Health Care Innovation and Quality Assurance

Collection of articles on Health Care Innovation and Quality Assurance is available here.

Perceptions of healthcare professional about the “PACE Steps to Success” palliative care program for long-term care: A qualitative study in Switzerland.
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Charmillot PA, Van den Block L, Oosterveld-Vlug M, Pautex S.
Nurs Open. 2023 Feb 25.
AIM: This study aimed to examine the healthcare professionals’ perceptions after implementing the “PACE Steps to Success” program in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive study. METHODS: Thematic analysis of semi-structured face-to-face and group interviews with health professionals, PACE coordinators, and managers purposely invited in the four long-term home facilities that had previously participated in the PACE cluster randomized clinical trial intervention group. RESULTS: The PACE program implementation has improved communication with residents regarding end-of-life issues and helped identify patients’ needs. The introduction of codified tools can complete internal tools and support decision-making. In addition, the training has promoted inter-professional collaboration, particularly in the case of care assistants, by defining each profession’s specific responsibilities in providing care for older adults.

Development and Application of an Educational-Training Programme for Infection Control Practitioners in Long-Term Care Hospitals.
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Jeong SY, Kim OS.
Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Feb 12;11(4).
Elderly persons are at risk of infection due to underlying diseases and weak immune systems. All elderly persons do not require hospitalization in LTCHs, even if have chronic illness or weakened immune systems, but they require care in long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) that have well-trained infection control practitioners (ICPs). This study aimed to develop an educational-training programme for ICPs working in LTCHs using the Developing A Curriculum (DACUM) method. Based on the results of the literature review and the DACUM committee workshop, 12 duties and 51 tasks of ICPs were identified. A total of 209 ICPs participated in the survey, rating 12 duties and 51 tasks on a 5-point scale in terms of frequency, importance, and difficulty. An educational-training programme consisting of five modules was developed, focusing on tasks higher than the mean for each of frequency (2.71 ± 0.64), importance (3.90 ± 0.05), and difficulty (3.67 ± 0.44). Twenty nine ICPs participated in a pilot educational-training programme. The mean programme satisfaction level was 93.23 (standard deviation: ±3.79 points) out of 100 points. The average total knowledge and skill scores were significantly higher after the programme (26.13 ± 1.09, 24.91 ± 2.46, respectively) than before the programme (18.89 ± 2.39, 13.98 ± 3.56, respectively) (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, respectively). This programme will improve the knowledge and skills of ICPs, and thereby contribute to the reduction in healthcare-associated infections in LTCHs.

Putting guidelines into practice: Using co-design to develop a complex intervention based on NG48 to enable care staff to provide daily oral care to older people living in care homes.
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Langley J, Wassall R, Geddis-Regan A, Watson S, Verey A, McKenna G, et al.
Gerodontology. 2023 Mar;40(1):112–26.
OBJECTIVES: (1) Explore the challenges of providing daily oral care in care homes; (2) understand oral care practices provided by care home staff; (3) co-design practical resources supporting care home staff in these activities. METHODS: Three Sheffield care homes were identified via the “ENRICH Research Ready Care Home Network,” and three to six staff per site were recruited as co-design partners. Design researchers led three co-design workshops exploring care home staff’s experiences of providing daily oral care, including challenges, coping strategies and the role of current guidelines. New resources were prototyped to support the use of guidelines in practice. The design researchers developed final resources to enable the use of these guidelines in-practice-in-context. FINDINGS: Care home staff operate under time and resource constraints. The proportion of residents with dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions is rapidly increasing. Care home staff face challenges when residents adopt “refusal behaviours” and balancing daily oral care needs with resident and carer safety becomes complex. Care home staff have developed many coping strategies to navigate “refusal behaviours.” Supporting resources need to “fit” within the complexities of practice-in-context. CONCLUSIONS: The provision of daily oral care practices in care homes is complex and challenging. The co-design process revealed care home staff have a “library” of context-specific practical knowledge and coping strategies. This study offers insights into the process of making guidelines usable for professionals in their contexts of practice, exploring the agenda of implementing evidence-based guidelines.

Prevention of Older Adult Infantilization by Nursing Home Professionals: An Intervention Program.
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Noriega C, Pérez-Rojo G, Velasco C, Carretero MI, López-Frutos P, Galarraga L, et al.
J Appl Gerontol. 2023 Feb 24;7334648231159981.
This study analyzes the efficacy of a brief psychoeducational program aimed at preventing older adult infantilization by nursing home professionals. We examined whether an experimental group of professionals reported less infantilization than those of a control group. Changes in stereotypes and humanization were regarded as sub-targets. The sample comprised 154 staff members. Infantilization, humanization, and negative stereotypes toward older adults were assessed before and after the intervention, and repeated measures of ANOVA and one-way ANCOVAs were conducted. Infantilization and negative stereotypes decreased in the experimental group. Significant post-intervention differences were found between the experimental and control groups both in infantilization and negative stereotypes but not in humanization. Results reflect the relevance of developing specific interventions focused on preventing infantilization as well as the need for professionals’ training and education to generate a culture of change.

