To study people's views on the accessibility and continuity of primary medical care provided by different providers: a public primary healthcare centre (PPHC), occupational healthcare (OHC), and a private practice (PP).
A nationwide population-based questionnaire study.
A total of 6437 (from a sample of 10,000) Finns aged 15-74 years.
Period of time (in days) to get an appointment with any physician was assessed via a single structured question. Accessibility and continuity were evaluated with a five-category Likert scale. Values 4-5 were regarded as good.
Altogether 72% had found that they could obtain an appointment with a physician within three days, while 6% had to wait more than two weeks. Older subjects and subjects with chronic diseases perceived waiting times as longer more often than younger subjects and those without chronic diseases. The proportion of subjects who perceived access to care to be good was 35% in a PPHC, 68% in OHC, and 78% in a PP. The proportion of subjects who were able to get successive appointments with the same doctor was 45% in a PPHC, 68% in OHC, and 81% in a PP. A personal doctor system was related to good continuity and access in a PPHC.
Access to and continuity of care in Finland are suboptimal for people suffering from chronic diseases. The core features of good primary healthcare are still not available within the medical care provided by public health centres.
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Anticholinergic drug use has been associated with a risk of central and peripheral adverse effects. There is a lack of information on anticholinergic drug use in persons with diabetes. The aim of this study is to investigate anticholinergic drug use and the association between anticholinergic drug use and self-reported symptoms in older community-dwelling persons with and without diabetes.
The basic population was comprised of Finnish community-dwelling primary care patients aged 65 and older. Persons with diabetes were identified according to the ICD-10 diagnostic codes from electronic patient records. Two controls adjusted by age and gender were selected for each person with diabetes. This cross-sectional study was based on electronic primary care patient records and a structured health questionnaire. The health questionnaire was returned by 430 (81.6%) persons with diabetes and 654 (73.5%) persons without diabetes. Data on prescribed drugs were obtained from the electronic patient records. Anticholinergic drug use was measured according to the Anticholinergic Risk Scale. The presence and strength of anticholinergic symptoms were asked in the health questionnaire.
The prevalence of anticholinergic drug use was 8.9% in the total study cohort. There were no significant differences in anticholinergic drug use between persons with and without diabetes. There was no consistent association between anticholinergic drug use and self-reported symptoms.
There is no difference in anticholinergic drug use in older community-dwelling persons with and without diabetes. Anticholinergic drug use should be considered individually and monitored carefully.
Disturbances in lipid metabolism have been linked to suicidal behaviour, but little is known about the association between suicide risk and abnormal glucose metabolism in depression. Hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia may increase the risk of depression and also the risk for suicide, we therefore studied associations between suicidal behaviour and disturbances in glucose metabolism in depressive patients who had been referred to depression nurse case managers.
Patients aged 35 years and older (N = 448, mean age 51 years) who were experiencing a new depressive episode, who were referred to depression nurse case managers in 2008-2009 and who scored =10 on the Beck Depression Inventory were enrolled in this study. The study was conducted in municipalities within the Central Finland Hospital District (catchment area of 274 000 inhabitants) as part of the Finnish Depression and Metabolic Syndrome in Adults study. The patients' psychiatric diagnoses and suicidal behaviour were confirmed by the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Blood samples, for glucose and lipid determinations, were drawn from participants after 12 h of fasting, which was followed by a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) when blood was drawn at 0 and 2 h. Insulin resistance was measured by the Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) method.
Suicidal ideation (49 %) and previous suicide attempts (16 %) were common in patients with major depressive disorder or dysthymia. Patients with depression and suicidal behaviour had higher blood glucose concentrations at baseline and at 2 hours in the OGTT. Glucose levels associated positively with the prevalence of suicidal behaviour, and the linearity was significant at baseline (p for linearity: 0.012, adjusted for age and sex) and for 2-hour OGTT glucose (p for linearity: 0.004, adjusted for age and sex). QUICKI levels associated with suicidal behavior (p for linearity across tertiles of QUICKI: 0.026). Total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were also higher in those patients with suicidal behaviour. Multivariate analysis revealed that blood glucose levels, BDI scores and antidepressive medications associated with suicidal behaviour.
Insulin resistance and disturbances in glucose and lipid metabolism may be more common in middle-aged depressive patients with suicidal behaviour.
