(searched for: doi:10.3399/bjgp.2021.0413)
BMC Primary Care, Volume 23, pp 1-17; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01850-4
Background: Having a regular family physician is associated with many benefits. Formal attachment – an administrative patient-family physician agreement – is a popular feature in primary care, intended to improve access to and continuity of care with a family physician. However, little evidence exists about its effectiveness. In Quebec, Canada, where over 20% of the population is unattached, centralized waiting lists help attach patients. This provides a unique opportunity to observe the influence of attachment in previously unattached patients. The aim was to evaluate changes in access to and continuity of primary care associated with attachment to a family physician through Quebec’s centralized waiting lists for unattached patients. Methods: We conducted an observational longitudinal population cohort study, using medical services billing data from public health insurance in the province of Québec, Canada. We included patients attached through centralized waiting lists for unattached patients between 2012 and 2014 (n = 410,140). Our study was informed by Aday and Andersen’s framework for the study of access to health services. We compared outcomes during four 12-month periods: two periods before and two periods after attachment, with T0–2 years as the reference period. Outcome measures were number of primary care visits and Bice-Boxerman Concentration of Care Index at the physician and practice level (for patients with ≥2 visits in a given period). We included age, sex, region remoteness, medical vulnerability, and Charlson Comorbidity Index as covariates in regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations. Results: The number of primary care visits increased by 103% in the first post attachment year and 29% in the second year (p < 0.001). The odds of having all primary care visits concentrated with a single physician increased by 53% in the first year and 22% (p < 0.001) in the second year after attachment. At the practice level, the odds of perfect concentration of care increased by 19% (p < 0.001) and 15% (p < 0.001) respectively, in first and second year after attachment. Conclusion: Our results show an increase in patients’ number of primary care visits and concentration of care at the family physician and practice level after attachment to a family physician. This suggests that attachment may help improve access to and continuity of primary care.
BMJ Open, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-063282
Objectives To investigate whether better continuity of care is associated with increased prescribing of clinically relevant medication and improved medication adherence. Setting Random sample of 300 000 patients aged 30+ in 2017 within 83 English general practitioner (GP) practices from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Design Patients were assigned to a randomly selected index date in 2017 on which medication use and continuity of care were determined. Adjusted associations between continuity of care and the prescribing and adherence of five cardiovascular medication groups were examined using logistic regression. Participants Continuity of Care Index was calculated for 173 993 patients with 4+ GP consultations 2 years prior to their index date and divided into five categories: absence of continuity, below-average continuity, average, above-average continuity and perfect continuity. Main outcome measures (A) Prescription for statins (primary or secondary prevention separately), anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents and antihypertensives covering the patient’s index date. (B) Adherence (>80%) estimated using medication possession ratio. Results There was strong evidence (p<0.01) that prescription of all five cardiovascular medication groups increased with greater continuity of care. Patients with absence of continuity were less likely to be prescribed cardiovascular medications than patients with above-average continuity (statins primary prevention OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.85; statins secondary prevention 0.77, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.03; antiplatelets 0.55, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.92; antihypertensives 0.51, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.65). Furthermore, patients with perfect continuity were more likely to be prescribed cardiovascular medications than those with above-average continuity (statins primary prevention OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.49; statins secondary prevention 1.37, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.71; antiplatelets 1.37, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.74; antihypertensives 1.10, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.23). Continuity was generally not associated with medication adherence, except for adherence to statins for secondary prevention (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.94 for average compared with above-average continuity). Conclusion Better continuity of care is associated with improved prescribing of medication to patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease but does not appear to be related to patient’s medication adherence.
Aging & Mental Health pp 1-12; https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2022.2107176
Healthcare services for people living with dementia (PLWD) are stretched, and government promises of increased funding remain undelivered. With the UK dementia population to surpass 1 million by 20...
