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Healthcare, Volume 12, Issue 4 (February-2 2024) – 89 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Oncological disease in the palliative phase presents psycho-existential challenges for patients and family caregivers (FCs). Meaning of Life Therapy (MLT) is a brief psycho-existential intervention aiming to help patients in a meaning-making life review process, culminating in a Life Letter (LL). The goal of this qualitative study was to understand the perceptions of MLT and the role of LL in the grieving process of eight FCs. MLT was perceived as a transformative experience and the LL emerged as a communicational element and a valuable tool, facilitating FCs’ adaptation to loss. Interventions that consider the idiosyncrasies of end-of-life cancer patients and FCs in order to avoid frustrated goodbyes, lonely deaths and maladaptive grieving processes are necessary. This is the direction in which MLT intends to evolve. View this paper
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12 pages, 625 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Diagnosis and Management of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer in the Head and Neck Region: A Retrospective Cohort Study
by Simone Benedetti, Andrea Frosolini, Lisa Catarzi, Agnese Marsiglio, Paolo Gennaro and Guido Gabriele
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040501 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 721
Abstract
The present study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) in the head and neck region. Conducted at the University Hospital “Le Scotte” in Siena, Italy, the research includes 111 patients treated from 2018 to [...] Read more.
The present study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) in the head and neck region. Conducted at the University Hospital “Le Scotte” in Siena, Italy, the research includes 111 patients treated from 2018 to 2021. The study aims to understand how pandemic-related healthcare changes affected NMSC treatment, focusing on differences in diagnosis and management before and during the pandemic. Methods involved retrospective analysis of patient demographics, clinical characteristics, lesion details, and treatment modalities, using Jamovi software (version 1.6) for statistical analysis. Results revealed the scalp as the most common NMSC site, with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) being the predominant histotype. A significant rise in Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) cases and a reduction in surgery duration were noted during the pandemic. The shift to local anesthesia was more pronounced, reflecting the necessity to adapt to healthcare limitations. Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, there was no significant drop in NMSC cases, which is attributed to the noticeable nature of head and neck lesions. In conclusion, this study highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly influenced surgical practices in NMSC management, emphasizing the need for effective healthcare strategies that balance quality patient care with public health safety measures. Full article
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16 pages, 512 KiB  
Review
Superficial Venous Thrombosis: A Comprehensive Review
by Marco Mangiafico and Luca Costanzo
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040500 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1829
Abstract
Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT), an inflammatory–thrombotic process of a superficial vein, is a relatively common event that may have several different underlying causes. This phenomenon has been generally considered benign, and its prevalence has been historically underestimated; the estimated incidence ranges from about [...] Read more.
Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT), an inflammatory–thrombotic process of a superficial vein, is a relatively common event that may have several different underlying causes. This phenomenon has been generally considered benign, and its prevalence has been historically underestimated; the estimated incidence ranges from about 0.3 to 1.5 event per 1000 person-years, while the prevalence is approximately 3 to 11%, with different reports depending on the population studied. However, such pathology is not free of complications; indeed, it could extend to the deep circulation and embolize to pulmonary circulation. For this reason, an ultrasound examination is recommended to evaluate the extension of SVT and to exclude the involvement of deep circulation. Also, SVT may be costly, especially in the case of recurrence. Therefore, accurate management is necessary to prevent sequelae and costs related to the disease. This review aims to analyse the epidemiology of SVT, its complications, optimal medical treatment, and open questions with future perspectives. Full article
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11 pages, 1577 KiB  
Article
Improved Medication Adherence of an Elderly Diabetic Patient at a Dwelling Home Using a Pill Dispenser and Personal Health Records
by Ryoji Suzuki, Emiri Takahashi and Ikuo Tofukuji
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040499 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 646
Abstract
Fookkun® is a pill dispenser in which single doses of several medications intended to be taken simultaneously are sealed in single film bags rolled onto a medication rotating drum. The system makes musical alert sounds when it is time for the patient [...] Read more.
Fookkun® is a pill dispenser in which single doses of several medications intended to be taken simultaneously are sealed in single film bags rolled onto a medication rotating drum. The system makes musical alert sounds when it is time for the patient to take the medications. If the patient misses a dose, a designated contact, such as the patient’s child, is alerted. We conducted an experiment monitoring the use of a pill dispenser (Fookkun®) by an older patient. The participant was a 71-year-old woman with diabetes living in a dwelling home. The experiment lasted approximately 6 months. Fookkun® and the prototype data transmitter were installed at the patient’s home. Fookkun®’s medication history data are displayed on the electronic medication record book (E-MRB) and the patient’s pharmacist checks the patient’s medication history on the E-MRB. The Fookkun® was effective in facilitating medication adherence. The pharmacist and the patient’s daughter did not need to check the E-MRB because Fookkun® alerted them when the patient missed her medication. We believe that if the medication history data linked between a pill dispenser and an E-MRB can be shared among medical staff, this will contribute to a medical digital transformation in Japan in the future. Full article
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11 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
Ageing with Parkinson’s: Identification of Personal Needs in the Northern Spanish Context
by Patricia Solís García, María Souto Serrano, Mª Ángeles Alcedo Rodríguez, Elsa Peña Suárez, Ignacio Pedrosa and Antonio León Aguado Diaz
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040498 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
As individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease enter older age, the myriad challenges and complications associated with this condition tend to escalate. Hence, there is a critical necessity to comprehensively discern the perceived needs of these individuals, along with their proposed remedies and essential [...] Read more.
As individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease enter older age, the myriad challenges and complications associated with this condition tend to escalate. Hence, there is a critical necessity to comprehensively discern the perceived needs of these individuals, along with their proposed remedies and essential support requisites. Additionally, understanding the perspectives of their families becomes imperative to formulate tailored interventions aimed at enhancing their overall development, progression, and quality of life. The study’s main objective is to assess the perceived needs of individuals with PD and their family members, propose necessary solutions, and suggest future perspectives. The study encompassed a cohort of 268 participants, comprising 179 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and 89 of their relatives. A meticulously designed structured interview instrument consisting of 93 items was employed to assess various domains encompassing perceived needs, institutional support mechanisms, essential solutions, and future anticipations. Results: Statistically significant differences were found in health resources, social services resources, obstacles, solutions, and future outlook, with higher mean values from the relatives. Conclusions: The results highlight the most concerning needs in this context. Specifically, those needs related to health resources, social services resources, and future outlook present the greatest differences between the two subsamples, with the family members perceiving more needs. This alignment extended to both the categorization of unmet needs and the requisite solutions envisioned to address them. Suggested improvements include a sociosanitary strategy, stakeholder involvement, and prioritizing flexible home assistance to support older individuals with PD and their families. Full article
8 pages, 373 KiB  
Article
Callers’ Descriptions of Stroke Symptoms during Emergency Calls in Victims Who Have Fallen or Been Found Lying Down: A Qualitative Content Analysis
by Veronica Lindström, Mihaela Oana Romanitan, Annika Berglund, Ruxandra Angela Pirvulescu, Mia von Euler and Katarina Bohm
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040497 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Early identification of stroke symptoms is essential. The rate of stroke identification by call-takers at emergency medical communication centres (EMCCs) varies, and patients who are found in a lying down position are often not identified as having an ongoing stroke. Objectives: this study [...] Read more.