Cites: Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Apr;157(4):648-5010739432
An association between vitamin B12 levels and depressive symptoms (DS) has been reported in several epidemiological studies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate vitamin B12 levels in population-based samples with melancholic or non-melancholic DS as the relationship between vitamin B12 levels and different subtypes of DS has not been evaluated in previous studies.
Subjects without previously known type 2 diabetes, aged 45-74 years were randomly selected from the National Population Register as a part of the Finnish diabetes prevention programme (FIN-D2D). The study population (N?=?2806, participation rate 62%) consisted of 1328 men and 1478 women. The health examinations were carried out between October and December 2007 according to the WHO MONICA protocol. The assessment of DS was based on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, cut-off =10 points). A DSM-IV- criteria based summary score of melancholic items in the BDI was used in dividing the participants with DS (N?=?429) into melancholic (N?=?138) and non-melancholic DS (N?=?291) subgroups. In the statistical analysis we used chi-squared test, t-test, permutation test, analysis of covariance, multivariate logistic regression analysis and multinomial regression model.
The mean vitamin B12 level was 331±176 pmol/L in those without DS while the subjects with non-melancholic DS had a mean vitamin B12 level of 324 ± 135 pmol/L, and those with melancholic DS had the lowest mean vitamin B12 level of 292±112 pmol/L (p?
Cites: J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 May;57(5):871-619484842
To investigate the extent of concomitant use of analgesic and psychotropic medicines among home-dwelling elderly people aged at least 75 years in Finland.
This was a population-based study in Finland, performed as part of Kuopio 75 + study focusing on the clinical epidemiology of diseases, medication and functional capacity. A random sample of 700 persons was drawn from the total population of the city of Kuopio, eastern Finland, aged 75 years on January 1, 1998 (n = 4518). Ninety-nine persons could not be examined and 78 were living in long-term institutions, so that the number of home-dwelling elderly persons amounted to 523. A trained nurse interviewed the participants about their use of medicines, and a geriatrician examined their overall physical and mental status. Dementia and depression were diagnosed according to the DSM IV criteria. Both regular and irregular prescribed and nonprescribed drug use was recorded.
Every fourth elderly person (27.2%) used analgesics and psychotropics concomitantly, this use becoming twice as common with advancing age (19.6% in the age group 75-79 years, 38.2% among the oldest, aged 85 + years). Concomitant use of psychotropics and opioids also became more common with increasing age (2.8% in age group 75-79 years and 9.6% in the oldest group, aged 85 + years). The use of opioids was nearly twice as common among concomitant users (19.7%) than among those using only analgesics (11.3%). Concomitant users suffered from interfering daily pain and daily pain at rest more commonly than nonusers of analgesics. Depression, sleeping problems and polypharmacy were more common among the concomitant users, who had also had more hip fractures than the rest.
Concomitant use of analgesics and psychotropics becomes more common with advancing age and is a potential risk factor for adverse drug effects.
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Medicine expenditures have continuously increased in Finland over the past 25 years. Generic substitution was introduced in Finland in the beginning of April 2003 with the aim of curbing the rise in the medical expenses of society and individuals. Pharmacists are obligated to substitute the cheapest or close to the cheapest medicine for prescribed medicine unless the customer refuses or the physician forbids substitution, which the physician can do for medical or therapeutic reasons. In this study, we explored how customers and physicians view the 2003 reform via two customer questionnaires and by interviewing physicians. The first questionnaires were handed out in 15 pharmacies in 5 geographical areas (hospital districts) in Finland to customers (n=1243, response rate 44%) who had refused generic substitution, and the second in 18 pharmacies in 6 geographical areas to customers (n=453, response rate 47%) who had accepted substituted medicines at least once. The physician interview study was directed to psychiatrists, geriatrists, internists and general practitioners (n=49). Most customers and physicians think generic substitution is a good reform measure. The main reason mentioned for substitution was to save money. The most important reason given for refusing substitution was the customers' positive experiences with medicines they had used previously. About half of the physicians thought not all interchangeable medicines are effective and safe.
The Lapinlahti 2005-2010 study was carried out to explore cardiovascular disease risk factors and changes in lifestyle in Lapinlahti residents in eastern Finland. Our aim was to analyse factors influencing the level of cholesterol in the community.