BMC Primary Care, Volume 23, pp 1-11; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01788-7
Background: Cardiovascular diseases are often accompanied by comorbidities, which require good coordination of care. Especially in fragmented healthcare systems, it is important to apply strategies such as case management to achieve high continuity of care. The aim of this study was to document continuity of care from the patients’ perspective in ambulatory cardiovascular care in Germany and to explore the associations with patient-reported experience of cardiovascular prevention. Methods: This cross-sectional observational study was performed in primary care practices in Germany. The study included patients with three recorded chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease. Continuity of care was measured with the Nijmegen Continuity Questionnaire, which addresses personal/relational and team/cross-boundary continuity. From aspects of medical care and health-related lifestyle counselling a patient-reported experience of cardiovascular prevention index was formed with a range of 0–7. The association between continuity of care within the family practice and patient-reported experience of cardiovascular prevention was examined, using a linear multilevel regression model that adjusted for sociodemographics, structured care programme and numbers of contacts with the family practice. Results: Four hundred thirty-five patients from 26 family practices participated. In a comparison between general practitioners (GPs) and cardiologists, higher values for relational continuity of care were given for GPs. Team/cross-boundary continuity for ‘within the family practice’ had a mean of 4.0 (standard deviation 0.7) and continuity between GPs and cardiologists a mean of 3.8 (standard deviation 0.7). Higher personal continuity of care for GPs was positively associated with patient-reported experience (b = 0.75, 95% CI 0.45–1.05, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Overall, there was high patient-reported continuity, which positively influenced the experience of cardiovascular prevention. Nevertheless, there is potential for improvement of personal continuity of the cardiologists and team/cross-boundary continuity between GPs and cardiologists. Structured care programs may be able to support this. Trial registration: We registered the study prospectively on 7 November 2019 at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS) under ID no. DRKS00019219.
BMC Geriatrics, Volume 22, pp 1-18; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-03131-2
Background: Greater continuity of care has been associated with lower hospital admissions and patient mortality. This systematic review aims to examine the impact of relational continuity between primary care professionals and older people receiving aged care services, in residential or home care settings, on health care resource use and person-centred outcomes. Methods: Systematic review of five databases, four trial registries and three grey literature sources to October 2020. Included studies (a) aimed to increase relational continuity with a primary care professional, (b) focused on older people receiving aged care services (c) included a comparator and (d) reported outcomes of health care resource use, quality of life, activities of daily living, mortality, falls or satisfaction. Cochrane Collaboration or Joanna Briggs Institute criteria were used to assess risk of bias and GRADE criteria to rate confidence in evidence and conclusions. Results: Heterogeneity in study cohorts, settings and outcome measurement in the five included studies (one randomised) precluded meta-analysis. None examined relational continuity exclusively with non-physician providers. Higher relational continuity with a primary care physician probably reduces hospital admissions (moderate certainty evidence; high versus low continuity hazard ratio (HR) 0.94; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92–0.96, n = 178,686; incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.99, 95%CI 0.76–1.27, n = 246) and emergency department (ED) presentations (moderate certainty evidence; high versus low continuity HR 0.90, 95%CI 0.89–0.92, n = 178,686; IRR 0.91, 95%CI 0.72–1.15, n = 246) for older community-dwelling aged care recipients. The benefit of providing on-site primary care for relational continuity in residential settings is uncertain (low certainty evidence, 2 studies, n = 2,468 plus 15 care homes); whilst there are probably lower hospitalisations and may be fewer ED presentations, there may also be an increase in reported mortality and falls. The benefit of general practitioners’ visits during hospital admission is uncertain (very low certainty evidence, 1 study, n = 335). Conclusion: Greater relational continuity with a primary care physician probably reduces hospitalisations and ED presentations for community-dwelling aged care recipients, thus policy initiatives that increase continuity may have cost offsets. Further studies of approaches to increase relational continuity of primary care within aged care, particularly in residential settings, are needed. Review registration: CRD42021215698.
