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    ABSTRACT: Lack of cultural competence in care contributes to poor experiences and outcomes from care for migrants and racial and ethnic minorities. As a result, health and social care organizations currently promote cultural competence of their workforce as a means of addressing persistent poor experiences and outcomes. At present, there are unsystematic and diverse ways of promoting cultural competence, and their impact on clinician skills and patient outcomes is unknown. We developed and implemented an innovative model, cultural consultation service (CCS), to promote cultural competence of clinicians and directly improve on patient experiences and outcomes from care. CCS model is an adaptation of the McGill model, which uses ethnographic methodology and medical anthropological knowledge. The method and approach not only contributes both to a broader conceptual and dynamic understanding of culture, but also to learning of cultural competence skills by healthcare professionals. The CCS model demonstrates that multidisciplinary workforce can acquire cultural competence skills better through the clinical encounter, as this promotes integration of learning into day-to-day practice. Results indicate that clinicians developed a broader and patient-centred understanding of culture, and gained skills in narrative-based assessment method, management of complexity of care, competing assumptions and expectations, and clinical cultural formulation. Cultural competence is defined as a set of skills, attitudes and practices that enable the healthcare professionals to deliver high-quality interventions to patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Improving on the cultural competence skills of the workforce has been promoted as a way of reducing ethnic and racial inequalities in service outcomes. Currently, diverse models for training in cultural competence exist, mostly with no evidence of effect. We established an innovative narrative-based cultural consultation service in an inner-city area to work with community mental health services to improve on patients' outcomes and clinicians' cultural competence skills. We targeted 94 clinicians in four mental health service teams in the community. After initial training sessions, we used a cultural consultation model to facilitate 'in vivo' learning. During cultural consultation, we used an ethnographic interview method to assess patients in the presence of referring clinicians. Clinicians' self-reported measure of cultural competence using the Tool for Assessing Cultural Competence Training (n = 28, at follow-up) and evaluation forms (n = 16) filled at the end of each cultural consultation showed improvement in cultural competence skills. We conclude that cultural consultation model is an innovative way of training clinicians in cultural competence skills through a dynamic interactive process of learning within real clinical encounters.
    Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Few prospective studies have examined the relationship between social support and psychological distress and depressive symptoms in adolescents. The aims of this study were to test whether social support is protective against psychological distress and depressive symptoms in an ethnically diverse population of adolescents and whether differences in support are reflected by ethnic differences in psychological distress and depressive symptoms. Based on a longitudinal survey of 821 adolescents, this study found low levels of social support from family members was prospectively associated with depressive symptoms (OR = 2.25, 95% CI 1.43-3.54). Compared with White UK pupils, Black pupils were less likely to display psychological distress (OR = 0.21, 95% CI 0.09-0.51). However, social support did not explain the ethnic variations in psychological distress. Family environment may be a more consistent source of support compared with support from peers. The lower risk of psychological distress among Black pupils compared to White pupils requires further investigation.
    Journal of Adolescence 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Well-being is an important health outcome and a potential national indicator of policy success. There is a need for longitudinal epidemiological surveys to understand determinants of well-being. This study examines the role of personal social support and psychosocial work environment as predictors of well-being in an occupational cohort study. Social support and work characteristics were measured by questionnaire in 5182 United Kingdom civil servants from phase 1 of the Whitehall II study and were used to predict subjective well-being assessed using the Affect Balance Scale (range -15 to 15, SD = 4.2) at phase 2. External assessments of job control and demands were provided by personnel managers. Higher levels of well-being were predicted by high levels of confiding/emotional support (difference in mean from the reference group with low levels of confiding/emotional support = 0.63, 95%CI 0.38-0.89, ptrend<0.001), high control at work (0.57, 95%CI 0.31-0.83, ptrend<0.001; reference low control) and low levels of job strain (0.60, 95%CI 0.31-0.88; reference high job strain), after adjusting for a range of confounding factors and affect balance score at baseline. Higher externally assessed work pace was also associated with greater well-being. Our results suggest that the psychosocial work environment and personal relationships have independent effects on subjective well-being. Policies designed to increase national well-being should take account of the quality of working conditions and factors that facilitate positive personal relationships. Policies designed to improve workplaces should focus not only on minimising negative aspects of work but also on increasing the positive aspects of work.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e81115.
  • BMJ (online) 01/2013; 347:f5752.
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    ABSTRACT: The authors examined whether air pollution at school (nitrogen dioxide) is associated with poorer child cognition and health and whether adjustment for air pollution explains or moderates previously observed associations between aircraft and road traffic noise at school and children's cognition in the 2001-2003 Road Traffic and Aircraft Noise Exposure and Children's Cognition and Health (RANCH) project. This secondary analysis of a subsample of the United Kingdom RANCH sample examined 719 children who were 9-10 years of age from 22 schools around London's Heathrow airport for whom air pollution data were available. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling. Air pollution exposure levels at school were moderate, were not associated with a range of cognitive and health outcomes, and did not account for or moderate associations between noise exposure and cognition. Aircraft noise exposure at school was significantly associated with poorer recognition memory and conceptual recall memory after adjustment for nitrogen dioxide levels. Aircraft noise exposure was also associated with poorer reading comprehension and information recall memory after adjustment for nitrogen dioxide levels. Road traffic noise was not associated with cognition or health before or after adjustment for air pollution. Moderate levels of air pollution do not appear to confound associations of noise on cognition and health, but further studies of higher air pollution levels are needed.