In 2005, 480 subjects aged 30-65 years underwent a complete health survey (baseline study) that consisted of a structured questionnaire and a health examination. The follow-up was carried out five years later in 2010. The present study population included 326 individuals who did not use lipid-lowering medication at the baseline. A trained research nurse measured weight, height, waist circumference and blood pressure at the baseline and follow-up. Respectively, lifestyle factors (nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol use) were examined with a structured questionnaire. Each lifestyle item was valued as -1, 0 or 1, depending on how closely it fitted to the recommendations. Cholesterol level analyses at the baseline and follow-up were performed according to the protocol of the Kuopio University Hospital's medical laboratory. Based on their baseline cholesterol levels, the participants were divided into tertiles. The age- and sex-adjusted linear trend between the tertiles was tested.
The change in cholesterol level was associated with lipid-lowering medication (P
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In Finland, hospital districts (HD) are required by law to determine the level and availability of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for each 1-km2 sized area (cell) within their administrative area. The cells are currently categorised into five risk categories based on the predicted number of missions. Methodological defects and insufficient instructions have led to incomparability between EMS services. The aim of this study was to describe a new, nationwide method for categorising the cells, analyse EMS response time data and describe possible differences in mission profiles between the new risk category areas.
National databases of EMS missions, population and buildings were combined with an existing nationwide 1-km2 hexagon-shaped cell grid. The cells were categorised into four groups, based on the Finnish Environment Institute's (FEI) national definition of urban and rural areas, population and historical EMS mission density within each cell. The EMS mission profiles of the cell categories were compared using risk ratios with confidence intervals in 12 mission groups.
In total, 87.3% of the population lives and 87.5% of missions took place in core or other urban areas, which covered only 4.7% of the HDs' surface area. Trauma mission incidence per 1000 inhabitants was higher in core urban areas (42.2) than in other urban (24.2) or dispersed settlement areas (24.6). The results were similar for non-trauma missions (134.8, 93.2 and 92.2, respectively). Each cell category had a characteristic mission profile. High-energy trauma missions and cardiac problems were more common in rural and uninhabited cells, while violence, intoxication and non-specific problems dominated in urban areas.
The proposed area categories and grid-based data collection appear to be a useful method for evaluating EMS demand and availability in different parts of the country for statistical purposes. Due to a similar rural/urban area definition, the method might also be usable for comparison between the Nordic countries.
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Cites: Int J Health Geogr. 2014 Oct 30;13:46 PMID 25358866
Generic substitution (GS) is an important way to decrease medical costs. We aimed to study the opinions and attitudes of Finnish people about GS five years after it was introduced, the reasons for substituting and what people think about generic medicines.
We sent a postal survey to a random stratified population sample of 3000 Finnish people aged at least 18 years in 2008. The random sample was drawn from five mainland counties. The sampling was conducted by the Finnish Population Register Centre. The response rate was 62% (n=1844) after exclusion of unobtainable addressees (n=34).
Most of the respondents (70.9%) considered GS a good law reform. However, there were many respondents who were unsure about their opinion (26.9%). The respondents also held the opinion that cheaper medicines are effective (80.9%) and that GS does not cause any risk to drug safety (84.9%). Most of the respondents (88.4%) who had substituted their medicines had not noticed any difference between the previously used and substituted medicines. Two main reasons for substituting were a desire to save money and recommendation by pharmacists. Of the respondents, 16.3% had experience with both substituting and refusing it. The percentage of the respondents who only had experience with refusing GS was 8.6%. Female gender, older age and use of prescription drugs were associated with refusing.
Finnish people consider GS a good reform. They also have confidence in the effect of cheaper medicines. Savings are the main reason for accepting GS.
Pain is a significant problem in the elderly, but the impact of dementia on perceived pain has not been studied in population-based study settings.
To analyse the prevalence of daily pain and analgesic use among home-dwelling older people with and without dementia.
A cross-sectional population-based survey.
Population of Kuopio city, Finland.
523 home-dwelling subjects aged 75 years and older.
Structured clinical examination and interview.
Prevalence rates for any pain, any daily pain, pain every day interfering with routine activities, and daily pain at rest were significantly lower in those subjects with dementia (43%, 23%, 19% and 4%, respectively) compared to those subjects without dementia (69%, 40%, 36% and 13%, respectively). The subjects with dementia were less likely to use analgesics (33%) than the non-demented (47%).
Dementia was related to a lower prevalence of reported pain and analgesic use among home-dwelling elderly people.
Comment In: Age Ageing. 2004 Sep;33(5):432-415315914