Early identification of stroke symptoms is essential. The rate of stroke identification by call-takers at emergency medical communication centres (EMCCs) varies, and patients who are found in a lying down position are often not identified as having an ongoing stroke. Objectives: this study aimed to explore signs and symptoms of stroke in patients who had fallen or were found in a lying position. Design: a retrospective exploratory qualitative study design was used. Method: a total of 29 emergency calls to EMCCs regarding patients discharged with a stroke diagnosis from a large teaching hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, in January–June 2011, were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: during the emergency calls, the callers described a sudden change in the patient’s health status including signs such as the patient’s loss of bodily control, the patient’s perception of a change in sensory perception, and the callers’ inability to communicate with the patient. Conclusions: The callers’ descriptions of stroke in a person found in a lying position are not always as described in assessment protocols describing the onset of a stroke. Instead, the symptom descriptions are much vaguer. Therefore, to increase identification of stroke during emergency calls, there is a need for an increased understanding of how callers describe stroke symptoms and communicate with the call-takers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Communications Challenges in Health and Well-Being)
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15 pages, 940 KiB  
Article
Supplement Consumption by Elite Soccer Players: Differences by Competitive Level, Playing Position, and Sex
by Jaime Sebastiá-Rico, José Miguel Martínez-Sanz, Jesús Sanchis-Chordà, Miguel Alonso-Calvar, Pedro López-Mateu, David Romero-García and Jose M. Soriano
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040496 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Soccer is a sport practiced all over the world and whose practice begins in young athletes. Currently, the consumption of nutritional supplements is essential to achieve the maximum performance of players. The aim of this study was to describe the consumption of sports [...] Read more.
Soccer is a sport practiced all over the world and whose practice begins in young athletes. Currently, the consumption of nutritional supplements is essential to achieve the maximum performance of players. The aim of this study was to describe the consumption of sports supplements (CSS) by elite soccer players and its association with their competitive level, playing position, and sex. A comparative descriptive and non-experimental study was performed during the 2021–2022 competitive season. A total of 70 elite players completed one online questionnaire about their CSS. We found that sports drinks (55.7%), sports bars (50.0%), whey protein (48.6%), caffeine (47.1%), and creatine (60.0%) were the most consumed supplements by the total sample. Relative to the categories, the CSS was higher in the senior teams for both men and women. Regarding playing positions, caffeine was more consumed by midfielders and forwards (p = 0.013). Finally, in relation to sex, significant differences were found in the consumption of sports confectionery (p = 0.036), whey protein (p = 0.002), β-alanine (p = 0.013), and melatonin (p = 0.016). Soccer club SS questionnaires gather data to understand patterns, assess effectiveness and risks, and aid research. In conclusion, differences were found in the CSS according to competitive level, sex, and playing position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Supplementation for Human Performance)
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15 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Online Counseling through the Working Experiences of Mental Health Therapists Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Maria Moudatsou, Areti Stavropoulou, Michael Rovithis and Sofia Koukouli
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040495 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 963
Abstract
This study aimed to reflect on mental health professionals’ experiences with online counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their perceptions and recommendations for the future. The method of qualitative research with semi-structured interviews was used. The sample consisted of 17 mental [...] Read more.
This study aimed to reflect on mental health professionals’ experiences with online counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their perceptions and recommendations for the future. The method of qualitative research with semi-structured interviews was used. The sample consisted of 17 mental health professionals working in the public or private sectors. A framework analysis revealed four main themes, namely (a) the evaluation of online counseling; (b) comparing in-person and online counseling; (c) factors influencing the effectiveness of online counseling; and (d) suggestions for the future use of online counseling. Most therapists reported that their overall experience with online counseling was positive. The main advantages cited were the accessibility for everyone and the reductions in time, money, and distance. Its primary drawbacks included less nonverbal communication, the inability to employ certain therapeutic tools, problems with confidentiality, lack of experience, and technical difficulties during online sessions. Its effectiveness depends on contextual factors and factors related to the therapeutic process itself. Organizational planning, training, and a solid implementation strategy may help ensure that this communication medium is used to its fullest potential. In addition, the possible utilization of remote counseling combined with in-person psychotherapeutic intervention methods will provide solutions for the future, especially in crisis situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Social Care Policy)
11 pages, 1658 KiB  
Article
Hospital Care for Cancer Patients—Education and Respect for Patient Rights
by Mariola Borowska, Urszula Religioni and Marta Mańczuk
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040494 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 677
Abstract
This study aims to examine cancer patients’ opinions of safety, the observance of patient’s rights, and the quality of healthcare. Such an analysis will allow for the identification of areas for improvement in quality, safety, and communication between medical staff and patients. Cancer [...] Read more.
This study aims to examine cancer patients’ opinions of safety, the observance of patient’s rights, and the quality of healthcare. Such an analysis will allow for the identification of areas for improvement in quality, safety, and communication between medical staff and patients. Cancer patients are a special kind of patients with chronic and complex diseases, so we need to observe the type of communication they use, which is a critical issue in a hospital ward but also has a significant impact on how the patient follows recommendations at home. Observing a patient’s rights impacts the safety and quality of medical care. This information allows for the identification of areas requiring deeper analysis and improvement. This study was based on a survey conducted at an oncology hospital. The survey contained questions divided into seven sections related to the study areas. Our study emphasizes the importance of knowledge and understanding regarding patient rights among medical staff and patients, underscoring their role in ensuring quality and safety in healthcare settings. We found a strong correlation between the politeness of medical receptionists and staff and patient perceptions of the clarity and exhaustiveness of the information provided. Full article
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34 pages, 3670 KiB  
Review
Identifying and Evaluating Young Children with Developmental Central Hypotonia: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Tools
by Álvaro Hidalgo Robles, Ginny S. Paleg and Roslyn W. Livingstone
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040493 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2054
Abstract
Children with developmental central hypotonia have reduced muscle tone secondary to non-progressive damage to the brain or brainstem. Children may have transient delays, mild or global functional impairments, and the lack of a clear understanding of this diagnosis makes evaluating appropriate interventions challenging. [...] Read more.
