OBJECTIVES: The subject of patient self-determination in health care has gained broad interest because of the increasing number of incompetent patients. In an attempt to solve the problems related to doctors' decision making in such circumstances, advance directives have been developed. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between public attitudes towards patient autonomy and advance directives. SUBJECTS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A stratified random sample of 600 adults in northern Sweden was surveyed by a questionnaire with a response rate of 78.2%. The subjects were asked about their wish for control of their health care, their concerns about health care, their treatment preferences in a life-threatening situation (both reversible and irreversible), and their attitudes towards the application of advance directives. RESULTS: Numerous relationships between various aspects of self-determination in health care (desire for control, fears of over-treatment, and choice of treatment level) in general and advance directives, in particular, were found. Those who wanted to have a say in their health care (about 94%) also mainly supported the use of an advance directive. CONCLUSIONS: The fact that almost 30% of the respondents were undecided concerning their personal use of advance directives points to a lack of knowledge and to the necessity of education of the public on these issues. (+info)
(2/2029) Toward sensitive practice: issues for physical therapists working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The high rates of prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in the United States and Canada suggest that physical therapists work, often unknowingly, with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The purposes of this qualitative study were to explore the reactions of adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse to physical therapy and to listen to their ideas about how practitioners could be more sensitive to their needs. The dynamics and long-term sequelae of childhood sexual abuse, as currently understood by mental health researchers and as described by the participants, are summarized to provide a context for the findings of this study. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Twenty-seven female survivors (aged 19-62 years) participated in semistructured interviews in which they described their reactions to physical therapy. RESULTS: Survivors' reactions to physical therapy, termed "long-term sequelae of abuse that detract from feeling safe in physical therapy," are reported. Participant-identified suggestions that could contribute to the sense of safety are shared. CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION: Although the physical therapist cannot change the survivor's history, an appreciation of issues associated with child sexual abuse theoretically can increase clinicians' understanding of survivors' reactions during treatment. We believe that attention by the physical therapist to the client's sense of safety throughout treatment can maximize the benefits of the physical therapy experience for the client who is a survivor. (+info)
(3/2029) 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)
(4/2029) User fees and patient behaviour: evidence from Niamey National Hospital.
Evidence is presented on the effects of price changes on the delay before seeking care and on referral status in a sample of hospital patients in Niger. Price changes are measured as differences across patients at one hospital in whether or not they pay for care, rather than as differences in prices across several hospitals. User fees are charged, but the fee system allows exemptions for some payor categories such as government employees, students, and indigent patients. Evidence is also presented on the effect of income on the delay before seeking care and referral status. The analysis demonstrates a technical point on whether household consumption or current income is a more appropriate measure of income. The analysis shows that user fees affect patient behaviour, but the effects are not the same for outpatients and inpatients. Outpatients who pay for care wait longer before seeking care, but inpatients do not. Inpatients who pay for care are more likely to be referred, but outpatients are not. Patients with more income wait less time to seek care and are less likely to be referred than other patients. Further, household consumption explains patient behaviour better than current income. (+info)
(5/2029) Knowledge, attitudes and practices during a community-level ivermectin distribution campaign in Guatemala.
Community acceptance and participation are essential for the success of mass ivermectin chemotherapy programmes for onchocerciasis (river blindness). To explore the local understanding of the purpose of ivermectin and willingness to continue taking the drug, we performed questionnaire surveys in four communities with hyperendemic onchocerciasis after each of three ivermectin treatment rounds. More than 100 respondents participated in each KAP survey, representing the heads of 30% of the households in each community. The respondents rarely stated that the goal of the ivermectin treatment programme was to prevent visual loss. Instead, they said they were taking the drug for their general well-being, to cure the onchocercal nodule (filaria), or to cure the microfilaria, a term newly introduced by agents of the treatment programme. The principal reason identified for refusal to take ivermectin was anxiety about drug-related adverse reactions, and there were marked differences between communities in acceptance of treatment. In one community over 50% of residents initially refused to take ivermectin, although participation rates improved somewhat after programmatic adjustments. We recommend that ivermectin distribution programmes establish surveillance activities to detect where acceptance is poor, so that timely and community-specific adjustments may be devised to improve participation. (+info)
(6/2029) Adapting total quality management for general practice: evaluation of a programme.
OBJECTIVE: Assessment of the benefits and limitations of a quality improvement programme based on total quality management principles in general practice over a period of one year (October 1993-4). DESIGN: Questionnaires to practice team members before any intervention and after one year. Three progress reports completed by facilitators at four month intervals. Semistructured interviews with a sample of staff from each practice towards the end of the year. SETTING: 18 self selected practices from across the former Oxford Region. Three members of each practice received an initial residential course and three one day seminars during the year. Each practice was supported by a facilitator from their Medical Audit Advisory Group. MEASURES: Extent of understanding and implementation of quality improvement methodology. Number, completeness, and evaluation of quality improvement projects. Practice team members' attitudes to and involvement in team working and quality improvement. RESULTS: 16 of the 18 practices succeeded in implementing the quality improvement methods. 48 initiatives were considered and staff involvement was broad. Practice members showed increased involvement in, and appreciation of, strategic planning and team working, and satisfaction from improved patients services. 11 of the practices intend to continue with the methodology. The commonest barrier expressed was time. CONCLUSION: Quality improvement programmes based on total quality management principles produce beneficial changes in service delivery and team working in most general practices. It is incompatible with traditional doctor centred practice. The methodology needs to be adapted for primary care to avoid quality improvement being seen as separate from routine activity, and to save time. (+info)
(7/2029) Incorporating patients' voices in the audit process.
Obtaining patients' views about their experiences of care should be an integral part of clinical audit. The importance of listening to patients as an aspect of quality can be attributed, in part, to the growth of consumerism in health care, and this in turn has led to the widespread use of satisfaction surveys to obtain patients' views. This paper raises some doubts about current methods for assessing patient satisfaction, and recommends the use of qualitative methods to capture patients' voices in audit. (+info)
(8/2029) Understanding lay perspectives: care options for STD treatment in Lusaka, Zambia.
Understanding lay persons' perceptions of STD care is critical in the design and implementation of appropriate health services. Using 20 unstructured group interviews, 10 focus group discussions and 4 STD case simulations in selected sub-populations in Lusaka, we investigated lay person perspectives of STD services. The study revealed a large diversity of care options for STD in the communities, including self-care, traditional healers, medicine sold in the markets and streets, injections administered in the compounds, private clinics, health centres and hospital. The factors identified as influencing care seeking behaviour are: lay referral mechanisms, social cost, availability of care options, economics, beliefs, stigma and quality of care as perceived by the users. (+info)