Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a significant healthcare burden affecting approximately one billion people worldwide. The prevalence of OSA is rising with the ongoing obesity epidemic, a key risk factor for its development. While in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) is the gold standard for diagnosing OSA, it has significant drawbacks that prevent widespread use. Portable devices with different levels of monitoring are available to allow remote assessment for OSA. To better inform clinical practice and research, this comprehensive systematic review evaluated diagnostic performances, study cost and patients' experience of different levels of portable sleep studies (type 2, 3, and 4), as well as wearable devices and non-contact systems, in adults. Despite varying study designs and devices used, portable diagnostic tests are found to be sufficient for initial screening of patients at risk of OSA. Future studies are needed to evaluate cost effectiveness with the incorporation of portable diagnostic tests into the diagnostic pathway for OSA, as well as their application in patients with chronic respiratory diseases and other comorbidities that may affect test performance.
Knowledge of factors associated with superior outcomes in women treated with urethral bulking agents for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) remains limited. The aim of this study was to examine associations between post‐treatment outcomes in women who had undergone polyacrylamide hydrogel injections for SUI, and physiological and self‐reported variables captured during pre‐treatment clinical evaluation. A cross‐sectional study was undertaken in female patients treated for SUI with polyacrylamide hydrogel injections by a single urologist between January 2012 and December 2019. Post‐treatment outcome data were gathered in July 2020 using the Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI‐I), Urinary Distress Inventory‐short form (UDI‐6), Incontinence Impact Questionnaire (IIQ7), and International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (ICIQ SF). All other data were gathered from women's medical records including pre‐treatment patient‐reported outcomes. Associations between post‐treatment outcomes and pre‐treatment physiological and self‐reported variables were investigated using regression models. One hundred seven of the 123 eligible patients completed post‐treatment patient‐reported outcome measures. Mean age was 63.1 years (range 25–93 years), and median time between first injection and follow‐up was 51 months (inter‐quartile range 23.5–70 months). Fifty‐five (51%) women had a successful outcome based on PGI‐I scores. Women with type 3 urethral hypermobility pre‐treatment were more likely to report treatment success (PGI‐I). Poor bladder compliance pre‐treatment was associated with greater urinary distress, frequency and severity (UDI‐6 and ICIQ) post‐treatment. Older age was associated with worse urinary frequency and severity (ICIQ) post‐treatment. Associations between patient‐reported outcomes and time between first injection and follow‐up were trivial and not statistically significant. Severity of pre‐treatment incontinence impact (IIQ‐7) was associated with worse incontinence impact post‐treatment. Type 3 urethral hypermobility was associated with a successful outcome, whereas pre‐treatment incontinence impact, poor bladder compliance and older age were associated with poorer self‐reported outcomes. Long‐term efficacy appears to hold in those who responded to initial treatment.
Introduction Chronic disease is a leading cause of death and disability that disproportionately burdens culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. Self-management is a cornerstone of effective chronic disease management. However, research suggests that patients from CALD communities may be less likely to engage with self-management approaches. The Natural Helper Programme aims to facilitate patient engagement with self-management approaches (ie, ‘activation’) by embedding cultural mentors with lived experience of chronic disease into chronic disease clinics/programmes. The Natural Helper Trial will explore the effect of cultural mentors on patient activation, health self-efficacy, coping efforts and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) while also evaluating the implementation strategy. Methods and analysis A hybrid type-1 effectiveness-implementation cluster-randomised controlled trial (phase one) and a mixed-method controlled before-and-after cohort extension of the trial (phase 2). Hospital clinics in highly multicultural regions in Australia that provide healthcare for patients with chronic and/or complex conditions, will participate. A minimum of 16 chronic disease clinics (clusters) will be randomised to immediate (active arm) or delayed implementation (control arm). In phase 1, the active arm will receive a multifaceted strategy supporting them to embed cultural mentors in their services while the control arm continues with usual care. Each cluster will recruit an average of 15 patients, assessed at baseline and 6 months (n=240). In phase 2, clusters in the control arm will receive the implementation strategy and evaluate the intervention on an additional 15 patients per cluster, while sustainability in active arm clusters will be assessed qualitatively. Change in activation over 6 months, measured using the Patient Activation Measure will be the primary effectiveness outcome, while secondary effectiveness outcomes will explore changes in chronic disease self-efficacy, coping strategies and HRQoL. Secondary implementation outcomes will be collected from patient–participants, mentors and healthcare providers using validated questionnaires, customised surveys and interviews aligning with the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance framework to evaluate acceptability, reach, dose delivered, sustainability, cost-utility and healthcare provider determinants. Ethics and dissemination This trial has full ethical approval (2021/ETH12279). The results from this hybrid trial will be presented at scientific meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals. Trial registration number ACTRN12622000697785.