Children with developmental central hypotonia have reduced muscle tone secondary to non-progressive damage to the brain or brainstem. Children may have transient delays, mild or global functional impairments, and the lack of a clear understanding of this diagnosis makes evaluating appropriate interventions challenging. This overview aimed to systematically describe the best available evidence for tools to identify and evaluate children with developmental central hypotonia aged 2 months to 6 years. A systematic review of systematic reviews or syntheses was conducted with electronic searches in PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Google Scholar, and PEDro and supplemented with hand-searching. Methodological quality and risk-of-bias were evaluated, and included reviews and tools were compared and contrasted. Three systematic reviews, an evidence-based clinical assessment algorithm, three measurement protocols, and two additional measurement tools were identified. For children aged 2 months to 2 years, the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination has the strongest measurement properties and contains a subset of items that may be useful for quantifying the severity of hypotonia. For children aged 2–6 years, a clinical algorithm and individual tools provide guidance. Further research is required to develop and validate all evaluative tools for children with developmental central hypotonia. Full article
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16 pages, 404 KiB  
Article
Orthodontic Risk Perspectives among Orthodontists during Treatment: A Descriptive Pilot Study in Greece and Slovakia
by Franzeska Karkazi, Maria Antoniadou, Katarína Demeterová, Dimitrios Konstantonis, Vasileios Margaritis and Juraj Lysy
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040492 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 737
Abstract
This study explores orthodontists’ perspectives on risks associated with orthodontic treatment, as described by Greek and Slovak orthodontists. Informed by the foundational importance of effective communication of risk perspectives in health sciences, particularly in facilitating valid consent and shared decision-making, this research addresses [...] Read more.
This study explores orthodontists’ perspectives on risks associated with orthodontic treatment, as described by Greek and Slovak orthodontists. Informed by the foundational importance of effective communication of risk perspectives in health sciences, particularly in facilitating valid consent and shared decision-making, this research addresses gaps identified in the literature concerning the consistent communication of potential treatment risks based on demographic and cultural characteristics. This study identifies 15 potential critical risks during orthodontic treatment. These risks include root resorption; temporary undesired changes to the occlusion; sleep difficulties; not achieving an ideal result; development of black triangles between teeth; taking additional X-rays; speech difficulties; using a protective splint during sports; duration of treatment; number of visits; transmission of infectious diseases; and swallowing orthodontic appliances. A questionnaire, distributed electronically to orthodontists in Greece (N1 = 570) and Slovakia (N2 = 210) from September 2022 to December 2022, aimed to assess risk communication practices, taking into consideration socio-demographic factors, such as country, gender, age, and academic-degree-related variations. A total of 168 valid questionnaires (91 from Slovakia and 77 from Greece) were obtained, indicating significant disparities in the risks emphasized and preferred forms of consent. The Greek orthodontists focused more on the risks involved, such as relapse, root resorption, temporal occlusal changes, and failure of desired movement, while the Slovak practitioners tended to be more interested in sleeping difficulties, temporal occlusal changes, and not achieving an ideal result. They also obtained written or digital consent from patients or their parents/guardians more frequently than the Greek team. Male orthodontists discussed specific risks more frequently, including relapse and extractions, whereas females preferred written or digital consent. PhD-trained orthodontists prioritized certain risks, indicating the need for tailored approaches. This study underscores the dynamic nature of risk assessment in orthodontic practice, emphasizing its ethical and strategic dimensions. The findings advocate for tailored risk communication strategies that recognize individual, contextual, and cultural factors, and the need for an orthodontic informed consent protocol for a tailored communication approach for patients to elevate the standard of care in European orthodontics. The reliance on digital tools reflects contemporary trends in enhancing patient understanding, thereby supporting ongoing innovation in orthodontic practices. Full article
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8 pages, 1106 KiB  
Case Report
The Role of Carotid-Femoral Pulse Wave Velocity in a Metabolic Syndrome Patient with Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Case Report
by Hau Kim Choy, Paweł Bogdański and Damian Skrypnik
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040491 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 668
Abstract
Introduction: Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity reflecting aortic stiffness could be used as an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events for an individual with metabolic syndrome. However, the routine use of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity is suboptimized in clinical practice. We report a case [...] Read more.
Introduction: Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity reflecting aortic stiffness could be used as an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events for an individual with metabolic syndrome. However, the routine use of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity is suboptimized in clinical practice. We report a case of metabolic syndrome with increased carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and subsequently developed myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac arrest. Case presentation: A Polish man of an age between 40 and 50 years previously diagnosed with metabolic syndrome with essential hypertension, obesity, dyslipidaemia, and impaired glucose level. He developed myocardial infarction, ventricular fibrillation, and was successfully resuscitated with defibrillation. The patient showed high–normal traditional cardiovascular risk factors but an increased carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. The increased carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity is associated with an increased arterial stiffness, which altered the myocardial perfusion and induced the anterior-lateral ST elevation myocardial infarction. The patient actively participated and completed the phase II cardiac rehabilitation programme. To the best of our knowledge, there have been few studies on carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity screening for patients with metabolic syndrome. Pulse wave velocity screening by a physician appears to be helpful in identifying the potential high-risk population with borderline traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Conclusion: This trajectory highlights the clinical relevance of using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity as an adjunct marker to assess the risk of cardiovascular event for patients with metabolic syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition and Public Health)
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16 pages, 513 KiB  
Article
Usage Patterns of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Patients with Bipolar Disorder: A Population-Based Study in Taiwan
by Shu-Ping Chen, Su-Tso Yang, Kai-Chieh Hu, Senthil Kumaran Satyanarayanan and Kuan-Pin Su
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040490 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1045
Abstract
Background: Patients with bipolar disorder (BD) receive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for clinical needs unmet with psychotropic medications. However, the clinical characteristics of practices and outcomes of TCM in BD are not fully understood. This cohort study investigated the clinical characteristics, principal diagnoses, [...] Read more.
Background: Patients with bipolar disorder (BD) receive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for clinical needs unmet with psychotropic medications. However, the clinical characteristics of practices and outcomes of TCM in BD are not fully understood. This cohort study investigated the clinical characteristics, principal diagnoses, TCM interventions, and TCM prescriptions in patients with BD. Methods: Data for a total of 12,113 patients with BD between 1996 and 2013 were withdrawn from Taiwan’s longitudinal health insurance database 2000 (LHID 2000). The chi-square test was used for categorical variables, and the independent t-test was used for continuous variables. A p-value less than 0.05 indicated significance. Results: One thousand three hundred nineteen patients who visited TCM clinics after the diagnosis of BD were in the TCM group, while those who never visited TCM were in the non-TCM group (n = 1053). Compared to the non-TCM group, patients in the TCM group had younger average age, a higher percentage of female individuals, more comorbidities of anxiety and alcohol use disorders, and higher mood stabilizer usage rates. The TCM group exhibited pain-related indications, including joint pain, myalgia, myositis, headache, and sleep disturbances. Corydalis yanhusuo and Shu-Jing-Huo-Xue-Tang were the most useful single herbs and herbal formulae. Conclusions: Physicians need to be aware of the use of TCM in patients with BD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Informatics and Data Analysis in Healthcare)
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9 pages, 1060 KiB  
Article
Growing Rod versus Posterior Spinal Fusion Treatment of Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis: Unique Characteristics and Surgical Outcomes
by Elizabeth M. Wacker, Lindsay Schultz, Nichole Leitsinger, Viral V. Jain and Peter F. Sturm
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040489 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Progressive spinal curvature in juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (JIS) is challenging to treat. When conservative management fails, treatments include growing rods (GRs) or posterior spinal fusion (PSF). The purpose of this study is to compare the patient characteristics and outcomes of GR and PSF [...] Read more.
