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Recent Research Publications and Funding

  •  | October 28, 2016 4:00AM

    PURPOSE: Appropriate utilization of treatment is a goal for all patients undergoing cancer treatment. Proper treatment maximizes benefit and limits exposure to unnecessary measures. This report describes findings of the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a short, clinic-based decision aid and presents an in-depth clinical profile of the participants.

    METHODS: This descriptive study used a prospective, quantitative approach to obtain the feasibility and acceptability of a decision aid (DecisionKEYS for Balancing Choices) for use in clinical settings. It combined results of trials of patients with three different common malignancies. All groups used the same decision aid series. Participants included 80 patients with solid tumors (22 with newly diagnosed breast cancer, 19 with advanced prostate cancer, and 39 with advanced lung cancer) and their 80 supporters as well as their physicians and nurses, for a total of 160 participants and 10 health professionals.

    RESULTS: The decision aid was highly acceptable to patient and supporter participants in all diagnostic groups. It was feasible for use in clinic settings; the overall value was rated highly. Of six physicians, all found the interactive format with the help of the nurse as feasible and acceptable. Nurses also rated the decision aid favorably.

    CONCLUSIONS: This intervention provides the opportunity to enhance decision making about cancer treatment and warrants further study including larger and more diverse groups. Strengths of the study included a theoretical grounding, feasibility testing of a practical clinic-based intervention, and summative evaluation of acceptability of the intervention by patient and supporter pairs. Further research also is needed to test the effectiveness of the decision aid in diverse clinical settings and to determine if this intervention can decrease overall costs.

  •  | September 13, 2016 4:00AM

    Background: There is increasing evidence that neighborhood-level factors, in addition to individual-level factors, may contribute directly or indirectly to childhood asthma by affecting environmental and lifestyle factors. Exposure to neighborhood crime and violence has been associated with poor health outcomes, especially among underserved and minority populations, and its effect on respiratory health is an area of active research. 

    Objective: To examine the association of residential neighborhood crime with asthma and asthma-related outcomes among Mexican American children. 

    Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted with parents of 2,023 Mexican American children. We derived measures of neighborhood (census tract) violent, property, and drug abuse crime and used multilevel generalized estimating equations to test associations of neighborhood crime counts with respiratory conditions. 

    Results: In multiple regression models, a 1-SD increase in neighborhood property crimes significantly increased the odds of lifetime asthma, lifetime wheezing, lifetime emergency department (ED) visits attributable to asthma or wheezing, and lifetime hospitalization attributable to asthma or wheezing by 25%, 18%, 44%, and 62%, respectively. A 1-SD elevation in neighborhood violent crime was positively and significantly associated with 21% and 57% higher odds of lifetime wheezing and ED visits, respectively. We also observed 13% and 44% significantly increased odds of lifetime wheezing and ED visits, respectively, for a 1-SD increase in drug abuse crime. These findings were not explained or modified by individual- and neighborhood-level covariates.

    Conclusion: Higher neighborhood crime was associated with greater odds of asthma and asthma morbidity in Mexican American children.

  •  | September 2, 2016 4:00AM

    Antimicrobial resistance is a critically important impending public health crisis that not only threatens the treatment of infectious disease, but also the very foundations of modern health care from transplantation to cancer chemotherapy. Many types of surgeries and the health of immunocompromised patients, including those with diabetes, will be placed at risk if antibiotics are no longer able to prevent or treat infections. Even minor illnesses or injuries such as a scrape or paper cut become life-threatening in the absence of effective antibiotics.

  •  | September 1, 2016 4:00AM

    BACKGROUND: The Kaiser Permanente model of integrated health delivery is highly regarded for high-quality and efficient health care. Efforts to reproduce Kaiser's success have mostly failed. One factor that has received little attention and that could explain Kaiser's advantage is its commitment to and investment in nursing as a key component of organizational culture and patient-centered care.

    PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of Kaiser's nursing organization in promoting quality of care.

    METHODOLOGY: This was a cross-sectional analysis of linked secondary data from multiple sources, including a detailed survey of nurses, for 564 adult, general acute care hospitals from California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in 2006-2007. We used logistic regression models to examine whether patient (mortality and failure-to-rescue) and nurse (burnout, job satisfaction, and intent-to-leave) outcomes in Kaiser hospitals were better than in non-Kaiser hospitals. We then assessed whether differences in nursing explained outcomes differences between Kaiser and other hospitals. Finally, we examined whether Kaiser hospitals compared favorably with hospitals known for having excellent nurse work environments-Magnet hospitals.