Educación Médica, Volume 23; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edumed.2022.100761
BMC Primary Care, Volume 23, pp 1-5; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01781-0
Complex multimorbidity, defined either as three or more chronic conditions affecting three or more different body systems or by the patients General Practitioner (GPs), is associated with various adverse outcomes. Understanding how GPs reach decisions for this complex group of patients is currently under-researched, with potential implications for health systems and service delivery. Schuttner and colleagues, through a qualitative approach, reported that internal factors of individuals (decisions tailored to patients; Primary Care Physician (PCP) consultation style; care planning towards an agreed goal of care), external factors within the environment or context of encounter (patient access to healthcare; organizational structures acting as barriers), and relationship-based factors (collaborative care planning; decisions within a dynamic patient clinician relationship) all influence care planning decisions. There are other important findings which have broader relevance to the literature such as the ongoing separation of physical and mental health which persist even within integrated care systems, GPs continue to prioritize continuity of care and that organizational barriers are reported as factors in clinician decision-making for patients. More broadly, the work has proved valuable in extending previously reported findings surrounding care coordination, and limitation of current guidelines for patients with complex multimorbidity. Work-load in general practice is increasing due to an ageing population, increasing prevalence of multimorbidity and polypharmacy, and transfer of clinical activities from secondary to primary care. The future for GPs is more complexity in the clinic room, understanding how GPs make decisions and how this can be supported is crucial for the sustainability for general practice.
BMC Medicine, Volume 20, pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-022-02382-5
Background: There is limited knowledge regarding the process of deprescribing psychotropic drugs to people with dementia (PwD) conducted by general practitioners (GP). We investigated the impact of a multicomponent intervention, emphasizing medication reviews, on psychotropic drugs and behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPSD) in home-dwelling PwD and quantified change in patient-GP communication evaluated by their informal caregivers. Methods: [email protected] is a stepped-wedge closed-cohort cluster randomized controlled trial for people with mild to moderate dementia aged ≥65 and their informal caregivers (dyads) in Norway. Complementary to health care as usual (control condition), municipal coordinators implemented the multicomponent LIVE intervention: Learning, Innovation, Volunteer support, and Empowerment (including medication review by the PwD’s regular GPs). Block-randomization was used to allocate dyads in three groups receiving the intervention sequentially in periods of 6 months duration. Prepandemic data from the first period is reported, resulting in a 1:2 intervention-to-control ratio. Primary outcome was change in psychotropic drug use. Secondary outcomes were changes in BPSD by Neuropsychiatric Inventory and Cornell Scale of Depression in Dementia and patient-GP communication by an adaption of the Clinical Global Impression of Change. Results: Four hundred thirty-eight dyads were screened, 280 included, and 237 participated at 6 months (intervention group n=67; control condition n=170). At baseline, 63% used psychotropic medication regularly: antidementia drugs (47%), antidepressants (13%), hypnotics/sedatives (13%), antipsychotics (5%), and anxiolytics (2%). At 6 months, medication reviews were more frequently conducted in the intervention group compared to control (66% vs 42%, P=0.001). We found no differences regarding a change in drug use and BPSD. Patient-GP communication enhanced in the intervention group (mean score 0.95 [standard deviation 1.68] vs 0.41 [1.34], P=0.022). In the intervention group, control group, and overall sample, the informal caregivers of those who had their medications reviewed reported improved patient-GP communication compared to those who did not. Conclusions: Change in psychotropic drug use and BPSD did not differ, even though patient-GP communication improved with medication reviews. Restricted psychotropic drug use among PwD likely reflects more judicious prescribing practices in recent years. Nevertheless, medication reviews could be cultivated to optimize pharmacologic treatment for this complex population. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04043364; registered 15/03/2019.