Progressive spinal curvature in juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (JIS) is challenging to treat. When conservative management fails, treatments include growing rods (GRs) or posterior spinal fusion (PSF). The purpose of this study is to compare the patient characteristics and outcomes of GR and PSF treatment of JIS. We performed a retrospective review of demographic, radiographic, and surgical data for all JIS patients requiring surgical treatment between 2012 and 2020. Patients who underwent any GR treatment were compared to PSF patients. A total of 36 patients (13 GR, 23 PSF) were reviewed. PSF patients had a larger pre-operative spinal height (p = 0.002), but similar pre-operative major curve magnitudes (p = 0.558). PSF treatment resulted in similar change in the T1-S1 length (p = 0.002), but a greater correction of the curve magnitude (p < 0.055) compared to GR patients. Eight patients initially treated with GRs later underwent definitive PSF treatment. This subset of patients had a greater spinal height before PSF (p = 0.006), but similar immediate post-PSF T1-S1 lengths (p = 0.437) and smaller changes in spinal height from PSF (p = 0.020) than primary PSF patients. At final follow-up, patients who underwent primary PSF versus PSF after GR had similar spinal heights (p = 0.842). The surgical intervention chosen to manage progressive JIS often differs based on patient characteristics. While this choice may impact immediate outcomes, the outcomes at final follow up are similar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paediatric Spinal Deformity)
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16 pages, 616 KiB  
Article
Quality of Life and Emotional Problems of COVID-19 Patients after Discharge: A One-Month Longitudinal Study
by Chiu-Feng Wu, Ting-Yun Lin, Sheng-Kang Chiu, Chu-Hsuan Cheng and Wen-Lin Su
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040488 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Aim: The first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Taiwan occurred in May 2021 and many individuals were infected. All COVID-19 patients were quarantined in designated facilities until they fully recovered to prevent the spread of the disease. Prolonged quarantine could adversely affect [...] Read more.
Aim: The first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Taiwan occurred in May 2021 and many individuals were infected. All COVID-19 patients were quarantined in designated facilities until they fully recovered to prevent the spread of the disease. Prolonged quarantine could adversely affect these patients. In this study, we focused on investigating changes in the quality of life and mental health of individuals discharged from hospital after recovering from COVID-19. Methods: This study employed a longitudinal design and surveyed individuals discharged from a teaching hospital in northern Taiwan in 2021 within one week of their discharge and again after one month. An online questionnaire comprising the participants’ background, respiratory function (COPD Assessment Test), quality of life (WHOQoL-BREF), and emotional problems (DASS-21) was administered to the participants. Results: A total of 56 participants actively took part in both surveys. We observed that participants with abnormal respiratory function had a lower physical and psychological quality of life, especially those with severe symptoms requiring endotracheal intubation during the treatment period of COVID-19. Additionally, approximately 30% of participants experienced anxiety problems throughout this study period. Finally, patients with COVID-19 symptoms exhibited a lower quality of life and higher levels of severe emotional problems. Conclusions: According to our findings, it is necessary to monitor and provide appropriate interventions for individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, especially those who experienced severe symptoms that required endotracheal intubation during COVID-19 treatment. These interventions, such as symptom management and psychological support, can help improve their quality of life and reduce emotional problems. Therefore, after the participants are discharged, hospitals should regularly track the patients’ status and provide appropriate support or referrals to help these individuals. Otherwise, future research could include more participants and follow up with them for longer to investigate the longitudinal impact of COVID-19. Full article
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18 pages, 651 KiB  
Article
Determinants of Continuance Intention to Use Hearing Aids among Older Adults in Tehran (Iran)
by Abdolhakim Jorbonyan, Yadollah Abolfathi Momtaz, Mahshid Foroughan and Saeideh Mehrkian
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040487 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 522
Abstract
The present study seeks to evaluate the factors determining the continuance intention to use hearing aids in older adults. This cross-sectional study was carried out in 2021. The technology post-acceptance model (PAM) framework was used to develop a model for the continuance intention [...] Read more.
The present study seeks to evaluate the factors determining the continuance intention to use hearing aids in older adults. This cross-sectional study was carried out in 2021. The technology post-acceptance model (PAM) framework was used to develop a model for the continuance intention to use hearing aids. In total, 300 hearing aid users aged ≥60 years, who were selected via a randomized stratified sampling method, completed the self-evaluation tools used in this study. With a mean age of 71.38 years (SD = 8), the participants comprised 50.7% and 49.3% females and males, respectively. The path analysis results showed that the continuance intention to use hearing aids was positively and significantly influenced by the actual use of hearing aids, the perceived benefits, satisfaction, confirmation, self-efficacy in using hearing aids, an extraverted personality trait, self-perceived hearing handicap, and perceived social support. The main results of the present study can help hearing care providers develop a better understanding of older users to design effective rehabilitation strategies and ensure their continuance intention to use hearing aids. Full article
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19 pages, 1543 KiB  
Systematic Review
Improving Well-Being and Fostering Health-Oriented Leadership among Leaders in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): A Systematic Review
by Rebecca Erschens, Sophia Helen Adam, Carla Schröpel, Mathias Diebig, Monika A. Rieger, Harald Gündel, Stephan Zipfel and Florian Junne
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040486 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often confronted with specific burdens, which frequently result in increased levels of stress. Leadership behaviour, in turn, has a significant impact on employees’ health and performance. Using the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) method, we [...] Read more.
Leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often confronted with specific burdens, which frequently result in increased levels of stress. Leadership behaviour, in turn, has a significant impact on employees’ health and performance. Using the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome (PICO) method, we conducted a systematic literature search covering publications from 2002 to 2023 using PubMed, PsycInfo and Business Source Premier on stress-reducing and well-being-improving interventions for SME leaders. The Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool was used to assess the methodological quality and risk of bias of the included studies regarding selection bias, study design, confounders, blinding, data collection, withdrawal and drop-out. Of the 3150 identified publications, 6 were included after screening. The studies varied in content (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT]-based, psychoeducation, and mixed interventions) and approach (individual- and organisation-centred). Not all of the examined interventions provided significant outcomes. However, CBT-based and individualised approaches showed a positive trend in reducing SME leaders’ psychosocial stress and improving their well-being. Despite the limited data, it can be concluded that such interventions are beneficial for leaders and their specific needs. Future research should focus on tailored approaches, derived from well-founded theories and integrative interventions addressing SME leaders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic New Research in Work-Related Diseases, Safety and Health)
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34 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
‘Misdiagnosed and Misunderstood’: Insights into Rarer Forms of Dementia through a Stepwise Approach to Co-Constructed Research Poetry
by Paul M. Camic, Mary Pat Sullivan, Emma Harding, Martha Gould, Lawrence Wilson, Sam Rossi-Harries, Adetola Grillo, Roberta McKee-Jackson, Susan M. Cox, Joshua Stott, Emilie V. Brotherhood, Gill Windle and Sebastian J. Crutch
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040485 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1374
Abstract
This study investigated co-constructed research poetry as a way to understand the lived experiences of people affected by rarer dementia and as a means to use poetry to convey those experiences to healthcare professionals. Using mixed methods, 71 people living with rarer dementia [...] Read more.