Background Advanced chronic liver disease is an increasing cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the UK. Portal hypertension is the primary driver of decompensation, including the development of ascites, hepatic encephalopathy and variceal haemorrhage. Non‐selective beta blockers (NSBB) reduce portal pressure and are well established in the prevention of variceal haemorrhage. Carvedilol, a newer NSBB, is more effective at reducing portal pressure due to additional α‐adrenergic blockade and has additional anti‐oxidant, anti‐inflammatory and anti‐fibrotic effects. Aim To summarise the available evidence on the use of beta blockers, specifically carvedilol, in cirrhosis, focussing on when and why to start Methods We performed a comprehensive literature search of PubMed for relevant publications. Results International guidelines advise the use of NSBB in primary prophylaxis against variceal haemorrhage in those with high‐risk varices, with substantial evidence of efficacy comparable with endoscopic band ligation (EBL). NSBB are also well established in secondary prophylaxis, in combination with EBL. More controversial is their use in patients without large varices, but with clinically significant portal hypertension. However, there is gathering evidence that NSBB, particularly carvedilol, reduce the risk of decompensation and improve survival. While caution is advised in patients with advanced cirrhosis and refractory ascites, recent evidence suggests that NSBB can continue to be used safely, and that premature discontinuation may be detrimental. Conclusions With increasing evidence of benefit independent of variceal bleeding, namely retardation of decompensation and improvement in survival, it is time to consider whether carvedilol should be offered to all patients with advanced chronic liver disease.
Background: Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom in people with advanced cancer. Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is pervasive and debilitating, and can greatly impact quality of life (QoL). CRF has a highly variable clinical presentation, likely due to a complex interaction of multiple factors. Corticosteroids are commonly used to improve CRF, but the benefits are unclear and there are significant adverse effects associated with long-term use. With the increasing survival of people with metastatic cancer, the long-term effects of medications are becoming increasingly relevant. Since the impact of CRF can be immensely debilitating and can negatively affect QoL, its treatment warrants further review. Objectives: To determine the benefits and harms of corticosteroids compared with placebo or an active comparator in adults with advanced cancer and CRF. Search methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Science Citation Index (ISI Web of Science), LILACS, and two clinical trial registries from inception to 18 July 2022. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials in adults aged ≥18 years. We included participants with advanced cancer who were suffering from CRF. We included trials that randomised participants to corticosteroids at any dose, by any route, administered for the relief of CRF; compared to placebo or an active comparator, including supportive care or non-pharmacological treatments. Data collection and analysis: Three review authors independently assessed titles identified by the search strategy; two review authors assessed risk of bias; and two extracted data. We extracted the primary outcome of participant-reported fatigue relief using validated scales and secondary outcomes of adverse events, serious adverse events and QoL. We calculated the risk ratio with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) between groups for dichotomous outcomes. We measured arithmetic mean and standard deviation, and reported the mean difference (MD) with 95% CI between groups for continuous outcomes. We used standardised mean difference (SMD) with 95% CIs when an outcome was measured with different instruments measuring the same construct. We used a random-effects model to meta-analyse the outcome data. We rated the certainty of the evidence using GRADE and created two summary of findings tables. MAIN RESULTS: We included four studies with 297 enroled participants; data were available for only 239 participants. Three studies compared corticosteroid (equivalent ≤ 8 mg dexamethasone) to placebo. One study compared corticosteroid (dexamethasone 4 mg) to an active comparator (modafinil 100 mg). There were insufficient data to evaluate subgroups, such as dose and duration of treatment. One study had a high risk of performance and detection bias due to lack of blinding, and one study had a high risk of attrition bias. Otherwise, we assessed risks of bias as low or unclear. Comparison 1: corticosteroids compared with placebo Participant-reported fatigue relief The was no clear difference between corticosteroids and placebo (SMD -0.46, 95% CI -1.07 to 0.14; 3 RCTs, 165 participants, very low-certainty evidence) for relief of fatigue at one week of the intervention. We downgraded the certainty of the evidence three times for study limitations due to unclear risk of bias, imprecision, and inconsistency. Adverse