Religions, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13050462
Our work presents a meta-synthesis of 76 peer-reviewed, qualitative-research journal articles related to our research interest in the spiritual care training available for relatives and friends of people living with dementia. A total of 244 articles was reviewed prior to the application of selection criteria. The final sample of 2698 research participants across our selection of 76 peer-reviewed qualitative-research studies serves to demonstrate the value of spiritual care as an aspect of holistic palliative and dementia care. The development and implementation of spiritual-care standards and practices in healthcare generally is increasingly widespread. Most current training resources are designed for healthcare professionals, and our meta-synthesis identifies the need for training resources that equip and train volunteer spiritual carers, namely, the relatives and friends of people living with dementia. Our meta-synthesis suggests there is a need to develop training resources that equip relatives and friends with skills that prioritise attentive presence, spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and, primarily, sensory spiritual practices. Beyond this meta-synthesis, developing and trialling suitable training materials and events will become the focus of an action research project.
Age and ageing, Volume 51; https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afac098
Hospitalisations are sentinel events for people with dementia. How patterns of unplanned hospital admissions change among people with dementia after diagnosis is relatively unknown. to describe patterns of unplanned hospital admissions of people with dementia from diagnosis until death/study end. retrospective cohort study using mental healthcare provider data of people diagnosed with dementia in London, UK (1995–2017), linked to mortality and hospital data. The primary outcome was the rate of unplanned hospital admissions after diagnosis until death/study end. We calculated the cumulative incidence of unplanned hospital admissions. The rates of unplanned hospital admissions and the percentage of time spent as an inpatient were stratified by time from first dementia diagnosis. for 19,221 people with dementia (61.4% female, mean age at diagnosis 81.0 years (standard deviation, SD 8.5)), the cumulative incidence of unplanned hospital admissions (n = 14,759) was 76.8% (95% CI 76.3%–77.3%). Individuals remained in the study for mean 3.0 (SD 2.6) years, and 12,667 (65.9%) died. Rates and lengths of unplanned hospital admissions remained relatively low and short in the months after the dementia diagnosis, increasing only as people approached the end of life. Percentage of time spent as an inpatient was <3% for people who were alive at the study end but was on average 19.6 and 13.3% for the decedents in the last 6 and 12 months of life, respectively. the steep rise in hospitalisations before death highlights the need for improved community care and services for people with dementia who are approaching the end of life.
Published: 28 April 2022
Background In England and Wales, the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) financially rewards GP practices for long-term conditions management, including completion of annual dementia reviews. There is limited evidence about how this works in practice and whether it meets patients’ and carers’ needs. Methods Data from five qualitative datasets were integrated and analysed thematically. Data comprised interviews, focus groups, and observations with 209 participants, including commissioners, managers and frontline staff in dementia services; people with dementia; carers; and policy experts. Findings Four main themes were developed: (i) perceived benefits of annual review; (ii) variability and (in)visibility of annual review; (iii) logistics; and (iv) external influences and constraints. Variability in both the completion and quality of QOF annual dementia reviews was attributed by some to limited nuance in the current QOF dementia indicator. Many patients and carers were unaware that an annual dementia review had occurred. Participants suggested that many GPs lack the required competencies and/or capacity for successful dementia reviews. Conclusions Work is urgently needed to improve the quality of annual dementia reviews. Potential strategies include changing the financial reimbursement to reflect both quality and quantity, so the review is tailored to the needs of the individual and their family; the creation of standardised templates; collaborative working within primary care and across sectors; and integrating dementia reviews into other long-term conditions. Key points QOF annual dementia reviews are a key opportunity for providing support for people with dementia in England and Wales Current provision of annual reviews varies both in completion rates and quality Strategies for improvement include improving quality indicators, implementing standardised templates, and improving primary care capacity and capability to carry out reviews
Published: 28 April 2022
Journal: British Journal of General Practice
British Journal of General Practice, Volume 72, pp 208-209; https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp22x719237
National averages conceal large local variations, and attitudes to the continuity of GP care now vary greatly. On the one hand, there are the majority of general practices that usually use the pooled list system of practice organisation. These practices mostly devolve continuity to patients and accept that substantial continuity of GP care is now too difficult to provide for more than a minority of patients. On the other hand, there is a smaller group of general practices that believe continuity of GP care remains fundamental and which provide good continuity, usually through personal lists. We write from one of these in a practice that has used personal lists continuously for 48 years. The philosophy being that for GP continuity every patient counts.