This study investigated co-constructed research poetry as a way to understand the lived experiences of people affected by rarer dementia and as a means to use poetry to convey those experiences to healthcare professionals. Using mixed methods, 71 people living with rarer dementia and care-partners (stakeholders) contributed to co-constructing 27 poems with professional poets; stakeholders’ verbatim words were analysed with descriptive qualitative analysis. Stakeholders were also surveyed and interviewed about their participation. Healthcare professionals (n = 93) were surveyed to elicit their responses to learning through poetry and its acceptability as a learning tool. Poems conveyed a shared narrative of different aspects of lived experience, often owing to atypical symptoms, misunderstandings by professionals, lack of support pathways, and a continuous struggle to adapt. Stakeholder surveys indicated it was a valuable experience to both co-create and respond to the poems, whilst group interviews revealed people’s experiences of the research poetry were characterised by reflection on lived experience, curiosity and exploration. Healthcare professionals’ responses reinforced poetry’s capacity to stimulate cognitive and affective learning specific to rare dementia support and prompt both empathy and critical thinking in practice. As the largest poetry-based study that we are aware of, this novel accessible approach of creating group poems yielded substantial information about the experiences and needs of those affected by rarer dementia and how poetry can contribute to healthcare education and training. Full article
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13 pages, 240 KiB  
Article
NIMBYism and Strategies for Coping with Managing Protests during the Establishment of Community Mental Health Facilities in Taiwan: Insights from Frontline Healthcare Professionals
by Ching-Teng Yao, Hong Hong and Chien-Hsun Li
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040484 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Taiwanese community mental health facilities encounter opposition/resistance from residents, commonly known as “Not-In-My-Backyard” (NIMBYism). This study investigated NIMBYism during the establishment of such facilities and how they respond to such resistance. A qualitative study through semi-structured interviews was used to obtain purposively sampled [...] Read more.
Taiwanese community mental health facilities encounter opposition/resistance from residents, commonly known as “Not-In-My-Backyard” (NIMBYism). This study investigated NIMBYism during the establishment of such facilities and how they respond to such resistance. A qualitative study through semi-structured interviews was used to obtain purposively sampled data. Fifteen frontline healthcare professionals from community mental health facilities in Taiwan were interviewed individually, using an organizational analysis structure. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Two themes: “Reasons for Resident Resistance” and “Institutional Response Strategies”, two categories, and 11 subcategories emerged. The findings demonstrated the following: (1) Reasons behind residents’ resistance toward establishing community mental health facilities are diverse. (2) Communities lack understanding regarding people with mental disorders, leading to irrational beliefs. (3) Fear and negative perceptions toward people with mental disorders exist. (4) Strategies employed by the facilities include providing community services to foster amicable relationships, organizing community outreaches, training people with mental disorders within communities, nurturing neighborhood connections, establishing and sustaining friendships within communities, inviting residents to visit community mental health facilities or introducing the facilities to communities, and leveraging governmental support. The government should adopt regulations or laws to reduce discrimination, promote human rights, and legislate to demarcate the use of community land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Global Mental Health Trends)
19 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
COMPAR-EU Recommendations on Self-Management Interventions in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
by Jessica Beltran, Claudia Valli, Melixa Medina-Aedo, Carlos Canelo-Aybar, Ena Niño de Guzmán, Yang Song, Carola Orrego, Marta Ballester, Rosa Suñol, Janneke Noordman, Monique Heijmans, Georgios Seitidis, Sofia Tsokani, Katerina-Maria Kontouli, Christos Christogiannis, Dimitris Mavridis, Gimon de Graaf, Oliver Groene, Maria G. Grammatikopoulou, Francisco Camalleres-Guillem, Lilisbeth Perestelo-Perez, Helen McGloin, Kirsty Winkley, Beate Sigrid Mueller, Zuleika Saz-Parkinson, Rosa Corcoy and Pablo Alonso-Coelloadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040483 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 626
Abstract
Self-management interventions (SMIs) offer a promising approach to actively engage patients in the management of their chronic diseases. Within the scope of the COMPAR-EU project, our goal is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the utilisation and implementation of SMIs in the care of [...] Read more.
Self-management interventions (SMIs) offer a promising approach to actively engage patients in the management of their chronic diseases. Within the scope of the COMPAR-EU project, our goal is to provide evidence-based recommendations for the utilisation and implementation of SMIs in the care of adult individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A multidisciplinary panel of experts, utilising a core outcome set (COS), identified critical outcomes and established effect thresholds for each outcome. The panel formulated recommendations using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations (GRADE) approach, a transparent and rigorous framework for developing and presenting the best available evidence for the formulation of recommendations. All recommendations are based on systematic reviews (SR) of the effects and of values and preferences, a contextual analysis, and a cost-effectiveness analysis. The COMPAR-EU panel is in favour of using SMIs rather than usual care (UC) alone (conditional, very low certainty of the evidence). Furthermore, the panel specifically is in favour of using ten selected SMIs, rather than UC alone (conditional, low certainty of the evidence), mostly encompassing education, self-monitoring, and behavioural techniques. The panel acknowledges that, for most SMIs, moderate resource requirements exist, and cost-effectiveness analyses do not distinctly favour either the SMI or UC. Additionally, it recognises that SMIs are likely to enhance equity, deeming them acceptable and feasible for implementation. Full article
12 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Gender Identity Orientation and Sexual Activity—A Survey among Transgender and Gender-Diverse (TGD) Individuals in Norway
by Elsa Mari Almås, Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, Silje-Håvard Bolstad, Tor-Ivar Karlsen and Alain Giami
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040482 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 652
Abstract
Background: The understanding and conceptualizing of gender and sexuality are continuously negotiated between individuals and cultures. Recently, new gender identity orientations have emerged, fighting pathologization and establishing new spaces and options for being sexually active gendered beings. Objective: To investigate variations in sexual [...] Read more.
