In recent years, a focus on workers' ability, rather than impairment, has guided disability management services. However, a challenge with the notion of 'ability' is identification of the border between ability and inability. This article considers this gray zone of disability management in the case of a workers' compensation vocational retraining program for injured workers in Ontario.
In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of 71 participants who were directly involved with the vocational retraining process. Workers in the program had on average incurred injury 3 years earlier. Procedural and legal documents were also analyzed. Principles of grounded theory and discourse analysis guided the data gathering and analysis.
A program focus on worker abilities did not allow for consideration of unresolved medical problems. Concepts such as maximum medical rehabilitation distracted attention from workers' ongoing chronic and unstable health situations, and incentive levers to employers directed some of the least capable workers into the program. As well, communication pathways for discussing health problems were limited by rules and provider reluctance to reveal problems. Therefore, workers completing the program were deemed 'employable', while ongoing and problematic health conditions preventing employment remained relatively uncharted and invisible.
This study reinforces how the shift in disability management paradigm to a focus on ability and return to work requires consideration of environmental conditions, including policies and programs and implementation. A focus on the environment in which worker ability can be enacted might be as important as a focus on improving individual worker characteristics.
While injuries are a leading health concern for Aboriginal populations, injury rates and types vary substantially across bands. The uniqueness of Aboriginal communities highlights the importance of collecting community-level injury surveillance data to assist with identifying local injury patterns, setting priorities for action and evaluating programs. Secwepemc First Nations communities in British Columbia, Canada, implemented the Injury Surveillance Project using the Aboriginal Community-Centered Injury Surveillance System. This paper presents findings from a community-based participatory process evaluation of the Injury Surveillance Project. Qualitative data collection methods were informed by OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession) principles and included focus groups, interviews and document review. Results focused on lessons learned through the planning, implementation and management of the Injury Surveillance Project identifying lessons related to: project leadership and staff, training, project funding, initial project outcomes, and community readiness. Key findings included the central importance of a community-based and paced approach guided by OCAP principles, the key role of leadership and project champions, and the strongly collaborative relationships between the project communities. Findings may assist with successful implementation of community-based health surveillance in other settings and with other health issues and illustrate another path to self-determination for Aboriginal communities. The evaluation methods represent an example of a collaborative community-driven approach guided by OCAP principles necessary for work with Aboriginal communities.
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Long-term measures to reduce tobacco consumption in Australia have had differential effects in the population. The prevalence of smoking in Aboriginal peoples is currently more than double that of the non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal Health Workers are responsible for providing primary health care to Aboriginal clients including smoking cessation programs. However, Aboriginal Health Workers are frequently smokers themselves, and their smoking undermines the smoking cessation services they deliver to Aboriginal clients. An understanding of the barriers to quitting smoking experienced by Aboriginal Health Workers is needed to design culturally relevant smoking cessation programs. Once smoking is reduced in Aboriginal Health Workers, they may then be able to support Aboriginal clients to quit smoking.
We undertook a fundamental qualitative description study underpinned by social ecological theory. The research was participatory, and academic researchers worked in partnership with personnel from the local Aboriginal health council. The barriers Aboriginal Health Workers experience in relation to quitting smoking were explored in 34 semi-structured interviews (with 23 Aboriginal Health Workers and 11 other health staff) and 3 focus groups (n = 17 participants) with key informants. Content analysis was performed on transcribed text and interview notes.
Aboriginal Health Workers spoke of burdensome stress and grief which made them unable to prioritise quitting smoking. They lacked knowledge about quitting and access to culturally relevant quitting resources. Interpersonal obstacles included a social pressure to smoke, social exclusion when quitting, and few role models. In many workplaces, smoking was part of organisational culture and there were challenges to implementation of Smokefree policy. Respondents identified inadequate funding of tobacco programs and a lack of Smokefree public spaces as policy level barriers. The normalisation of smoking in Aboriginal society was an overarching challenge to quitting.
Aboriginal Health Workers experience multilevel barriers to quitting smoking that include personal, social, cultural and environmental factors. Multidimensional smoking cessation programs are needed that reduce the stress and burden for Aboriginal Health Workers; provide access to culturally relevant quitting resources; and address the prevailing normalisation of smoking in the family, workplace and community.
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The aim was to explore the ambulance service as experienced by present and former employees.
Over the last decade, the number of ambulance assignments has increased annually by about 10%, and as many as 50% of all ambulance assignments are considered non-urgent. This raises questions about which assignments the Ambulance Service (AS) is supposed to deal with.
Data were collected from three focus group interviews with a total of 18 present and former employees of the Swedish AS. An inductive qualitative analysis method developed by Krueger was chosen.
Five themes emerged in the analysis: "Poor guidance for practice", "An unclear assignment", "Being a gate keeper", "From saving lives to self-care" and "Working in no man's land", which together constitute the AS.
Present and former employees of the AS in Sweden describe their mission as unclear and recognize the lack of consensus and a clearly developed mission statement. Furthermore, expectations and training mainly focus on emergency response, which is contrary to the reality of the ambulance clinicians' everyday work.