events There was no clear difference in the occurrence of adverse events between groups, but the evidence is very uncertain (3 RCTs, 165 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Serious adverse events There was no clear difference in the occurrence of serious adverse events between groups, but the evidence is very uncertain (2 RCTs, 118 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Quality of lIfe One study reported QoL at one week using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) well-being, and found no clear difference in QoL between groups (MD -0.58, 95% CI -1.93 to 0.77). Another study measured QoL using the Quality of Life Questionnaire for Cancer Patients Treated with Anticancer Drugs (QoL-ACD), and found no clear difference between groups. There was no clear difference between groups for either study, but the evidence is very uncertain (2 RCTs, 118 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Comparison 2: corticosteroids compared with active comparator (modafinil) Participant-reported fatigue relief There was improvement in fatigue from baseline to two weeks in both groups (modafinil MD 10.15, 95% CI 7.43 to 12.87; dexamethasone MD 9.21, 95% CI 6.73 to 11.69), however no clear difference between the two groups (MD -0.94, 95% CI -4.49 to 2.61; 1 RCT, 73 participants, very low-certainty evidence). We downgraded the certainty of the evidence three times for very serious study limitations and imprecision. Adverse events There was no clear difference in the occurrence of adverse events between groups, but the evidence is very uncertain (1 RCT, 73 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Serious adverse events There were no serious adverse events reported in either group (1 RCT, 73 participants; very low-certainty evidence). Quality of lIfe One study measured QoL at two weeks, using the ESAS-well-being. There was marked improvement in QoL from baseline in both groups (modafinil MD -2.43, 95% CI -2.88 to -1.98; dexamethasone MD -2.16, 95% CI -2.68 to -1.64), however no clear difference between the two groups (MD 0.27, 95% CI -0.39 to 0.93; 1 RCT, 73 participants, very low-certainty evidence). Authors' conclusions: There is insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of systemic corticosteroids in adults with cancer and CRF. We included four small studies that provided very low-certainty of evidence for the efficacy of corticosteroids in the management of CRF. Further high-quality randomised controlled trials with larger sample sizes are required to determine the effectiveness of corticosteroids in this setting.
Purpose of review: This review summarizes recent research on the impact of ageism in older adults with cancer and how society can best address the issue. Despite older individuals representing the vast majority of those with cancer, with a dramatic increase in incidence anticipated in the coming decades, ageism remains an under-recognized and extremely detrimental phenomenon in cancer care. Recent findings: We examine the associations between ageism and health, and highlight the consequences of higher mortality, a deterioration in mental and physical health, worse functional status and increased comorbidity burden. We then discuss the oncologic-specific impacts of ageism, including lower rates of cancer screening, decreased histological confirmation of cancer, decreased surgical intervention and systemic therapy prescription and poorer survivorship experience. To conclude, we illustrate the opportunities within oncologic systems of care to engage with, and dismantle, the damaging effects of ageism, namely policy and legislation, education and intergenerational contact. Summary: Despite recognition of the numerous negative sequelae of ageism, there remains a paucity of literature regarding the intersection between ageism and cancer. Our piece summarizes the key developments in this field, but further evaluation is desperately required.
Episodic foresight refers to one’s capacity to use imagined scenarios to guide future-directed behaviors. It is important in facilitating complex activities of daily living, such as managing finances. Broader literature shows that older adults perform more poorly on tests of episodic foresight relative to their younger counterparts. At the same time, age-related changes in sleep often contribute to age-related decline in other cognitive abilities known to support episodic foresight, such as memory. No study to date has tested whether sleep quality is associated with episodic foresight when it is measured behaviorally; or whether this relationship is moderated by age. To address this, in the present study healthy younger (n = 39) and older (n = 41) adults were asked to wear an actigraphy watch and self-report their sleep quality for seven nights. Participants then completed the virtual-week foresight task—a behavioral assessment of episodic foresight. Neither objective or subjective sleep quality predicted episodic foresight outcomes, and this was not moderated by age group. Bayesian analyses provided evidence in favour of the null hypotheses. These results suggest that sleep quality (at least in healthy adult populations) may not be linked to episodic foresight.