    American journal of epidemiology 07/2012; 176(4):327-37.
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    ABSTRACT: Reducing stigma associated with mental illness is an important aim of medical education, yet evidence indicates that medical students' attitudes toward patients with mental health problems deteriorate as they progress through medical school. Authors examined medical students' attitudes to mental illness, as compared with attitudes toward other medical illness, and the influence of the number of years spent in medical school, as well as of several key socio-demographic, ethnic, and cultural variables. A group of 760 U.K. medical students completed a nationwide on-line survey examining their attitudes toward patients with five conditions (pneumonia, depression, psychotic symptoms, intravenous drug use, long-standing unexplained abdominal complaints), using the Medical Condition Regard Scale (MCRS). Students were also asked whether they had completed the psychiatry rotation or had personal experience of mental disorders themselves or among their friends or family members. They were also asked about their ethnic group (using U.K. national census categories), religious affiliation, and how important religion was in their lives. Independent-samples t-tests and one-way ANOVA were used to compare differences between groups on the MCRS. Students showed the highest regard for patients with pneumonia and lowest regard for patients with long-standing, unexplained abdominal complaints. Although attitudes toward pneumonia were more positive in fifth-year students than in first-year students, attitudes toward unexplained chronic abdominal pain were worse in fifth-year students than in first-year students. Personal experience of mental health treatment, or that among family and friends, were associated with less stigmatizing attitudes. Men showed more stigmatization than women for nearly all conditions; Chinese and South Asian students showed more stigmatizing attitudes toward delusions and hallucinations than their white British counterparts. Medical students in this survey showed the lowest regard for patients with unexplained abdominal pain, and these attitudes were worse in the most experienced medical students. Students' gender, culture and direct or indirect experience of mental illness influenced stigmatizing attitudes.
    Academic Psychiatry 05/2012; 36(3):197-204.
  • Evidence-based nursing 04/2012; 15(4):125.
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence of the effects of environmental noise on human health with studies linking noise exposure to higher risk of hypertension, stroke and even mortality. However, there are gaps in the evidence and a lack of robust exposure-response relationships. There is also debate about whether much of the health effects of road traffic are attributable to noise or air pollution. There is a need for research that quantifies the effect of noise on health and assesses the total burden of disease attributable to environmental noise. Recommendations are reported based on the findings of the European Network on Noise and Health, funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme, to show how this could be achieved.
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 04/2012; 131(4):3295.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper outlines the history of workforce strategies for providing mental health care to "black and ethnic minorities" in England. Universal mental health policies failed to deliver equity in care, and thus specific policies were launched to address ethnic inequalities in care experiences and outcomes. The emphasis on race equality rather than cultural complexity led to widespread acceptance of the need for change. The policy implementation was delivered in accord with multiple regional and national narratives of how to reduce inequalities. As changes in clinical practice and services were encouraged, resistance emerged in various forms from clinicians and policy leaders. In the absence of commitment and then dispute about forms of evidence, divergent policy and clinical narratives fuelled a shift of attention away from services to silence issues of race equality. The process itself represents a defence against the pain of acknowledging systemic inequities whilst rebutting perceived criticism. We draw on historical, psychoanalytic, and learning theory in order to understand these processes and the multiple narratives that compete for dominance. The place of race, ethnicity, and culture in history and their representation in unconscious and conscious thought are investigated to reveal why cultural competence training is not simply an educational intervention. Tackling inequities requires personal development and the emergence and containment of primitive anxieties, hostilities, and fears. In this paper we describe the experience in England of moving from narratives of cultural sensitivity and cultural competence, to race equality and cultural capability, and ultimately to cultural consultation as a process. Given the need to apprehend narratives in care practice, especially at times of disputed evidence, cultural consultation processes may be an appropriate paradigm to address intersectional inequalities.
    Transcultural Psychiatry 03/2012; 49(2):185-205.
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    ABSTRACT: Psychosocial stressors in the workplace are a cause of anxiety and depressive illnesses, suicide and family disruption. The present review synthesizes the evidence from existing systematic reviews published between 1990 and July 2011. We assessed the effectiveness of individual, organisational and mixed interventions on two outcomes: mental health and absenteeism. In total, 23 systematic reviews included 499 primary studies; there were 11 meta-analyses and 12 narrative reviews. Meta-analytic studies found a greater effect size of individual interventions on individual outcomes. Organisational interventions showed mixed evidence of benefit. Organisational programmes for physical activity showed a reduction in absenteeism. The findings from the meta-analytic reviews were consistent with the findings from the narrative reviews. Specifically, cognitive-behavioural programmes produced larger effects at the individual level compared with other interventions. Some interventions appeared to lead to deterioration in mental health and absenteeism outcomes.Gaps in the literature include studies of organisational outcomes like absenteeism, the influence of specific occupations and size of organisations, and studies of the comparative effectiveness of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Individual interventions (like CBT) improve individuals' mental health. Physical activity as an organisational intervention reduces absenteeism. Research needs to target gaps in the evidence.
    Journal of Environmental and Public Health 01/2012; 2012:515874.
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