Health Care Innovation and Quality Assurance

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

Professionals’ Expectations and Preparedness to Implement Knowledge-Based Palliative Care at Nursing Homes before an Educational Intervention: A Focus Group Interview Study.
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AAvik Persson Helene, Ahlstrom G, Ekwall A.
International journal of environmental research and public health 2021 aug;18(17).
The provision of knowledge-based palliative care is rare in nursing homes. There are obstacles to practically performing this because it can be difficult to identify when the final stage of life begins for older persons. Educational interventions in palliative care in nursing homes are a challenge, and joint efforts are needed in an organisation, including preparedness. The aim was to explore professionals’ expectations and preparedness to implement knowledge-based palliative care in nursing homes before an educational intervention. This study has a qualitative focus group design, and a total of 48 professionals working in nursing homes were interviewed with a semi-structured interview guide. Qualitative content analysis with an inductive approach was used for the analysis. One major theme was identified: professionals were hopeful yet doubtful about the organisation’s readiness. The main categories of increased knowledge, consensus in the team, and a vision for the future illustrate the hopefulness, while insufficient resources and prioritisation illustrate the doubts about the organisation’s readiness. This study contributes valuable knowledge about professionals’ expectations and preparedness, which are essential for researchers to consider in the planning phase of an implementation study. The successful implementation of changes needs to involve strategies that circumvent the identified obstacles to organisations’ readiness.

Quality standards for safe medication in nursing homes: development through a multistep approach including a Delphi consensus study.
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Bruhwiler LD, Niederhauser A, Fischer S, Schwappach DLB.
BMJ open 2021 oct;11(10):e054364.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to develop quality standards reflecting minimal requirements for safe medication processes in nursing homes. DESIGN: In a first step, relevant key topics for safe medication processes were deducted from a systematic search for similar guidelines, prior work and discussions with experts. In a second step, the essential requirements for each key topic were specified and substantiated with a literature-based rationale. Subsequently, the requirements were evaluated with a piloted, two-round Delphi study. SETTING: Nursing homes in Switzerland. PARTICIPANTS: Interprofessional panel of 25 experts from science and practice. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Each requirement was rated for its relevance for a safer and resident-oriented medication on a 9-point Likert-Scale based on the RAND/UCLA method. The requirements were considered relevant if, in the second round, the median relevance rating was ≥7 and the proportion of ratings ≥7 was ≥80%. RESULTS: Five key topics with a total of 87 requirements were elaborated and rated in the Delphi study. After the second round (response rate in both rounds 100%), 85 requirements fulfilled the predefined criteria and were therefore included in the final set of quality standards. The five key topics are: (I) ‘The medication is reviewed regularly and in defined situations’, (II) ‘The medication is reviewed in a structured manner’, (III) ‘The medication is monitored in a structured manner’, (IV) ‘All healthcare professionals are committed to an optimal interprofessional collaboration’ and (V) ‘Residents are actively involved in medication process’. CONCLUSIONS: We developed normative quality standards for a safer and resident-oriented medication in Swiss nursing homes. Altogether, 85 requirements define the medication processes and the behaviour of healthcare professionals. A rigorous implementation may support nursing homes in taking a step towards safer and resident-oriented medication.