The goal of this study was to evaluate hospital stays for patients operated on with primary total hip- and knee-arthroplasty (THA and TKA) in order to identify important logistical and clinical areas for the duration of the hospital stay.
According to the National Register on Patients, the three departments with the shortest and the three departments with the longest postoperative hospital stay at the end of 2003 were chosen for evaluation. This took place from late 2004 to mid 2005, and all written material and 25 journals from each department were evaluated, and interviews with the heads of the departments as well as the staff were conducted. The logistical set-up and the clinical treatment/pathway were examined in an attempt to identify logistical and clinical factors acting as improvements or barriers for quick rehabilitation and subsequent discharge.
Departments with short hospital stay were characterised by both logistical (homogenous entities, regular staff, high continuity, using more time on and up-to-date information including expectations of a short stay, functional discharge criteria) and clinical features (multi-modal pain treatment, early mobilization and discharge when criteria were met) facilitating quick rehabilitation and discharge.
Implementation of logistical and clinical features, as shown in this study in all departments, are expected to increase rehabilitation and reduce the length of hospital stay.
An intercultural birthing house was established in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, as an intervention to reduce maternal mortality among indigenous women. This birth center, known locally as the Casa Materna, is a place where women can come to give birth with their traditional birth attendant. However, three months after opening, no woman had used the birthing house.
This study reports on the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to childbirth and use of the Casa Materna from the perspective of the health workers, traditional birth attendants and the program's target population. Structured interviews, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with participants from each of these groups. Data was searched for emerging themes and coded.
Findings show that the potential success of this program is jeopardized by lack of transport and a strong cultural preference for home births. The paper highlights the importance of community participation in planning and implementing such an intervention and of establishing trust and mutual respect among key actors. Recommendations are provided for moving forward the maternal health agenda of indigenous women in Chiapas.
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To assess the acceptability and face validity of a psychological assessment instrument, the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), as a depression screening tool for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.
Four focus groups were held in an urban, Aboriginal community-controlled health service. Participants' attitudes to screening for depression and the specific components of PHQ-9 were explored.
Process-oriented and PHQ-9-specific themes were raised. They included the role of family in the screening process, the need for a trusting relationship between the tool administrator and patient, the risk of confounding by social disadvantage or physical co-morbidities, the absence of a question assessing the presence of anger as a symptom of depression, and the importance of culturally appropriate language within the tool.
Modification of the screening process and wording of the PHQ-9 in response to these concerns should render it acceptable for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in this setting.
These results may apply to the use of other psychological screening tools in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. This is particularly relevant given the policy emphasis on screening in Indigenous health.
Transmisssion of infection within healthcare institutions is a significant threat to patients and staff. One of the most effective means of prevention is good hand hygiene. A research team at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Ontario, Canada, developed a wearable hand disinfection system with monitoring capabilities to enhance hand wash frequency. We present the findingsof the first phase of a larger study addressing the hypothesis that an electronic hand hygiene system with monitoring and reminding propertieswill increase hand hygiene compliance. This first phase focused on the acceptability and usability of the wearable electronic hand wash device ina clinical environment. The feedback from healthcare staff to the first prototype has provided evidence for the research team to continue with the development of this technology.
Six cereal/legume mixtures were developed with the aid of computer-assisted optimization software from cereal and legume staples indigenous to the West African sub-region. The mixtures had 45-50% maize, 35-40% decorticated cowpeas and either blanched peanuts or decorticated soybeans as a source of lipid and complementary amino acids. Three processing schemes involving roasting, amylase digestion and extrusion cooking were employed. The proportion of ingredients in each cereal/legume blend was based on meeting the nutrient requirement of the 0.5-0.9-year-old infant and cost considerations. Nutrient composition of the blends (proximate, amino acid, mineral and vitamin composition) indicated that these formulations were adequate nutritionally as weaning supplements (Mensa-Wilmot et al, 2000a,2000b). These formulations were evaluated by mothers of weanling children based on their preferences with respect to color, flavor, texture and willingness to purchase the product assessed. A total of 133 one-on-one interviews and 23 group discussions were conducted (involving 6-12 respondents) with selected Ghanaian women. The mothers found the convenience of a weaning food made from local staples that could be processed on village/market scale very attractive.
AIDS stigma has serious consequences. This study explored those practices within health-care organizations that persons with HIV perceive as stigmatizing. It used an exploratory, descriptive design using a participatory action research approach. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 16 Aboriginal and 17 non-Aboriginal persons living with HIV as well as with 27 health-care providers. The AIDS stigma perceived by many participants often intersected with other forms of stigma, related to behaviour, culture, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. In addition, policies at the organizational level contributed to AIDS stigma and at times intersected with stigma at the individual level. Participants' experiences of stigma and discrimination were shaped by the organizational policies (universal precautions, models of care) and design (physical layout) under which care was provided. Several paradoxes associated with secrecy, health-care settings, and the layering of stigma emerged in the reported experiences.