Developing an intervention around referral and admissions to intensive care: a mixed-methods study (2019)

Type of publication:
Journal article

Author(s):
Bassford C, Griffiths F, Svantesson M, Ryan M, Krucien N, Dale J, Rees S, Rees K, Ignatowicz A, Parsons H, Flowers N, Fritz Z, Perkins G, Quinton S, Symons S, White C, Huang H, Turner J, Brooke M, McCreedy A, Blake C & Slowther A.

Study involved patients at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Citation:
Health Services and Delivery Research 2019, Vol 7, Issue 39

Abstract:
Background: Intensive care treatment can be life-saving, but it is invasive and distressing for patients receiving it and it is not always successful. Deciding whether or not a patient will benefit from intensive care is a difficult clinical and ethical challenge.
Objectives: To explore the decision-making process for referral and admission to the intensive care unit and to develop and test an intervention to improve it.
Methods: A mixed-methods study comprising (1) two systematic reviews investigating the factors associated with decisions to admit patients to the intensive care unit and the experiences of clinicians, patients and families; (2) observation of decisions and interviews with intensive care unit doctors, referring doctors, and patients and families in six NHS trusts in the Midlands, UK; (3) a choice experiment survey distributed to UK intensive care unit consultants and critical care outreach nurses, eliciting their preferences for factors used in decision-making for intensive care unit admission; (4) development of a decision-support intervention informed by the previous work streams, including an ethical framework for decision-making and supporting referral and decision-support forms and patient and family information leaflets. Implementation feasibility was tested in three NHS trusts; (5) development and testing of a tool to evaluate the ethical quality of decision-making related to intensive care unit admission, based on the assessment of patient records. The tool was tested for inter-rater and intersite reliability in 120 patient records.
Results: Influences on decision-making identified in the systematic review and ethnographic study included age, presence of chronic illness, functional status, presence of a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation order, referring specialty, referrer seniority and intensive care unit bed availability. Intensive care unit doctors used a gestalt assessment of the patient when making decisions. The choice experiment showed that age was the most important factor in consultants’ and critical care outreach nurses’ preferences for admission. The ethnographic study illuminated the complexity of the decision-making process, and the importance of interprofessional relationships and good communication between teams and with patients and families. Doctors found it difficult to articulate and balance the benefits and burdens of intensive care unit treatment for a patient. There was low uptake of the decision-support intervention, although doctors who used it noted that it improved articulation of reasons for decisions and communication with patients.
Limitations: Limitations existed in each of the component studies; for example, we had difficulty recruiting patients and families in our qualitative work. However, the project benefited from a mixed-method approach that mitigated the potential limitations of the component studies.
Conclusions: Decision-making surrounding referral and admission to the intensive care unit is complex. This study has provided evidence and resources to help clinicians and organisations aiming to improve the decision-making for and, ultimately, the care of critically ill patients.
Future work: Further research is needed into decision-making practices, particularly in how best to engage with patients and families during the decision process. The development and evaluation of training for clinicians involved in these decisions should be a priority for future work.
Study registration: The systematic reviews of this study are registered as PROSPERO CRD42016039054, CRD42015019711 and CRD42015019714.
Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme. The University of Aberdeen and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates fund the Health Economics Research Unit.

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Lymphangioma circumscriptum of the vulva clinical picture and surgical management (2018)

Type of publication:
Journal article

Author(s):
*Papoutsis D.; Haefner H.K

Citation:
Archives of Hellenic Medicine 35(6):809-810 · November 2018

Abstract:
Vulvar lymphangioma circumscriptum is a rare entity that may mimic many other diseases of the vulva. It presents with the non-specific symptoms of persistent vulvar itching and soreness, and the diagnosis is confirmed through vulvar biopsy. Surgical treatment has the lowest recurrence rates compared with other treatment modalities. The case is presented here of a woman diagnosed with lymphangioma circumscriptum of the vulva and its surgical management.

Audit of 2-week wait referrals to the Gynecology Department in District General Hospital and investigating patient awareness of the reasons and importance behind the referral (2018)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

Author(s):
Wilkinson M.; *Sahu B

Citation:
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Dec 2018; vol. 125 ; p. 48

Abstract:
Introduction Two-week wait referrals to gynecology services are at a premium with pressure on numbers. Referrals can be inappropriate. Patients are often unaware the appointment is for suspected cancer. Methods Two-week wait referrals were examined during a six month period. The gynecologist in clinic collected data. Patients were asked about their 2-week wait referral, gauging awareness around their referral. Clinical symptoms and signs were compared to those in referral. Appropriateness of the referral was assessed by symptoms fitting the 2-week wait criteria or clinical findings on referral not consistent with the presenting symptoms and findings in clinic. Results A total of 172 patients were referred under the 2-week wait criteria; mean age was 58 years, range (17-95). Referrals were from 50 separate primary care practices. Suspected cancer referrals were composed of 111 endometrial, 15 ovarian, 22 cervical, 15 vulva/vaginal and 9 of mixed pathology. There was awareness of referral for cancer in 90 cases (52%), awareness of “2-week wait” in 124 cases (72%) and aware that the appointment could be at either hospital within the trust in 96 cases (56%). The referral was considered appropriate for 2-week wait referral in 123 (72%) of cases. Conclusion The majority of patients were referred correctly. A wide range of pathologies was seen. A significant number could have been referred as routine referrals or advice requested. Patient awareness of it being a referral due to suspected cancer was poor with better appreciation of the urgency of referral.

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