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)
The relationship between a polymorphism in CYP17 with plasma hormone levels and breast cancer.
The A2 allele of CYP17 has been associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, elevated levels of certain steroid hormones in premenopausal women, and increased breast cancer risk. We prospectively assessed the association between the A2 allele of CYP17 and breast cancer risk in a case-control study nested within the Nurses' Health Study cohort. We also evaluated associations between this CYP17 genotype and plasma steroid hormone levels among postmenopausal controls not using hormone replacement to assess the biological significance of this genetic variant. Women with the A2 allele were not at an increased risk of incident breast cancer [OR (odds ratio), 0.85; 95% CI (confidence interval), 0.65-1.12] or advanced breast cancer (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.54-1.32). We did observe evidence that the inverse association of late age at menarche with breast cancer may be modified by the CYP17 A2 allele. The protective effect of later age at menarche was only observed among women without the A2 allele (A1/A1 genotype: for age at menarche > or =13 versus <13; OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.36-0.90; A1/A2 and A2/A2 genotypes: OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.76-1.45; P for interaction = 0.07). Among controls, we found women with the A2/A2 genotype to have elevated levels of estrone (+14.3%, P = 0.01), estradiol (+13.8%, P = 0.08), testosterone (+8.6%, P = 0.34), androstenedione (+17.1%, P = 0.06), dehydroepiandrosterone (+14.4%, P = 0.02), and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (+7.2%, P = 0.26) compared with women with the A1/A1 genotype. These data suggest that the A2 allele of CYP17 modifies endogenous hormone levels, but is not a strong independent risk factor for breast cancer. (+info)
Lead and hypertension in a sample of middle-aged women.
OBJECTIVES: The role of lead exposure as a risk factor for hypertension is less well defined among women than among men. This case-control study assessed the relation of blood and bone lead concentrations to hypertension in women. METHODS: Cases and controls were a subsample of women from the Nurses' Health Study. Hypertension was defined as a physician diagnosis of hypertension between 1988 and 1994 or measured systolic blood pressure > or = 140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure > or = 90 mm Hg. RESULTS: Mean (SD) blood lead concentration was 0.15 (0.11) mumol/L; mean tibia and patella lead concentrations by K-x-ray fluorescence were 13.3 (9.0) and 17.3 (11.1) micrograms/g, respectively. After adjustment for potentially confounding factors, an increase from the 10th to the 90th percentile of patella lead values (25 micrograms/g) was associated with approximately 2-fold (95% confidence interval = 1.1, 3.2) increased risk of hypertension. There was no association between hypertension and either blood or tibia lead concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support a potentially important role for low-level lead exposure as a risk factor for hypertension among non-occupationally exposed women. (+info)
A management information system for nurse/midwives.
The experiences of nurse/midwives with a simple management information system in the private sector are reported from four facilities in Nigeria. When such a system is being introduced, special attention should be given to strengthening the ability of health workers to record and collate data satisfactorily. (+info)
Noncommunicable disease management in resource-poor settings: a primary care model from rural South Africa.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes and epilepsy are placing an increasing burden on clinical services in developing countries and innovative strategies are therefore needed to optimize existing services. This article describes the design and implementation of a nurse-led NCD service based on clinical protocols in a resource-poor area of South Africa. Diagnostic and treatment protocols were designed and introduced at all primary care clinics in the district, using only essential drugs and appropriate technology; the convenience of management for the patient was highlighted. The protocols enabled the nurses to control the clinical condition of 68% of patients with hypertension, 82% of those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and 84% of those with asthma. The management of NCDs of 79% of patients who came from areas served by village or mobile clinics was transferred from the district hospital to such clinics. Patient-reported adherence to treatment increased from 79% to 87% (P = 0.03) over the 2 years that the service was operating. The use of simple protocols and treatment strategies that were responsive to the local situation enabled the majority of patients to receive convenient and appropriate management of their NCD at their local primary care facility. (+info)
Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women.