Introduction: Breast Screen Australia and Breast Screen Aotearoa guidelines recommend breast biopsy marker (BBM) use in indicated patients. This study aims to evaluate whether BBM cost and availability impacts BBM utilisation. Methods: An online survey was disseminated to radiologists who identified 'breast imaging' as their area of practice in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) customer relationship management system. Survey questions addressed participant demographics and factors relating to BBM use. Results: Most (92%, 245/266) participants report that BBMs are routinely available at their place of practice. Those employed in private practice were more likely to report that BBMs are not routinely available. 22% (58/266) of radiologists report that BBM cost influences choice of biopsy type (core biopsy vs fine needle aspirate), this finding was more frequent in those employed in private practice. 47% of respondents report that the cost of BBMs is passed on to the patient, with all these respondents employed in a private or mixed private/public setting. Half the respondents (133/266) reported that their decision to use BBMs would be influenced by the availability of insurance coverage to cover BBM costs. Conclusions: Results suggest that BBM cost and availability influences both choice of biopsy type (core biopsy vs FNA) and choice to use a BBM. Radiologists working in private practice or mixed private/public practice report that BBMs are less likely to be available for use, and that BBM cost is more likely passed to the patient; possibly disadvantaging patients who present to private radiology providers with imaging findings or conditions that would indicate BBM insertion under current national guidelines.
Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic metabolic condition that is associated with multiple comorbidities. Apart from pharmacological approaches, patient self-management remains the gold standard of care for diabetes. Improving patients' self-management among the elderly with mobile health (mHealth) interventions is critical, especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the extent of mHealth efficacy in managing T2DM in the older population remains unknown. Hence, the present review examined the effectiveness of mHealth interventions on cardiometabolic outcomes in older adults with T2DM. Methods: A systematic search from the inception till May 31, 2021, in the MEDLINE, Embase, and PubMed databases was conducted, and 16 randomized controlled trials were included in the analysis. Results: The results showed significant benefits on glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (mean difference -0.24%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.44, -0.05; p = 0.01), postprandial blood glucose (-2.91 mmol/L; 95% CI: -4.78, -1.03; p = 0.002), and triglycerides (-0.09 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.17, -0.02; p = 0.010), but not on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-0.06 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.14, 0.02; p = 0.170), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (0.05 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.03, 0.13; p = 0.220), and blood pressure (systolic blood pressure -0.82 mm Hg; 95% CI: -4.65, 3.00; p = 0.670; diastolic blood pressure -1.71 mmHg; 95% CI: -3.71, 0.29; p = 0.090). Conclusions: Among older adults with T2DM, mHealth interventions were associated with improved cardiometabolic outcomes versus usual care. Its efficacy can be improved in the future as the current stage of mHealth development is at its infancy. Addressing barriers such as technological frustrations may help strategize approaches to further increase the uptake and efficacy of mHealth interventions among older adults with T2DM.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a disproportionate burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This study assessed the effectiveness of direct‐acting antiviral (DAA) therapy among Aboriginal peoples in the three years following universal access in Australia. REACH‐C, a national multicentre prospective cohort study, evaluated HCV treatment outcomes from sequential DAA initiations across 33 health services between March 2016 and June 2019. DAA effectiveness was assessed by sustained virological response (SVR) in the total (full analysis set) and effectiveness (modified analysis set excluding those lost to follow up) populations. Overall, 915 (10%) Aboriginal and 8095 (90%) non‐Indigenous people commenced DAA therapy, of whom 30% and 16% reported current injecting drug use and 73% and 42% were treated in primary care, respectively. SVR in the total and effectiveness populations was 74% and 94% among Aboriginal people, and 82% and 94% among non‐Indigenous people, with loss to follow‐up contributing to lower SVR in the total population analysis (22% Aboriginal, 13% non‐Indigenous). Among Aboriginal people, returning for follow‐up was positively associated with older age (aOR 1.20; 95%CI 1.04, 1.39), and SVR was negatively associated with cirrhosis (aOR 0.39; 95%CI 0.19, 0.80) and prior DAA treatment (aOR 0.14; 95%CI 0.04, 0.49). Factors reflecting higher vulnerability or inequity were not associated with returning for testing or SVR. DAA therapy was highly effective among Aboriginal peoples with HCV treated through primary and tertiary services. Tailored community‐led interventions are necessary to optimise follow‐up and engagement. Sustained DAA uptake and equitable access to care, treatment, and prevention are required for HCV elimination.
