Improving the application of a practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior by training the full staff of psychiatric departments via an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials (Impact Factor: 1.73). 01/2013; 14(1):9. DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-14-9
Source: PubMed


In 2012, in The Netherlands a multidisciplinary practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior was issued. The release of guidelines often fails to change professional behavior due to multiple barriers. Structured implementation may improve adherence to guidelines. This article describes the design of a study measuring the effect of an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program aiming at the training of the full staff of departments in the application of the guideline. We hypothesize that both professionals and departments will benefit from the program.

In a multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial, 43 psychiatric departments spread over 10 regional mental health institutions throughout The Netherlands will be clustered in pairs with respect to the most prevalent diagnostic category of patients and average duration of treatment. Pair members are randomly allocated to either the experimental or the control condition. In the experimental condition, the full staff of departments, that is, all registered nurses, psychologists, physicians and psychiatrists (n = 532, 21 departments) will be trained in the application of the guideline, in a one-day small interactive group Train-the-Trainer program. The program is supported by a 60-minute e-learning module with video vignettes of suicidal patients and additional instruction. In the control condition (22 departments, 404 professionals), the guideline shall be disseminated in the traditional way: through manuals, books, conferences, internet, reviews and so on. The effectiveness of the program will be assessed at the level of both health care professionals and departments.

We aim to demonstrate the effect of training of the full staff of departments with an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program in the application of a new clinical guideline. Strengths of the study are the natural setting, the training of full staff, the random allocation to the conditions, the large scale of the study and the willingness of both staff and management to participate in the study.

Trial registration
Dutch trial register: NTR3092

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    • "The PITSTOP suicide study aims to evaluate the effect of the TtT-e program at both a patient and professional level. The design of the study at the professional level has already been published [15] and the outcomes will be presented in a separate article. This article describes the protocol for the patient-level study. "
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    ABSTRACT: To strengthen suicide prevention skills in mental health care in The Netherlands, multidisciplinary teams throughout the country are trained in the application of the new Dutch guideline on the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior. Previous studies have shown beneficial effects of additional efforts for guideline implementation on professionals' attitude, knowledge, and skills. However, the effects on patients are equally important, but are rarely measured. The main objective of this study is to examine whether patients of multidisciplinary teams who are trained in guideline application show greater recovery from suicide ideation than patients of untrained teams.Methods/design: This is a multicentre cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT), in which multidisciplinary teams from mental health care institutions are matched in pairs, and randomly allocated to either the experimental or control condition. In the experimental condition, next to the usual dissemination of the guideline (internet, newsletter, books, publications, and congresses), teams will be trained in the application of the guideline via a 1-day small interactive group training program supported by e-learning modules. In the control condition, no additional actions next to usual dissemination of the guideline will be undertaken.Assessments at patient level will start when the experimental teams are trained. Assessments will take place upon admission and after 3 months, or earlier if the patient is discharged. The primary outcome is suicide ideation. Secondary outcomes are non-fatal suicide attempts, level of treatment satisfaction, and societal costs. Both a cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis will be performed. The effects of the intervention will be examined in multilevel models. The strengths of this study are the size of the study, RCT design, training of complete multidisciplinary teams, and the willingness of both management and staff to participate.Trial registration: Netherlands trial register: NTR3092.
    Trials 11/2013; 14(1):372. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-14-372 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    Crisis The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 07/2014; 35(4):1-7. DOI:10.1027/0227-5910/a000254 · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The Internet is used increasingly for both suicide research and prevention. To optimize online assessment of suicidal patients, there is a need for short, good-quality tools to assess elevated risk of future suicidal behavior. Computer adaptive testing (CAT) can be used to reduce response burden and improve accuracy, and make the available pencil-and-paper tools more appropriate for online administration. Objective: The aim was to test whether an item response–based computer adaptive simulation can be used to reduce the length of the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS). Methods: The data used for our simulation was obtained from a large multicenter trial from The Netherlands: the Professionals in Training to STOP suicide (PITSTOP suicide) study. We applied a principal components analysis (PCA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), a graded response model (GRM), and simulated a CAT. Results: The scores of 505 patients were analyzed. Psychometric analyses showed the questionnaire to be unidimensional with good internal consistency. The computer adaptive simulation showed that for the estimation of elevation of risk of future suicidal behavior 4 items (instead of the full 19) were sufficient, on average. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that CAT can be applied successfully to reduce the length of the Dutch version of the BSS. We argue that the use of CAT can improve the accuracy and the response burden when assessing the risk of future suicidal behavior online. Because CAT can be daunting for clinicians and applied scientists, we offer a concrete example of our computer adaptive simulation of the Dutch version of the BSS at the end of the paper. (J Med Internet Res 2014;16(9):e207) doi:10.2196/jmir.3511
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