Complexity and involvement as implementation challenges: results from a process analysis.
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Emond Y, Wolff A, Bloo G, Damen J, Westert G, Wollersheim H, et al.
BMC health services research 2021 oct;21(1):1149.
BACKGROUND: The study objective was to analyse the implementation challenges experienced in carrying out the IMPROVE programme. This programme was designed to implement checklist-related improvement initiatives based on the national perioperative guidelines using a stepped-wedge trial design. A process analysis was carried out to investigate the involvement in the implementation activities. METHODS: An involvement rating measure was developed to express the extent to which the implementation programme was carried out in the hospitals. This measure reflects the number of IMPROVE-implementation activities executed and the estimated participation in these activities in all nine participating hospitals. These data were compared with prospectively collected field notes. RESULTS: Considerable variation between the hospitals was found with involvement ratings ranging from 0 to 6 (mean per measurement = 1.83 on a scale of 0-11). Major implementation challenges were respectively the study design (fixed design, time planning, long duration, repeated measurements, and data availability); the selection process of hospitals, departments and key contact person(s) (inadequately covering the entire perioperative team and stand-alone surgeons); the implementation programme (programme size and scope, tailoring, multicentre, lack of mandate, co-interventions by the Inspectorate, local intervention initiatives, intervention fatigue); and competitive events such as hospital mergers or the introduction of new IT systems, all reducing involvement. CONCLUSIONS: The process analysis approach helped to explain the limited and delayed execution of the IMPROVE-implementation programme. This turned out to be very heterogeneous between hospitals, with variation in the number and content of implementation activities carried out. The identified implementation challenges reflect a high complexity with regard to the implementation programme, study design and setting. The involvement of the target professionals was put under pressure by many factors. We mostly encountered challenges, but at the same time we provide solutions for addressing them. A less complex implementation programme, a less fixed study design, a better thought-out selection of contact persons, as well as more commitment of the hospital management and surgeons would likely have contributed to better implementation results. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Dutch Trial Registry: NTR3568 , retrospectively registered on 2 August 2012.

Eco-Normalization: Evaluating the Longevity of an Innovation in Context.
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Hamza DM, Regehr G.
Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2021 nov;96(11S):S48-S53.
PURPOSE: When initiating an educational innovation, successful implementation and meaningful, lasting change can be elusive. This elusiveness stems from the difficulty of introducing changes into complex ecosystems. Program evaluation models that focus on implementation fidelity examine the inner workings of an innovation in the real-world context. However, the methods by which fidelity is typically examined may inadvertently limit thinking about the trajectory of an innovation over time. Thus, a new approach is needed, one that focuses on whether the conditions observed during the implementation phase of an educational innovation represent a foundation for meaningful, long-lasting change. METHOD: Through a critical review, authors examined relevant models from implementation science and developed a comprehensive framework that shifts the focus of program evaluation from exploring snapshots in time to assessing the trajectory of an innovation beyond the implementation phase. RESULTS: Durable and meaningful “normalization” of an innovation is rooted in how the local aspirations and practices of the institutional system and the people doing the work interact with the grand aspirations and features of the innovation. Borrowing from Normalization Process Theory, the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, and Reflexive Monitoring in Action, the authors developed a framework, called Eco-Normalization, that highlights 6 critical questions to be considered when evaluating the potential longevity of an innovation. CONCLUSIONS: When evaluating an educational innovation, the Eco-Normalization model focuses our attention on the ecosystem of change and the features of the ecosystem that may contribute to (or hinder) the longevity of innovations in context.

Meaningful Engagement in the Nursing Home.
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Morley JE, Kusmaul N, Berg-Weger M.
Journal of gerontological social work 2021;64(1):33-42.
Throughout her career, Rosalie Kane made a major impact in her efforts to improve quality of life for persons living in nursing homes. Near the end of her career, she suggested that it was time to “re-imagine long term care and to produce livable age-friendly nursing homes.” This brief review focuses on the role of meaningful engagement and person-centered care as the next step in enhancing nursing home care. The importance of activities that strengthen cognitive and/or physical function is stressed, as well as improving socialization to reduce loneliness.