Plain English summary Research into the risk factors associated with eating disorders (EDs) is necessary in order to better understand the reasons why people develop EDs and to inform programs which aim to reduce these risk factors. In the current study we reviewed studies published between 2009 and 2021 which had researched risk factors associated with EDs. This study is one review of a wider Rapid Review series conducted as part the development of Australia’s National Eating Disorders Research and Translation Strategy 2021–2031. The findings from this review are grouped into nine main risk factor categories. These include (1) genetics, (2) gastrointestinal microbiota and autoimmune reactions, (3) childhood and early adolescent exposures, (4) personality traits and comorbid mental health conditions, (5) gender, (6) socio-economic status, (7) ethnic minority, (8) body image and social influence, and (9) elite sports. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between the risk factors, in particular the ways in which they may interact with each other and whether they cause the ED or are just associated with the ED.
Background Time to reperfusion is an important predictor of outcome in ischaemic stroke from large vessel occlusion (LVO). For patients requiring endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), the transfer times from peripheral hospitals in metropolitan and regional Victoria, Australia to comprehensive stroke centres (CSCs) have not been studied. Aims To determine transfer and journey times for patients with LVO stroke being transferred for consideration of EVT. Methods All patients transferred for consideration of EVT to three Victorian CSCs from January 2017 to December 2018 were included. Travel times were obtained from records matched to Ambulance Victoria and the referring centre via Victorian Stroke Telemedicine or hospital medical records. Metrics of interest included door-in-door-out time (DIDO), inbound journey time and outbound journey time. Results Data for 455 transferred patients were obtained, of which 395 (86.8%) underwent EVT. The median DIDO was 107 min (IQR 84–145) for metropolitan sites and 132 min (IQR 108–167) for regional sites. At metropolitan referring hospitals, faster DIDO was associated with use of the same ambulance crew to transport between hospitals (75 (63–90) vs 124 (99–156) min, p<0.001) and the administration of thrombolysis prior to transfer (101 (79–133) vs 115 (91–155) min, p<0.001). At regional centres, DIDO was consistently longer when patients were transported by air (160 (127–195) vs 116 (100–144) min, p<0.001). The overall door-to-door time by air was shorter than by road for sites located more than 250 km away from the CSC. Conclusion Transfer times differ significantly for regional and metropolitan patients. A state-wide database to prospectively collect data on all interhospital transfers for EVT would be helpful for future study of optimal transport mode at regional sites and benchmarking of DIDO across the state.
A 34-year-old female presented with colicky abdominal pain and symptoms suggestive of subacute small bowel obstruction in the setting of Crohn’s disease (CD). She was on maximal medical therapy and had undergone endoscopic balloon dilatation of a terminal ileal stricture on two occasions. Magnetic resonance enterography demonstrated acute inflammation in two segments of the terminal ileum. The patient proceeded to laparoscopic ileocolic resection. The histopathology revealed a segment of stricturing CD with chronic inflammatory change. There was also an unexpected finding of a segment of stricturing ileal disease secondary to endometriosis. Endometriosis affecting the ileum is uncommon, and concurrent CR and endometriosis is very rare. Further research is required to understand whether these two conditions are associated. Here, we present a discussion on the histopathology differences between endometriosis and CD. Clinicians are reminded of these rare concurrent conditions, as the symptomatology may mimic one another, thus impacting the treatment and management.