    FINDINGS: Patient and nurse outcomes in Kaiser hospitals were significantly better compared with non-Magnet hospitals. Kaiser hospitals had significantly better nurse work environments, staffing levels, and more nurses with bachelor's degrees. Differences in nursing explained a significant proportion of the Kaiser outcomes advantage. Kaiser hospital outcomes were comparable with Magnet hospitals, where better outcomes have been largely explained by differences in nursing.

    IMPLICATIONS: An important element in Kaiser's success is its investment in professional nursing, which may not be evident to systems seeking to achieve Kaiser's advantage. Our results suggest that a possible strategy for achieving outcomes like Kaiser may be for hospitals to consider Magnet designation, a proven and cost-effective strategy to improve process of care through investments in nursing.

  •  | August 3, 2016 4:00AM

    The dissemination of Enterobacteriaceae expressing resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, which are therapeutically used in both human and veterinary medicine, is of critical concern. The normal commensal flora of food animals may serve as an important reservoir for the zoonotic food-borne transmission of Enterobacteriaceae harbouring β-lactam resistance. We hypothesized that the predominant AmpC and ESBL genes reported in US livestock and fresh retail meat products, blaCMY-2 and blaCTX-M, would also be predominant in human enteric flora. We recovered enteric flora from a convenience sample of patients included in a large tertiary medical centre's Clostridium difficile surveillance programme to screen for and estimate the frequency of carriage of AmpC and ESBL resistance genes. In- and outpatient diarrhoeic submissions (n = 692) received for C. difficile testing at the medical centre's clinical diagnostic laboratory from July to December, 2013, were included. Aliquoted to a transport swab, each submission was inoculated to MacConkey broth with cefotaxime, incubated at 37°C and then inoculated to MacConkey agars supplemented with cefoxitin and cefepime to select for the AmpC and ESBL phenotypes, with blaCMY and blaCTX-M genotypes confirmed by PCR and sequencing. From the 692 diarrhoeic submissions, our selective culture yielded 184 isolates (26.6%) with reduced susceptibility to cefotaxime. Of these, 46 (6.7%) samples harboured commensal isolates carrying the AmpC blaCMY. Another 21 (3.0%) samples produced isolates harbouring the ESBL blaCTX-M: 19 carrying CTX-M-15 and 2 with CTX-M-27. Our results indicate that β-lactam resistance genes likely acquired through zoonotic food-borne transmission are present in the enteric flora of this hospital-associated population at lower levels than reported in livestock and fresh food products.

  •  | August 1, 2016 4:00AM

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of LISTEN (Loneliness Intervention) on loneliness, depression, physical health, systemic inflammation, and genomic expression in a sample of lonely, chronically ill, older adults. Methods: This was a prospective, longitudinal randomized trial of LISTEN, a novel intervention based on theories of narrative and cognitive restructuring to target specific aspects of loneliness. Twenty-three older, lonely, chronically ill adults were recruited from a family medicine clinic in West Virginia. Participants were randomized to two groups, 13 in LISTEN group (Loneliness Intervention) and 10 in attention control (healthy aging education). Participants attended an enrollment session where they completed consent, survey data (including sociodemographics and chronic illness diagnoses), baseline physical measures, and blood sampling for gene expression analysis. After completing the 5 weekly sessions, all participants attended a 12 week post data collection meeting (17 weeks post-baseline) for survey completion, physical measures and blood sampling. Results: The results of this study show that the LISTEN intervention improves measures of physical and psychosocial health. Specifically, subjects enrolled in LISTEN showed reductions in systolic blood pressure, as well as decreased feelings of loneliness and depression. These changes may be due, in part, to a reduction in systemic inflammation, as measured by interleukin-2. Conclusion: This study provides support for the use of LISTEN in reducing loneliness in chronically ill, older adults. Further, while some of our results are inconclusive, it provides rationale to expand our study population to evaluate the relationship between loneliness and systemic inflammation. In the future, enhancing knowledge about the relationships among loneliness, chronic illness, systemic inflammation, and gene expression of these particular targets, and how these relationships may change over time with intervention will inform translation of findings to clinical settings.

  •  | June 26, 2016 4:00AM

    Background: Our program of research focuses on thermal and circulatory stability in extremely premature infants. In prior studies, we found that infants have long periods of time in which foot temperature (FT) is higher than central temperature. We thus wanted to determine whether blood flow in the foot is increased when FT is elevated. Perfusion index (PI) can be used as a clinical indicator of peripheral perfusion, but reports on use of PI in premature infants are lacking. We employed exploratory methodology to examine foot perfusion and temperature in very low birth weight infants.