Longitudinal Impact of APRNs on Nursing Home Quality Measures in the Missouri Quality Initiative.
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Rantz M, Petroski GF, Popejoy LL, Vogelsmeier AA, Canada KE, Galambos C, et al.
J Nutr Health Aging 2021;25(9):1124-1130.
OBJECTIVES: To measure the impact of advanced practice nurses (APRNs) on quality measures (QM) scores of nursing homes (NHs) in the CMS funded Missouri Quality Initiative (MOQI) that was designed to reduce avoidable hospitalizations of NH residents, improve quality of care, and reduce overall healthcare spending. DESIGN: A four group comparative analysis of longitudinal data from September 2013 thru December 2019. SETTING: NHs in the interventions of both Phases 1 (2012-2016) and 2 (2016-2020) of MOQI (n=16) in the St. Louis area; matched comparations in the same counties as MOQI NHs (n=27); selected Phase 2 payment intervention NHs in Missouri (n=24); NHs in the remainder of the state (n=406). PARTICIPANTS: NHs in Missouri Intervention: Phase 1 of The Missouri Quality Initiative (MOQI), a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Innovations Center funded research initiative, was a multifaceted intervention in NHs in the Midwest, which embedded full-time APRNs in participating NHs to reduce hospitalizations and improve care of NH residents. Phase 2 extended the MOQI intervention in the original intervention NHs and added a CMS designed Payment Intervention; Phase 2 added a second group of NHs to receive the Payment. Intervention Only. MEASUREMENTS: Eight QMs selected by CMS for the Initiative were falls, pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, indwelling catheters, restraint use, activities of daily living, weight loss, and antipsychotic medication use. For each of the monthly QMs (2013 thru 2019) an unobserved components model (UCM) was fitted for comparison of groups. RESULTS: The analysis of QMs reveals that that the MOQI Intervention + Payment group (group with the embedded APRNs) out-performed all comparison groups: matched comparison with neither intervention, Payment Intervention only, and remainder of the state. CONCLUSION: These results confirm the QM analyses of Phase 1, that MOQI NHs with full-time APRNs are effective to improve quality of care.

Audit feedback interventions to address high-risk prescriptions in long-term care homes: a costing study and return on investment analysis.
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Thavorn K, Kumar S, Reis C, Lam J, Dobell G, Mulhall C, et al.
Implementation science communications 2021 oct;2(1):125.
BACKGROUND: Audit and feedback is a common implementation strategy, but few studies describe its costs. ‘MyPractice’ is a province-wide audit and feedback initiative to improve prescribing in nursing homes. This study sought to estimate the costs of ‘MyPractice’ and assess whether the financial benefit of ‘MyPractice’ offsets those costs. METHODS: We conducted a costing study from the perspective of the Ontario government. Total cost of ‘MyPractice’ was calculated as the sum of the costs of producing and disseminating the reports (covering three report releases) which were obtained from Ontario Health staff interviews and document reviews. Return on investment (ROI) was calculated as the ratio of net cost-savings and the intervention cost. Cost savings were based on the effectiveness of ‘MyPractice’ derived from a published cohort study. Cost-savings attributable to ‘MyPractice’ were estimated from the changes in the rates of antipsychotics over time between physicians who signed up and viewed the reports and those who did not sign up to the reports. RESULTS: Total intervention costs were C$223,691 (C$838 per physician and C$74,564 per release). Costs incurred during the development phase accounted for 74% of the total cost (C$166,117), while implementation costs for three report releases were responsible for 26% of the total costs (C$57,575). The ROI for every C$1 spent on the ‘MyPractice’ intervention was 1.02 (95% CI 0.51, 1.93) for three report releases. CONCLUSION: ‘MyPractice’ report offers a good return on investment and the value for money could improve with greater number of report releases.