BACKGROUND: Experimental studies in laboratory animals and humans suggest that alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) may reduce the risk of arrhythmia. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine the association between dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD). DESIGN: This was a prospective cohort study. The intake of alpha-linolenic acid was derived from a 116-item food-frequency questionnaire completed in 1984 by 76283 women without previously diagnosed cancer or cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: During 10 y of follow-up, we documented 232 cases of fatal IHD and 597 cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction. After adjustment for age, standard coronary risk factors, and dietary intake of linoleic acid and other nutrients, a higher intake of alpha-linolenic acid was associated with a lower relative risk (RR) of fatal IHD; the RRs from the lowest to highest quintiles were 1.0, 0.99, 0.90, 0.67, and 0.55 (95% CI: 0.32, 0.94; P for trend = 0.01). For nonfatal myocardial infarction there was only a modest, nonsignificant trend toward a reduced risk when extreme quintiles were compared (RR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.61, 1.19; P for trend = 0.50). A higher intake of oil and vinegar salad dressing, an important source of alpha-linolenic acid, was associated with reduced risk of fatal IHD when women who consumed this food > or =5-6 times/wk were compared with those who rarely consumed this food (RR: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.27, 0.76; P for trend = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the hypothesis that a higher intake of alpha-linolenic acid is protective against fatal IHD. Higher consumption of foods such as oil-based salad dressing that provide polyunsaturated fats, including alpha-linolenic acid, may reduce the risk of fatal IHD. (+info)
Contrasting views of physicians and nurses about an inpatient computer-based provider order-entry system.
OBJECTIVE: Many hospitals are investing in computer-based provider order-entry (POE) systems, and providers' evaluations have proved important for the success of the systems. The authors assessed how physicians and nurses viewed the effects of one modified commercial POE system on time spent patients, resource utilization, errors with orders, and overall quality of care. DESIGN: Survey. MEASUREMENTS: Opinions of 271 POE users on medicine wards of an urban teaching hospital: 96 medical house officers, 49 attending physicians, 19 clinical fellows with heavy inpatient loads, and 107 nurses. RESULTS: Responses were received from 85 percent of the sample. Most physicians and nurses agreed that orders were executed faster under POE. About 30 percent of house officers and attendings or fellows, compared with 56 percent of nurses, reported improvement in overall quality of care with POE. Forty-four percent of house officers and 34 percent of attendings/fellows reported that their time with patients decreased, whereas 56 percent of nurses indicated that their time with patients increased (P < 0.001). Sixty percent of house officers and 41 percent of attendings/fellows indicated that order errors increased, whereas 69 percent of nurses indicated a decrease or no change in errors. Although most nurses reported no change in the frequency of ordering tests and medications with POE, 61 percent of house officers reported an increased frequency. CONCLUSION: Physicians and nurses had markedly different views about effects of a POE system on patient care, highlighting the need to consider both perspectives when assessing the impact of POE. With this POE system, most nurses saw beneficial effects, whereas many physicians saw negative effects. (+info)
Improving pneumococcal vaccine rates. Nurse protocols versus clinical reminders.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of three interventions designed to improve the pneumococcal vaccination rate. DESIGN: A prospective controlled trial. SETTING: Department of Veterans Affairs ambulatory care clinic. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: There were 3, 502 outpatients with scheduled visits divided into three clinic teams (A, B, or C). INTERVENTIONS: During a 12-week period, each clinic team received one intervention: (A) nurse standing orders with comparative feedback as well as patient and clinician reminders; (B) nurse standing orders with compliance reminders as well as patient and clinician reminders; and (C) patient and clinician reminders alone. Team A nurses (comparative feedback group) received information on their vaccine rates relative to those of team B nurses. Team B nurses (compliance reminders group) received reminders to vaccinate but no information on vaccine rates. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Team A nurses assessed more patients than team B nurses (39% vs 34%, p =.009). However, vaccination rates per total patient population were similar (22% vs 25%, p =.09). The vaccination rates for both team A and team B were significantly higher than the 5% vaccination rate for team C (p <.001). CONCLUSIONS: Nurse-initiated vaccine protocols raised vaccination rates substantially more than a physician and patient reminder system. The nurse-initiated protocol with comparative feedback modestly improved the assessment rate compared with the protocol with compliance reminders, but overall vaccination rates were similar. (+info)