Background: The understanding and conceptualizing of gender and sexuality are continuously negotiated between individuals and cultures. Recently, new gender identity orientations have emerged, fighting pathologization and establishing new spaces and options for being sexually active gendered beings. Objective: To investigate variations in sexual activities across different gender identity orientations. Method: A questionnaire used in France was adapted to the Norwegian context and implemented in this study. The participants were recruited through therapists, TGD organizations, and social media. Results: A total of 538 individuals responded to the questionnaire, of which 336 provided a written description of their gender identity. Based on an analysis of the degree of male gender identity orientation, the degree of female gender identity orientation, and the degree of nonbinary gender identity orientation, three clusters appeared and were used in the analyses of sexual activities and preferences. Conclusions: Some findings could be attributed to lingering aspects of traditional gender roles, while others may be indicative of sexual expression stemming from societal acceptance of gender diversity and new identity orientations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychology in Sex and Gender)
19 pages, 975 KiB  
Review
The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Improving Patient Outcomes and Future of Healthcare Delivery in Cardiology: A Narrative Review of the Literature
by Dhir Gala, Haditya Behl, Mili Shah and Amgad N. Makaryus
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040481 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1891
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases exert a significant burden on the healthcare system worldwide. This narrative literature review discusses the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of cardiology. AI has the potential to assist healthcare professionals in several ways, such as diagnosing pathologies, guiding [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases exert a significant burden on the healthcare system worldwide. This narrative literature review discusses the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of cardiology. AI has the potential to assist healthcare professionals in several ways, such as diagnosing pathologies, guiding treatments, and monitoring patients, which can lead to improved patient outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system. Moreover, clinical decision support systems in cardiology have improved significantly over the past decade. The addition of AI to these clinical decision support systems can improve patient outcomes by processing large amounts of data, identifying subtle associations, and providing a timely, evidence-based recommendation to healthcare professionals. Lastly, the application of AI allows for personalized care by utilizing predictive models and generating patient-specific treatment plans. However, there are several challenges associated with the use of AI in healthcare. The application of AI in healthcare comes with significant cost and ethical considerations. Despite these challenges, AI will be an integral part of healthcare delivery in the near future, leading to personalized patient care, improved physician efficiency, and anticipated better outcomes. Full article
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12 pages, 1091 KiB  
Article
Development and Effect Evaluation of an Action-Oriented Interdisciplinary Weaning Protocol for Cuffed Tracheostomy Tubes in Patients with Acquired Brain Injury
by Katje Bjerrum, Linda-Maria Delgado Grove, Sine Secher Mortensen and Jesper Fabricius
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040480 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 667
Abstract
The objective was to develop an interdisciplinary weaning protocol (IWP) for patients with tracheostomy tubes due to acquired brain injury, and to effect evaluate implementation of the IWP on decannulation rates and weaning duration. An expert panel completed a literature review in 2018 [...] Read more.
The objective was to develop an interdisciplinary weaning protocol (IWP) for patients with tracheostomy tubes due to acquired brain injury, and to effect evaluate implementation of the IWP on decannulation rates and weaning duration. An expert panel completed a literature review in 2018 to identify essential criteria in the weaning process. Based on consensus and availability in clinical practice, criteria for guiding the weaning process were included in the protocol. Using the IWP, dysphagia is graded as either severe, moderate, or mild. The weaning process is guided through a protocol which specified the daily duration of cuff deflation until decannulation, along with recommendations for treatment and rehabilitation interventions. Data from 337 patient records (161 before and 176 after implementation) were included for effect evaluation. Decannulation rate during hospitalization was unchanged at 91% vs. 90% before and after implementation (decannulation rate at 60 days was 68% vs. 74%). After implementation, the weaning duration had decreased compared to before implementation, hazard ratio 1.309 (95%CI: 1.013; 1.693), without any increased risk of tube-reinsertion or pneumonia. Furthermore, a tendency toward decreased length of stay was seen with median 102 days (IQR: 73–138) and median 90 days (IQR: 58–119) (p = 0.061) before and after implementation, respectively. Scientific debate on weaning protocols for tracheostomy tubes are encouraged. Full article
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15 pages, 1349 KiB  
Article
Associations between COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Overtime, Perceived Chronic Stress and Burnout Symptoms in German General Practitioners and Practice Personnel—A Prospective Study
by Lucas Küppers, Julian Göbel, Benjamin Aretz, Monika A. Rieger and Birgitta Weltermann
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040479 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Background: The mental burdens of general practitioners (GPs) and practice assistants (PrAs) during the COVID-19 pandemic are well investigated. Work-related conditions like overtime are known to contribute to perceived chronic stress and burnout symptoms. However, there is limited evidence regarding the specific mechanisms, [...] Read more.
Background: The mental burdens of general practitioners (GPs) and practice assistants (PrAs) during the COVID-19 pandemic are well investigated. Work-related conditions like overtime are known to contribute to perceived chronic stress and burnout symptoms. However, there is limited evidence regarding the specific mechanisms, which link pandemic-related overtime, chronic stress and burnout symptoms. This study used data from the IMPROVEjob trial to improve psychological well-being in general practice personnel. Methods: This prospective study with 226 German GPs and PrAs used the baseline (pre-pandemic: October 2019 to March 2020) and follow-up data (pandemic: October 2020 to April 2021) of the IMPROVEjob trial. Overtime was self-reported as hours above the regular work time. Perceived chronic stress was assessed using the Trier Inventory for the Assessment of Chronic Stress Screening Scale (TICS-SSCS), while burnout symptoms were evaluated using a short version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). A mediation analysis investigated the differences of the three main variables between pre-pandemic and pandemic periods. Results: Burnout symptoms increased significantly from baseline to follow-up (p = 0.003). Overtime correlated positively with burnout symptoms (Total Effect: 0.13; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.23). Decomposition of the total effect revealed a significant indirect effect over perceived chronic stress (0.11; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.18) and no significant direct effect (0.02; 95% CI: −0.08, 0.12), indicating a full mediation. Conclusion: In this large longitudinal study, pandemic-related overtime led to significantly higher levels of burnout symptoms, linked by a pathway through perceived chronic stress. Future prevention strategies need to aim at reducing the likelihood of overtime to ensure the mental well-being of practice personnel. Full article
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11 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
Psychometric Properties of the Body–Mind–Spirit Wellness Behavior and Characteristic Inventory for the Greek Population
by Evangelos Mantsos, Georgιos Lyrakos, Dimitra V. Katsarou, Aglaia Zafeiroudi, Maria Giannousi and Vasiliki Zisi
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040478 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 974
Abstract
The Body–Mind–Spirit Wellness Behavior and Characteristic Inventory (BMS-WBCI) is a free-of-charge wellness tool with good psychometric properties, widely used mainly in studies assessing quality of life and healthy lifestyle habits. This certain tool is based on the Hettler’s (1980) model and has been [...] Read more.