Background Computed tomography (CT) derived body composition measurements of sarcopenia are an emerging form of prognostication in many disease processes. Although the L3 vertebral level is commonly used to measure skeletal muscle mass, other studies have suggested the utilisation of other segments. This study was performed to assess the variation and reproducibility of skeletal muscle mass at vertebral levels T4, T12 and L3 in pre-operative rectal cancer patients. If thoracic measurements were equivalent to those at L3, it will allow for body composition comparisons in a larger range of cancers where lumbar CT images are not routinely measured. Research methods Patients with stage I – III rectal cancer, undergoing curative resection from 2010 – 2014, were assessed. CT based quantification of skeletal muscle was used to determine skeletal muscle cross sectional area (CSA) and skeletal muscle index (SMI). Systematic differences between the measurements at L3 with T4 and T12 vertebral levels were evaluated by percentile rank differences to assess distribution of differences and ordinary least product regression (OLP) to detect and distinguish fixed and proportional bias. Results Eighty eligible adult patients were included. Distribution of differences between T12 SMI and L3 SMI were more marked than differences between T4 SMI and L3 SMI. There was no fix or proportional bias with T4 SMI, but proportional bias was detected with T12 SMI measurements. T4 CSA duplicate measurements had higher test–retest reliability: coefficient of repeatability was 34.10 cm ² for T4 CSA vs 76.00 cm ² for T12 CSA. Annotation time (minutes) with L3 as reference, the median difference was 0.85 for T4 measurements and -0.03 for T12 measurements. Thirty-seven patients (46%) had evidence of sarcopenia at the L3 vertebral level, with males exhibiting higher rates of sarcopenia. However, there was no association between sarcopenia and post-operative complications, recurrence or hospital LOS (length of stay) in patients undergoing curative resection. Conclusions Quantifying skeletal muscle mass at the T4 vertebral level is comparable to measures achieved at L3 in patients with rectal cancer, notwithstanding annotation time for T4 measurements are longer.
Objectives: Evaluate diagnostic accuracy and feasibility of a mail-out home oximetry kit. Design: Patients were referred for both the tertiary/quaternary-centre hospital-delivered oximetry (HDO) and for the mail-out remotely-delivered oximetry (RDO). Quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The COVID-19 pandemic began during this study; therefore, necessary methodological adjustments were implemented. Setting: Patients were first evaluated in Swan Hill, Victoria. RDO kits were sent to home addresses. For the HDO, patients travelled to the Melbourne city area, received the kit, stayed overnight, and returned the kit the following morning. Participants: All consecutive paediatric patients (aged 2-18), diagnosed by a specialist in Swan Hill with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) on history/examination, and booked for tonsillectomy +/- adenoidectomy, were recruited. Main outcome measures: Diagnostic accuracy (i.e., comparison of RDO to HDO results) and test delivery time (i.e., days from consent signature to oximetry delivery) were recorded. Patient travel distances for HDO collection were calculated using home/delivery address postcodes and Google® Maps data. Qualitative data were collected with two digital follow-up surveys. Results: All 32 patients that had both the HDO and RDO had identical oximetry results. The HDO mean delivery time was 87.7 days, while the RDO mean delivery time was 23.6 days (p value: <0.001). Qualitatively, 3/28 preferred the HDO, while 25/28 preferred the RDO (n = 28). Conclusions: The remote option is as accurate as the hospital option, strongly preferred by patients, more rapidly completed, and also an ideal investigation delivery method during certain emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
This study explored caregiver‐reported first signs of Autism and caregiver experiences of reporting these signs to health professionals using a multiple methods approach. Phase one included secondary analysis of a survey of caregivers, while phase two consisted of focus groups of caregivers of children on the autism spectrum. Survey data indicated that most children were aged 12‐18 months when first signs were noticed, with first signs noticed earlier in females than males. Children were age 2‐6 years when caregivers sought advice and received a diagnosis. Uncertainty and a lack of information often left caregivers feeling frustrated and under‐supported when seeking advice and diagnosis. Despite first signs being recognised early by caregivers, barriers to information and seeking help and support resulted in significant delays in receiving a diagnosis.
Introduction: The Kawa Model is a conceptual occupational therapy model of practice that uses the metaphor of a river as a medium to support the exploration of self, life events, and environment. In this study, the Kawa Model was used by occupational therapy students during a practice placement in a remote community setting as a tool to support learning, build self-awareness, and promote reflection on personal and professional development. Method: The study used an exploratory qualitative research design. Six student participants were purposively recruited and orientated to the use of the Kawa Model at the beginning and throughout their remote community practice placement. Semistructured interviews were used to collect data which were analysed thematically using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Findings. Analysis of the student transcripts revealed three overarching themes: self-awareness, the development of personal and professional skills, and working with metaphor. All students identified the model as a reflective tool that enhanced their understanding of their student selves in a remote setting. The students described the growth of various professional skills including communication, goal planning, and confidence. Whilst initially students found the metaphor challenging to fathom, throughout their placement, they found it impactful for comprehending their development of self. Conclusion: This study revealed that the students' self-awareness and personal and professional development were influenced by their engagement with and application of the Kawa Model. Repeated engagement with the Kawa Model enhanced the students' journey of personal and professional skill development.
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