    Aims: For premature infants after birth: (1) describe foot PI values for the first 2 weeks of life and (2) describe the relationship of longitudinal FT and PI. Study

    Design: Case study design with longitudinal FT and PI in 17 infants born at <29 weeks’ gestation with birth weight < 1,200 g for 2 weeks after birth. Results: Infants averaged 851 g at birth and were 24–29 weeks’ gestational age. The mean PI across all infants for 14 days was 1.04, SD ¼ 0.79. Using a repeated measures multilevel model approach confirmed that FT and PI were positively related in these infants. 

    Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that perfusion is increased in the periphery in extremely premature infants when FT is increased. PI measures can be used as a trend for peripheral perfusion, and these values increase over the first 2 weeks of life in infants weighing more than 750 g.

  •  | June 21, 2016 4:00AM

    Used as integrated tools, technology may improve the ability of healthcare providers to improve access and outcomes of care. Little is known about healthcare teams’ preferences in using such technology. This paper reports the findings from focus groups aimed at evaluating a newly developed primary care technology platform. Focus groups were completed in academic, outpatient, and community settings. Focus groups were attended by 37 individuals. The participants included professionals from multiple disciplines. Both prescribing (N = 8) and nonprescribing healthcare team members (n = 21) completed the focus groups and survey. The majority were practicing for more than 20 years (44.8%) in an outpatient clinic (62%) for 20–40 hours per week (37.9%). Providers identified perceived obstacles of patient use as ability, willingness, and time. System obstacles were identified as lack of integration, lack of reimbursement, and cost. The positive attributes of the developed system were capability for virtual visits, readability, connectivity, user-friendliness, ability to capture biophysical measures, enhanced patient access, and incorporation of multiple technologies. Providers suggested increasing capability for biophysical and symptom monitoring for more common chronic conditions. Technology interventions have the potential to improve access and outcomes but will not be successful without the input of users.

  •  | June 1, 2016 4:00AM

    The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of studies that used Video Conferencing (VC) intervention for common chronic conditions. Chronic conditions account for the majority of poor health, disability, and death, and for a major portion of health-care expenditures in the United States. Innovative methods and interventions are needed to enhance care and management, improve access to care, improve patient outcomes, narrow health disparities and reduce healthcare costs. Video Conferencing could be particularly relevant in improving health, care management, access and cost in the care of chronic illnesses. A comprehensive literature search process guided by the PRISMA statement led to the inclusion of 27 articles measuring video conferencing, at least one chronic illness, and patient outcomes for adults living in a community setting. While VC has been found to be feasible and effective, a low number of randomized controlled trials limit evidence. In addition, studies in this review were not designed to address the question of whether access to care in rural areas is improved through VC. Hence, more research is needed.

  •  | May 17, 2016 4:00AM

    PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe the development of a self-efficacy instrument that measures perceived ability to manage symptoms and quality-of-life problems resulting from the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

    DESIGN: Items were developed and content validity assessed. A 14-item scale was psychometrically evaluated using internal consistency reliability and several types of construct validity.

    SAMPLE: 1,127 female breast cancer survivors (BCSs).

    METHODS: Written consents were mailed to the research office. Data were collected via mail and telephone.

    MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Demographics, symptom bother, communication with healthcare provider, attention function, fear of recurrence, depression, marital satisfaction, fatigue, sexual functioning, trait and state anxiety, and overall well-being.

    FINDINGS: Data demonstrated that the breast cancer self-efficacy scale (BCSES) was reliable, with an alpha coefficient of 0.89, inter-item correlations ranging from 0.3-0.6, and item-total correlation coefficients ranging from 0.5-0.73. Three of 14 items were deleted because of redundancy as identified through high (> 0.7) inter-item correlations. Factor analysis revealed that the scale was unidimensional. Predictive validity was supported through testing associations between self-efficacy and theoretically supported quality-of-life variables, including physical, psychological, and social dimensions, as well as overall well-being.

    CONCLUSIONS: The BCSES demonstrated high internal consistency reliability, unidimensionality, and excellent content and construct validity. This scale should be integrated into interventions that target self-efficacy for managing symptoms in BCSs.

    IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Nurses working with BCSs may use this tool to assess areas in which survivors might need to build confidence to adequately cope with their specific survivorship concerns.

    KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION: The use of the BCSES can inform nurse researchers about the impact of an intervention on self-efficacy in the context of breast cancer survivorship, improving the ability to deliver effective interventions. The scale is brief and easy to administer. Results of this study demonstrate clear psychometric reliability and validity, suggesting that the BCSES should be put to use immediately in interventions targeting the quality of life of BCSs.