Delay in discharge of psychiatric patients frequently is attributed to the lack of available community resources, or to the unwillingness of the patient or his family to accept discharge or transfer to another facility. The role of the psychiatric system itself rarely is mentioned as a factor. A study of 138 psychiatric patients in a Canadian community hospital in 1978 showed that 35 per cent were judged to be delayed in their discharge. By far the greatest source of delay was the administration of the various psychiatric services within the system. Delayed patients were found to be statistically similar to nondelayed patients, except for the delayed patients tendency to be poorer and to be overrepresented on two of the six wards studied. The cost implications of the delays in discharge are discussed, as are suggestions for solving the problems within the administrative framework.
To evaluate the costs, consequences, effectiveness, and safety of ciprofloxacin vs standard antibiotic care in patients with an initial acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB) as well as recurrent AECBs over a 1-year period.
A total of 240 patients, 18 years or older with chronic bronchitis, with a history of frequent exacerbations (three or more in the past year) presenting with a type 1 or 2 AECB (two or more of increased dyspnea, increased sputum volume, or sputum purulence).
The assessment included AECB symptoms, antibiotics prescribed, concomitant medications, adverse events, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, outpatient resources such as diagnostic tests, procedures, and patient and caregiver out-of-pocket expenses. Patients completed the Nottingham Health Profile, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire, and the Health Utilities Index. The parameters were recorded with each AECB and at regular quarterly intervals for 1 year. These variables were compared between the ciprofloxacin-treated group and the usual-care-treated group.
Patients receiving ciprofloxacin experienced a median of two AECBs per patient compared to a median of three AECBs per patient receiving usual care. The mean annualized total number of AECB-symptom days was 42.9+/-2.8 in the ciprofloxacin arm compared to 45.6+/-3.0 days in the usual-care arm (p=0.50). The overall duration of the average AECB was 15.2+/-0.6 days for the ciprofloxacin arm compared to 16.3+/-0.6 days for the usual-care arm. Treatment with ciprofloxacin tended to accelerate the resolution of all AECBs compared to usual care (relative risk=1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91 to 1.58; p=0.19). Treatment assignment did not affect the interexacerbation period but a history of severe bronchitis, prolonged chronic bronchitis, and an increased number of AECBs in the past year were associated with shorter exacerbations-free periods. There was a slight, but not statistically significant, improvement in all quality of life measures with ciprofloxacin over usual care. The only factors predictive of hospitalization were duration of chronic bronchitis (odds ratio=4.6; 95% CI, 1.6, 13.0) and severity of chronic bronchitis (odds ratio=4.3; 95% CI, 0.8, 24.6). The incremental cost difference of $578 Canadian in favor of usual care was not significant (95% CI, -$778, $1,932). The cost for the ciprofloxacin arm over the usual care arm was $18,588 Canadian per quality-adjusted life year gained. When the simple base case analysis was expanded to examine the effect of risk stratification, the presence of moderate or severe bronchitis and at least four AECBs in the previous year changed the economic and clinical analysis to one favorable to ciprofloxacin with the ciprofloxacin-treated group having a better clinical outcome at lower cost ("win-win" scenario).
Treatment with ciprofloxacin tended to accelerate the resolution of all AECBs compared to usual care; however, the difference was not statistically significant. Further, usual care was found to be more reflective of best available care rather than usual first-line agents such as amoxicillin, tetracycline, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole as originally expected. Despite the similar antimicrobial activities and broad-spectrum coverage of both ciprofloxacin and usual care, the trends in clinical outcomes and all quality of life measurements favor ciprofloxacin. In patients suffering from an AECB with a history of moderate to severe chronic bronchitis and at least four AECBs in the previous year, ciprofloxacin treatment offered substantial clinical and economic benefits. In these patients, ciprofloxacin may be the preferred first antimicrobial choice.
The prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (analgesics) was studied using computerized patient records from a Finnish health centre with a population base of some 27,000 inhabitants. A random sample of every fifth patient visiting the health centre in 1986 was chosen. This study sample consisted of 4,577 patients with 17,021 physician contacts and altogether 14,035 prescriptions during the 1-year follow-up: of these analgesics comprised 14.8%. The proportion of the study population who received at least one analgesic prescription was 23 +/- 1.2% (95% CI). The use of physician contacts as a base revealed 10.7 +/- 0.5% (95% CI) of the contacts with an analgesic prescription. The exposure to analgesics among males increased with age from 17% for those aged 15-34 years to 34% for those aged 75 years or more. Among women, exposure to analgesics increased from 17% (15-34 years) to 41% (75 years or more). Most of patients who received analgesic prescriptions were incidental users (one or two analgesic prescriptions per year). Only 4% of women and 3% of men were categorized as heavy users of analgesics (seven or more analgesic prescriptions per year). The proportion of heavy users increased with age and was highest in the oldest age-group (75 years or more). In order to make informed policy judgements about drug use in society, we need routine sales statistics and patient-specific drug-use data such as those presented in this paper.
This randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate the 2-year costs and effects of a proactive, public health nursing case management approach compared with a self-directed approach for 129 single parents (98% were mothers) on social assistance in a Canadian setting. A total of 43% of these parents had a major depressive disorder and 38% had two or three other health conditions at baseline.
Study participants were recruited over a 12 month period and randomized into two groups: one receiving proactive public health nursing and one which did not.
At 2 years, 69 single parents with 123 children receiving proactive public health nursing (compared with 60 parents with 91 children who did not receive public health nursing services) showed a slightly greater reduction in dysthymia and slightly higher social adjustment. There was no difference between the public health and control groups in total per parent annual cost of health and support services. However, costs were averted due to a 12% difference in non-use of social assistance in the previous 12 months for parents in the public health nursing group. This translates into an annual cost saving of 240,000 dollars (Canadian) of costs averted within 1 year for every 100 parents.
In the context of a system of national health and social insurance, this study supports the fact that it is no more costly to proactively service this population of parents on social assistance.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the long-term outcome of a behavioural medicine rehabilitation programme and the outcome of its two main components, compared to a 'treatment-as-usual' control group. The study employed a 4 x 5 repeated-measures design with four groups and five assessment periods during a 3-year follow-up. The group studied consisted of blue-collar and service/care workers on sick leave, identified in a nationwide health insurance scheme in Sweden. After inclusion, the subjects were randomised to one of the four conditions: behaviour-oriented physiotherapy (PT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), behavioural medicine rehabilitation consisting of PT+CBT (BM) and a 'treatment-as-usual' control group (CG). Outcome variables were sick leave, early retirement and health-related quality of life. A cost-effectiveness analysis, comparing the programmes, was made. The results showed, consistently, the full-time behavioural medicine programme being superior to the three other conditions. The strongest effect was found on females. Regarding sick leave, the mean difference in the per-protocol analysis between the BM programme and the control group was 201 days, thus reducing sick leave by about two-thirds of a working year. Rehabilitating women has a substantial impact on costs for production losses, whereas rehabilitating men seem to be effortless with no significant effect on either health or costs. In conclusion, a full-time behavioural medicine programme is a cost-effective method for improving health and increasing return to work in women working in blue-collar or service/care occupations and suffering from back/neck pain.
Information is sparse concerning the incidence and prognosis of headache in children from the general population, especially of tension-type headache. In this study, headache diagnoses and symptoms were reassessed in 122 out of 130 schoolchildren after 3 years. Nearly 80% of those with headache at first evaluation still reported headache at follow-up. Although the likelihood of experiencing the same headache diagnosis and symptoms was high, about one-fifth of children with tension-type headache developed migraine and vice versa. Female gender predicted migraine and frequent headache episodes predicted overall headache at follow-up. The estimated average annual incidence was 81 and 65 per 1000 children, for tension-type headache and migraine, respectively. We conclude that there is a considerable risk of developing and maintaining headache during childhood. Headache diagnoses should be reassessed regularly and treatment adjusted. Girls and children with frequent headache have a poorer prognosis and therefore intervention is particularly important in these groups.
Secondary prevention is an important component of a structured rehabilitation programme following a cardiac event. Comprehensive programmes have been developed in many European countries, the vast majority of which are hospital based. In Sweden, all patients with cardiac disease are also given the opportunity to participate in secondary prevention activities arranged by the National Association for Heart and Lung Patients [The Heart & Lung School (HL)]. The aim of this 3-year longitudinal study was to compare persons who attended the HL after a cardiac event and those who declined participation, with regard to health aspects, life situation, social network and support, clinical data, rehospitalisation and mortality. Totally 220 patients were included in the study. The patients were asked to fill in a questionnaire on four occasions, in addition to visiting a health care center for physical examination. After 3 years, 160 persons were still participating, 35 of whom attended the HL. The results show that persons who participated in the HL exercised more regularly, smoked less and had a denser network as well as more social support from nonfamily members than the comparison groups. This study contributes to increased knowledge among healthcare professionals, politicians and decision makers about peer support groups as a support strategy after a cardiac event.