A Quality Assessment of Goals of Care Forms in a Sample of Older Patients in Various Care Settings in Quebec, Canada.
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Plaisance A, Morin M, Turcotte S, Laflamme B, Heyland DK, Leblanc A. A
Cureus. 2023 Jan;15(1):e33872.
OBJECTIVE:  The objective of this study is to assess the completion and content of the Goals of Care (GOC) forms in three care settings in the province of Quebec, Canada. METHODS: This is a retrospective, cross-sectional, mixed methods analysis of data extracted from the charts and GOC forms of patients aged over 65 who received services during the year 2018 in one of the three following care settings: (i) long-term care facility, (ii) acute care hospital, and (iii) home support services of a regional healthcare and social services center. The completion of the GOC form includes six essential sections. If one or more of the sections were not fulfilled, we considered the form incomplete. We used descriptive analysis to look at the information in the six sections and a thematic analysis to assess the information in an open-ended section. RESULTS: We audited 589 charts, of which 67% contained a GOC form and only 96 (16%) a completed one. The most popular goal of care was ensuring comfort as a priority over prolonging life, selected on 40% of the forms. The majority of the included patients (89%) did not want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to be attempted in the case of cardiac arrest. There was no indication of the use of advance medical directives, and scarce indication of the use of former GOC forms (18%) and living wills (2%) in completing the forms. Comments were included in 65% of the open-ended sections. The most frequent themes related to the use or non-use of interventions and to potential transfers to the hospital or to an intensive care unit. We found that the open-ended section was used on 24 forms to specify a different goal of care applicable in the event of further health deterioration. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of charts (84%) did not contain a completed GOC form; key aspects of advance care planning were rarely considered in establishing the patient’s goal of care, and the form itself lacked utility given the frequency and nature of qualitative comments. As a final product of serious illness communication and decision-making, our findings suggest that there are significant quality issues, that patients are at risk of intensification of care at the end of life, and that more needs to be done to improve serious illness decision-making and documentation.

Palliative Approach to Care Education for Multidisciplinary Staff of Long-Term Care Homes: A Pretest Post-Test Study.
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Vellani S, Maradiaga Rivas V, Nicula M, Lucchese S, Kruizinga J, Sussman T, et al.
Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2023 Dec;9:23337214231158470.
This study used a single-group pre-test and post-test design to evaluate an educational workshop for multidisciplinary staff working in long-term care homes on implementing a palliative approach to care and perceptions about advanced care planning conversations. Two outcomes were measured to assess the preliminary efficacy of the educational workshop at baseline and 1-month post-intervention. Knowledge regarding implementing a palliative approach to care was assessed using the End-of-Life Professional Caregivers Survey and changes in staff perception toward ACP conversations were assessed using the Staff Perceptions Survey. Findings suggest that staff experienced an improvement in self-reported knowledge regarding a palliative approach to care (p ≤ .001); and perceptions of knowledge, attitude, and comfort related to advance care planning discussions (p ≤ .027). The results indicate that educational workshops can assist in improving multidisciplinary staff’s knowledge about a palliative approach to care and comfort in carrying out advance care planning discussions with residents, family care partners, and among long-term care staff.

Unintended impacts of a national antipsychotic reduction initiative among nursing facility residents with and without Alzheimer’s disease.
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Wastila L, Qato DM, Fleming S, Johnson A, Briesacher B, McArdle PF, et al.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023 Feb 25.
BACKGROUND: In July 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services launched an antipsychotic reduction initiative (ARI) to improve care for nursing facility residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). We examined the impact of this policy on antipsychotic and psychotropic medication (PM) utilization and diagnosis patterns in long-stay nursing facility residents with ADRD and other conditions in which antipsychotics are indicated. METHODS: Using an 80% sample of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with Part D, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of nursing facility residents with ADRD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, and residents exempt from the policy due to diagnoses of schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, and/or Huntington’s disease. We used interrupted time-series analyses to compare changes in diagnoses, antipsychotic use, and PM utilization before (January 1, 2011-June 30, 2012) and after (July 1, 2012-September 30, 2015) ARI implementation. RESULTS: We identified 874,487 long-stay nursing facility residents with a diagnosis of ADRD (n = 358,518), exempt (n = 92,859), bipolar (n = 128,298), psychosis (n = 93,402), and Parkinson’s disease (n = 80,211). In all cohorts, antipsychotic use declined prior to the ARI; upon policy implementation, antipsychotic use reductions were sustained throughout the study period, including statistically significant ARI-associated accelerated declines in all cohorts. PM changes varied by cohort, with ARI-associated increases in non-benzodiazepine sedatives and/or muscle relaxants noted in ADRD, psychosis, and Parkinson’s cohorts. Although anticonvulsant use increased throughout the study period in all groups, with the exception of the bipolar cohort, these increases were not associated with ARI implementation. Findings are minimally explained by increased post-ARI membership in the psychosis and Parkinson’s cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: Our study documents antipsychotic use significantly declined in non-ADRD clinical and exempt cohorts, where such reductions may not be clinically warranted. Furthermore, ARI-associated compensatory increases in PMs do not offset these reductions. Changes in PM utilization and diagnostic make-up of residents using PMs require further investigation to assess the potential for adverse clinical and economic outcomes.