The Body–Mind–Spirit Wellness Behavior and Characteristic Inventory (BMS-WBCI) is a free-of-charge wellness tool with good psychometric properties, widely used mainly in studies assessing quality of life and healthy lifestyle habits. This certain tool is based on the Hettler’s (1980) model and has been validated for use with students aged 18–36. The purpose of this study was to adapt the BMS-WBCI in the Greek language and at the same time to validate it for use in the general population. This study included 520 participants aged 16–75 (M = 39.86, SD = 10.5), who were recruited from the Greek population using the snowball procedure. The BMS-WBCI was adapted into Greek language, following a multiple forward-and-backward translation protocol. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used to validate the overall construct of the Greek BMS-WBCI. The final solution was a three-factor model with 38 items, after removing the items B1, B8, B9, M11, M24, and S43. This final model demonstrated an acceptable to good fit, presenting higher goodness-of-fit indices (CFI = 0.91, TLI = 0.90) and lower badness-of-fit indices (χ2/653 = 2.29, p < 0.001, RMSEA = 0.05, SRMR = 0.06). All items in the hypothesized model exhibited statistically significant standardized factor loadings (p < 0.001), with loadings consistently above 0.40. A very good internal consistency was found using the composite reliability measures (Body 0.86, Mind 0.95, Spirit 0.94). Further analysis indicated a good convergent validity (average variance extracted values: Body 50.5%, Mind 50.7%, Spirit 54.9%). The results indicated adequate discriminant validity, as all square roots of average variance extracted were higher than the correlation between construct items. In conclusion, this psychometric evaluation of the BMS-WBCI adds to the evidence supporting its use in the Greek language, not only in students, but also in the general population. Full article
10 pages, 586 KiB  
Article
Medical Misadventures as Errors and Mistakes and Motor Vehicular Accidents in the Disproportionate Burden of Childhood Mortality among Blacks/African Americans in the United States: CDC Dataset, 1968–2015
by Laurens Holmes, Jr., Michael Enwere, Robert Mason, Mackenzie S. Holmes, Pascal Ngalim, Kume Nsongka, Kerti Deepika, Gbadebo Ogungbade, Maura Poleon and David T. Mage
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040477 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Purpose: Racial disparities in infant mortality in the United States persist after adjustment for known confounders of race and mortality association, as well as heterogeneity assessment. Epidemiologic and clinical data continue to show the survival disadvantages of Black/AA children: when Black/AAs are compared [...] Read more.
Purpose: Racial disparities in infant mortality in the United States persist after adjustment for known confounders of race and mortality association, as well as heterogeneity assessment. Epidemiologic and clinical data continue to show the survival disadvantages of Black/AA children: when Black/AAs are compared to whites, they are three times as likely to die from all-cause mortality. The persistent inability to remove the variance in race–mortality association is partly due to unobserved, unmeasured, and residual confounding, as well as implicit biases in public health and clinical medicine in health equity transformation. This current epidemiologic-perspective explanatory model study aimed to examine the possible explanation of racial differences in U.S. infant mortality using medical misadventures as errors and mistakes, and infants’ involvement in motor vehicular traffic accidents. Materials and Method: Using CDC WONDER ecologic data from 1968 to 2015, we assessed the infant mortality-rate ratio and percent change associated with medical misadventures as well as motor vehicular accidents or trauma. The rate ratio and percent change were estimated using stratification analysis and trend homogeneity, respectively. Results: There was a Black–white racial difference in medical misadventures during the study period. Relative to the years 1968–1978 (rate ratio [RR], 1.43), there was a steady increase in the mortality-rate ratio in 1979–1998 (52%, RR = 1.52), and mortality was more than two times as likely in 1999–2015 (RR = 2.37). However, with respect to motor vehicular accident/trauma mortality, the mortality ratio, although lower among Blacks in 1968–1978 (RR, 0.92), increased in 1979–1998 by 27% (RR = 1.27) but decreased in 1999–2015 (RR, 1.17), though there was still an excess of 17% mortality among Black/AAs. The percent change for medical misadventures indicated an increasing trend from 9.3% in 1998 to 52% in 2015. However, motor vehicular-related mortality indicated a positive trend in 1998 (38.5%) but a negative trend in 2015 (−8.4%). Conclusions: There were substantial race differentials or variances in infant mortality associated with medical misadventures compared to traffic accidents, and Black/AA children relative to whites experienced a survival disadvantage. These comparative findings are suggestive of medical misadventures and motor vehicular trauma as potential explanations for some of the persistent Black–white disparities in overall infant mortality in the U.S. From these findings, we recommend a national effort to address these issues, thus narrowing the observed disparities in the U.S. infant mortality burden among Black/AAs. Full article
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10 pages, 228 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Viability and Acceptance of Nudge in Public Policies for Health Promotion
by Teresa Forte, Gonçalo Santinha and Marta Patrão
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040476 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Background: Behaviorally informed interventions, such as nudging, encourage actions intended to promote longer and healthier lives. Holding significant potential for influencing health policies and healthcare practices, these interventions are partaking of a shift in governance and public health policymaking. However, a substantial knowledge [...] Read more.
Background: Behaviorally informed interventions, such as nudging, encourage actions intended to promote longer and healthier lives. Holding significant potential for influencing health policies and healthcare practices, these interventions are partaking of a shift in governance and public health policymaking. However, a substantial knowledge gap remains regarding the feasibility and appropriateness of implementing policies that draw on nudge. Methods: Ae survey on nudge’s acceptability) was adapted to the Portuguese context to access attitudes towards 16 nudge measures. The research focused on evaluating attitudes among political science and public administration BSc and MSc students from nine Portuguese universities, and analyzing the relationship between these attitudes, sociodemographic characteristics, and sociopolitical attitudes. The data analysis involved the application of descriptive and inferential statistics. Results: The participants exhibited a moderate-to-high level of approval for various nudge measures, particularly those related to nutrition and public education/awareness raising. The study identified a nuanced relationship between the level of intrusiveness of nudges and their public approval, indicating that interventions preserving the architecture of choice gathered higher acceptance compared to more intrusive approaches. Notably, approval was associated with a high level of trust in social groups and a low propensity for risk-taking and alcohol consumption. Conclusions: This study not only sheds light on the types of nudge measures that are likely to be more acceptable for promoting healthy behaviors, but also establishes a crucial link between behavioral interventions and healthcare policies. Understanding the nuanced factors influencing the public acceptance of nudges contributes to the discourse on the implementation of behaviorally informed health policies and emphasizes the importance of tailoring interventions to align with public values and preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Policy)
37 pages, 1621 KiB  
Article
Nutrition, Physical Activity and Smoking Habit in the Italian General Adult Population: CUORE Project Health Examination Survey 2018–2019
by Chiara Donfrancesco, Brigitta Buttari, Benedetta Marcozzi, Sabina Sieri, Anna Di Lonardo, Cinzia Lo Noce, Elisabetta Profumo, Francesca Vespasiano, Claudia Agnoli, Serena Vannucchi, Marco Silano, Daniela Galeone, Paolo Bellisario, Francesco Vaia and Luigi Palmieri
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040475 - 15 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
Background: Tobacco consumption, incorrect nutrition and insufficient physical activity/sedentariness represent modifiable NCDs risk factors in Western countries. To evaluate recent lifestyle indicators in Italy, data from the national Health Examination Survey (HES), implemented in 2018–2019 within the CUORE Project, were assessed. Methods: Age–sex [...] Read more.