Multicomponent Staff Training Intervention to Improve Residential Dementia Care (PROCUIDA-Demencia): A Mixed-Methods 2-Arm Cluster Randomized Controlled Pilot and Clinical Outcomes Study.
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Torres-Castro S, Rabaneda-Bueno R, López-Ortega M, Gutiérrez-Robledo LM, Guzmán A.
J Am Med Dir Assoc 2021 Nov 8.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the feasibility outcomes of implementing a multicomponent staff training intervention (PROCUIDA-Demencia) to promote psychosocial interventions and reduce antipsychotic prescription in Mexican care homes and study its effect on staff’s care experience and residents’ quality of life. DESIGN: A mixed-methods 2-arm cluster randomized controlled pilot study of a 2-day staff training program with baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks of the PROCUIDA-Demencia intervention vs treatment as usual (TAU). SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Eight care homes in Mexico City were selected, from which 55 residents and 126 staff were recruited. INTERVENTION: In situ staff training consisting of evidence-based manualized psychosocial interventions of person-centered activities, reminiscence therapy, doll therapy, psychomotor dance therapy, and antipsychotic prescription review. Fidelity to protocol was supervised once a week. METHODS: Cluster-level feasibility measures included views of staff, residents, and relatives on acceptability, satisfaction, adherence, and fidelity to the intervention. Staff outcome measures were Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire, and Sense of Competence in Dementia Care Staff. Residents’ outcome measures included Quality of Life-Alzheimer’s Disease scale (QoL-AD), and Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home Version (NPI-NH). Staff distress was measured using the NPI-NH occupational disturbance scale. Feasibility was elicited through a focus group, and hierarchical linear mixed effects models were used to assess the adjusted effects of the respective measures. RESULTS: Observed medical practice showed the prescription of at least 1 antipsychotic in 41% of participants in the intervention group. Overall, 39% of residents reported discontinuation, and 15% reduction of antipsychotics, following the 12-week medical review in parallel with psychosocial interventions. Clinical outcomes contributed positively to the reduction in baseline staff burden according to the MBI after the intervention [mean difference -8.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) -17.7, -0.1, P = .049] and to the reduction in severity and frequency of behavior as per NPI-NH in residents (mean difference -9.4, 95% CI -17.5, -1.3, P = .025). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: PROCUIDA-Demencia is a feasible intervention for Mexican care homes. Results contribute to the Mexican Dementia Plan optimizing dementia care by supporting the need for staff training to implement psychosocial interventions prior to prescribing antipsychotic medication.

Barriers and facilitators for implementation of a complex health services intervention in long-term care homes: a qualitative study using focus groups.
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von der Warth R, Kaiser V, Reese C, Brühmann BA, Farin-Glattacker E.
BMC Geriatr 2021 Nov 4;21(1):632-021-02579-y.
BACKGROUND: With rising numbers of elderly people living in nursing homes in Germany, the need for on-site primary care is increasing. A lack of primary care in nursing homes can lead to unnecessary hospitalization, higher mortality, and morbidity in the elderly. The project CoCare (“coordinated medical care”) has therefore implemented a complex health intervention in nursing homes, using inter alia, regular medical rounds, a shared patient medical record and medication checks, with the aim of improving the coordination of medical care. This study reports upon the results of a qualitative study assessing the perceived barriers and facilitators of the implementation of CoCare by stakeholders. METHODS: Focus group interviews were held between October 2018 and November 2019 with nurses, general practitioners and GP’s assistants working or consulting in a participating nursing home. A semi-structured modular guideline was used to ask participants for their opinion on different aspects of CoCare and which barriers and facilitators they perceived. Focus groups were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: In total, N = 11 focus group interviews with N = 74 participants were conducted. We found six themes describing barriers and facilitators in respect of the implementation of CoCare: understaffing, bureaucracy, complexity, structural barriers, financial compensation, communication and collaboration. Furthermore, participants described the incorporation of the intervention into standard care. CONCLUSION: Barriers perceived by stakeholders are well known in the literature (e.g. understaffing and complexity). However, CoCare provides a good structure to overcome barriers and some barriers will dissolve after implementation into routine care (e.g. bureaucracy). In contrast, especially communication and collaboration were perceived as facilitators in CoCare, with the project being received as a team building intervention itself. TRIAL REGISTRATION: WHO UTN: U1111-1196-6611; DRKS-ID: DRKS00012703 (Date of Registration in DRKS: 2017 Aug 23).