotional problems of homeless mothers and children.
OBJECTIVES: This study compares the prevalence of emotional, academic, and cognitive impairment in children and mothers living in the community with those living in shelters for the homeless. METHOD: In New York City, 82 homeless mothers and their 102 children, aged 6 to 11, recruited from family shelters were compared to 115 nonhomeless mothers with 176 children recruited from classmates of the homeless children. Assessments included standardized tests and interviews. RESULTS: Mothers in shelters for the homeless showed higher rates of depression and anxiety than did nonhomeless mothers. Boys in homeless shelters showed higher rates of serious emotional and behavioral problems. Both boys and girls in homeless shelters showed more academic problems than did nonhomeless children. CONCLUSION: Study findings suggest a need among homeless children for special attention to academic problems that are not attributable to intellectual deficits in either children or their mothers. Although high rates of emotional and behavioral problems characterized poor children living in both settings, boys in shelters for the homeless may be particularly in need of professional attention. (+info)
Mediators of ethnic-associated differences in infant birth weight.
PURPOSE: To examine whether ethnic differences in low birth weight babies of low-income women may be explained in part by group differences in prenatal health behaviors and psychosocial factors. METHODS: A prospective, survey of 1,071 low-income, primiparous African-American and Mexican-origin women was conducted in Los Angeles County, California. In face-to-face interviews, data were obtained on substance use, prenatal stress, social support, attitudes toward pregnancy, initiation of prenatal care, and medical risk. Medical chart data were abstracted regarding medical risk factors and labor, delivery, and neonatal data. Interview data were linked with birth outcome data retrieved from maternal medical records. Structural equation modeling was used to test a hypothesized model in which differences in birth weight were expected to be mediated by ethnic differences in substance use, psychosocial factors, and medical risk. RESULTS: As expected, African-American women delivered babies of earlier gestational age and lower birth weight than did women of Mexican origin. Direct predictors of low birth weight were use of drugs and cigarettes, prenatal stress, and positive attitudes toward pregnancy; together, these factors accounted for the observed ethnic differences in birth weight. CONCLUSION: These data contribute to our understanding of the factors that may account for ethnic-associated differences in low birth weight. (+info)
The validation of interviews for estimating morbidity.
Health interview surveys have been widely used to measure morbidity in developing countries, particularly for infectious diseases. Structured questionnaires using algorithms which derive sign/symptom-based diagnoses seem to be the most reliable but there have been few studies to validate them. The purpose of validation is to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of brief algorithms (combinations of signs/symptoms) which can then be used for the rapid assessment of community health problems. Validation requires a comparison with an external standard such as physician or serological diagnoses. There are several potential pitfalls in assessing validity, such as selection bias, differences in populations and the pattern of diseases in study populations compared to the community. Validation studies conducted in the community may overcome bias caused by case selection. Health centre derived estimates can be adjusted and applied to the community with caution. Further study is needed to validate algorithms for important diseases in different cultural settings. Community-based studies need to be conducted, and the utility of derived algorithms for tracking disease frequency explored further. (+info)
Safe working practices and HIV infection: knowledge, attitudes, perception of risk, and policy in hospital.
OBJECTIVES--To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of risk of occupational HIV transmission in hospital in relation to existing guidelines. DESIGN--Cross sectional anonymous questionnaire survey of all occupational groups. SETTING--One large inner city teaching hospital. SUBJECTS--All 1530 staff working in the hospital in October 1991 and 22 managers. MAIN MEASURES--Knowledge of safe working practices and hospital guidelines; attitudes towards patients with AIDS; perception of risk of occupational transmission of HIV; availability of guidelines. RESULTS--The response rate in the questionnaire survey was 63% (958/1530). Although staff across all occupational groups knew of the potential risk of infection from needlestick injury (98%, 904/922), significantly more non-clinical staff (ambulance, catering, and domestic staff) than clinical staff (doctors, nurses, and paramedics) thought HIV could be transmitted by giving blood (38%, 153/404 v 12%, 40/346; chi 2 = 66.1 p < 0.001); one in ten clinical staff believed this. Except for midwives, half of staff in most occupational groups and 19% (17/91) of doctors and 22% (28/125) of nurses thought gloves should be worn in all contacts with people with AIDS. Most staff (62%, 593/958), including 38% (36/94) of doctors and 52% (67/128) of nurses thought patients should be routinely tested on admission, 17% of doctors and 19% of nurses thought they should be isolated in hospital. One in three staff perceived themselves at risk of HIV. Midwives, nurses, and theatre technicians were most aware of guidelines for safe working compared with only half of doctors, ambulance, and paramedical staff and no incinerator staff. CONCLUSIONS--Policy guidelines for safe working practices for patients with HIV infection and AIDS need to be disseminated across all occupational groups to reduce negative staff attitudes, improve knowledge of occupational transmission, establish an appropriate perception of risk, and create a supportive and caring hospital environment for people with HIV. IMPLICATIONS--Managers need to disseminate policy guidelines and information to all staff on an ongoing basis. (+info)
Developing role of medical audit advisory groups.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the approaches to audit of different medical audit advisory groups (MAAGs) and to consider the implications for evaluation of their activities and their developing role in the light of new priorities for clinical audit. DESIGN: Qualitative study based on semistructured interviews. SETTING: 15 family health services authority (FHSA) districts in two English health regions. SUBJECTS: MAAG chairpersons and support staff and FHSA general managers and medical advisors in each district, totalling 68 subjects. MAIN MEASURES: Structures and activities of MAAGs; perceptions of the MAAG's role and its achievements compared with the initial brief in a health circular in 1990. RESULTS: The approaches of different MAAGs varied considerably: some concentrated on promoting audit and others were involved in a wider range of development activities. MAAGs assessed their progress in various different ways. The importance of collaborative working was recognised, but few interface audit projects had been undertaken. MAAGs had little contact with other quality assurance activities in the FHSA, and FHSA involvement in the MAAG strategy was variable, although MAAGs were taking steps to improve communication with the FHSA. CONCLUSIONS: Major differences exist in the approaches taken by MAAGs and the roles they fulfil, which will make evaluation of their effectiveness a complex task. Already MAAGs are responding to changing expectations about audit and pressure for closer links with management. (+info)
Diabetes care: who are the experts?
OBJECTIVES: To identify issues that patients and professionals consider important in diabetes care and differences in their priorities for care and to determine patients' and professionals' judgements of the relative importance of their chosen priorities. DESIGN: Structured group interviews using the nominal group technique. SETTING: Five district health authorities on Tyneside. SUBJECTS: Five nominal groups: expert (seven), non-expert (seven) health care professionals; insulin dependent (four), non-insulin dependent patients (eight); and carers of diabetic patients (eight). MAIN MEASURES: Items important in diabetes care to each nominal group (themes of care), ranked into a series of "top 10" items for each group, and allocated a score according to relative importance to individual members; scores were standardised by individual weighting and group weighting for comparison within and between groups. RESULTS: Patients and professionals agreed that information given to patients, interaction between professionals and patients, patient autonomy, and access were important for good diabetes care, but the importance assigned to each differed. Thus the professionals emphasised empathy and aspects of good communication and patients the desire to know enough to live a "normal" life. Differences were also found within the patient groups; these related to changes in patients' needs at specific points in the development of their illness and in their orientations to care. CONCLUSION: Patients differ from professionals in their orientation to diabetes care, and they can, and should, be involved in setting priorities for care. Since these priorities are dynamic further work is needed to explore the nature of patient satisfaction with diabetes care. (+info)