Background: Tobacco consumption, incorrect nutrition and insufficient physical activity/sedentariness represent modifiable NCDs risk factors in Western countries. To evaluate recent lifestyle indicators in Italy, data from the national Health Examination Survey (HES), implemented in 2018–2019 within the CUORE Project, were assessed. Methods: Age–sex standardized results from random samples of Italian general population (35–74 years) were reported by sex, age-class, educational level and geographical area. From 2106 participants, 2090 were considered for smoking habit, 2016 for physical activity and 1578 for nutrition. Standardized questionnaires were used for smoking habit and physical activity, and the EPIC questionnaire for nutrition. Results: Total cigarette current smokers were 23% in men and 19% in women; sedentariness during leisure time was 34% in men and 45% in women and at work 45% and 47% in men and women, respectively. Prevalence of balanced eating behaviours for vegetables was 28% in men and 39% in women; and for fruits 50% and 52%, respectively; prevalence of correct lifestyle (not smoker, regular physical activity and following at least five correct eating behaviours) was 7% and 12% for men and women, respectively. Conclusions: In 2018–2019, levels of unhealthy lifestyles were found to be still epidemic and basically stable compared to 10 years earlier (slight smoking habit decrease, slight sedentariness increase and slight nutrition improvements); intersectoral strategies and monitoring need to be continued. Full article
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13 pages, 1847 KiB  
Technical Note
Reducing Post-Operative Hospital Length of Stay following Uncomplicated Appendectomy in Pediatric Patients: A Prospective Clinical Study
by Michelle A. Jeski, Jennifer D. Stanger, Melissa S. Schafer, Andrew W. Osten and Gregory P. Conners
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040474 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 880
Abstract
An uncomplicated appendectomy in children is common. Safely minimizing the post-operative length of stay is desirable from hospital, patient, and parent perspectives. In response to an overly long mean length of stay following uncomplicated appendectomies in children of 2.5 days, we developed clinical [...] Read more.
An uncomplicated appendectomy in children is common. Safely minimizing the post-operative length of stay is desirable from hospital, patient, and parent perspectives. In response to an overly long mean length of stay following uncomplicated appendectomies in children of 2.5 days, we developed clinical pathways with the goal of safely reducing this time to 2.0 or fewer days. The project was conducted in an urban, academic children’s hospital. The pathways emphasized the use of oral, non-narcotic pain medications; the education of parents and caregivers about expectations regarding pain control, oral food intake, and mobility; and the avoidance of routine post-operative antibiotic use. A convenience sample of 46 patients aged 3–16 years old was included to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the intervention. The mean post-operative length of stay was successfully reduced by 80% to 0.5 days without appreciable complications associated with earlier discharge. The hospital length of stay following an uncomplicated appendectomy in children may be successfully and safely reduced through the use of carefully devised, well-defined, well-disseminated clinical pathways. Full article
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12 pages, 693 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Utilization of Healthcare Services and Spending Patterns in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Meenu Mahak Soni, Heba Mohammed Mamdouh and Eldaw Abdalla Suliman
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040473 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 870
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of healthcare services in many parts of the world. The response to the healthcare burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with ensuring the provision of optimum healthcare services. This study aimed to estimate the [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of healthcare services in many parts of the world. The response to the healthcare burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with ensuring the provision of optimum healthcare services. This study aimed to estimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services utilization and spending patterns in Dubai, the UAE. Methods: This cross-sectional study used secondary data on healthcare utilization and spending to compare between 2019 and 2020. The data was extracted from the health insurance claims on the eClaimLink platform. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to calculate the percent change of service utilization and spending and percentages of total claims by each encounter type across major diagnostic categories (MDCs). Results: In 2020, there was an overall reduction in outpatient visits and inpatient admissions of 27% and 21%, respectively, compared to 2019. Outpatient visits and prescriptions decreased across all the MDCs except mental and behavioral disorders, which showed an increase of 8% in outpatient visits and 29% in prescriptions. The admissions to the healthcare facilities were also reduced significantly across various MDCs, ranging from 10% to 44%. Similarly, a downward trend was seen in diagnostics for different MDCs. An increase in expenditure on diagnostics and drugs for neoplasm was reported, despite a corresponding decrease in outpatient and inpatient admissions for the same. Conclusion: A significant decrease in overall healthcare utilization and corresponding healthcare spending, resulting from a decline in outpatient and inpatient volume in healthcare facilities at all the levels (hospitals, clinics, speciality centres), was reported during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on mental health was reported by this study, as it showed an upward trend in utilization and spending. For the neoplasms, although the utilization declined, the expenditure on diagnostics and drugs during each encounter increased significantly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Services)
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10 pages, 218 KiB  
Article
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Nurses toward Risk Factors and Prevention of Falls in Older Adult Patients in a Large-Sized Tertiary Care Setting
by Saad Mohammad Alsaad, Mshari Alabdulwahed, Nabeel Mohammed Rabea, Shabana Tharkar and Abdulaziz A. Alodhayani
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040472 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1051
Abstract
The objective was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of nurses toward the prevention of falls in older hospitalized patients. A cross-sectional study employing a 54-item questionnaire was conducted on 370 nurses at a tertiary care referral center. The mean age of [...] Read more.
The objective was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of nurses toward the prevention of falls in older hospitalized patients. A cross-sectional study employing a 54-item questionnaire was conducted on 370 nurses at a tertiary care referral center. The mean age of the study population was 36.3 ± 7.7 years, with the majority being females (282; 76.8%). Most of them had attended fall prevention training (335; 90.5%). More than 98% knew fall prevention policies and safety goals, according to their response to a fall and risk assessment, but were less aware of the risk factors of falls, such as recurrent falls (61%), depression (44%), and lower-extremity numbness (40.5%). Similarly, 99% had positive attitudes toward risk assessment, fall prevention intervention, and response to a fall. Around 55% thought they were responsible for patients’ falls, and 96% felt the need to undergo more training on fall prevention. Furthermore, 92% strictly followed fall prevention policies and 85.4% followed the color-coding system for high-risk patients. Despite the preventive measures in place, 33% encountered patient falls, and 82.2% experienced unwitnessed patient fall incidents in their units. Although the nurses had higher levels of knowledge about the policies, they lacked information on the risk factors. There is a significant scope that warrants great attention concerning the adherence to guidelines and the provision of fall prevention training programs, with a focus on the intrinsic causative factors of falls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nursing Care for Older Health)
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