Recent Submissions

  • Blue care: a systematic review of blue space interventions for health and wellbeing.

    Britton, Easkey; Kindermann, Gesche; Domegan, Christine; Carlin, Caitriona (Health Promotion International, 2018-12-18)
    There is increasing interest in the potential use of outdoor water environments, or blue space, in the promotion of human health and wellbeing. However, therapeutic nature-based practices are currently outpacing policy and the evidence base for health or wellbeing benefits of therapeutic interventions within blue space has not been systematically assessed. This systematic review aims to address the gap in understanding the impacts of blue space within existing interventions for targeted individuals. A systematic review was carried out, searching Google Scholar, SCOPUS, PubMed, etc. through to August 2017. Only blue space interventions were included that were specifically designed and structured with a therapeutic purpose for individuals with a defined need and did not include nature-based promotion projects or casual recreation in the outdoors. Thirty-three studies met the inclusion criteria and were assessed. Overall, the studies suggest that blue care can have direct benefit for health, especially mental health and psycho-social wellbeing. The majority of papers found a positive or weak association between blue care and health and wellbeing indicators. There was also some evidence for greater social connectedness during and after interventions, but results were inconsistent and mixed across studies with very few findings for physical health. This is the first systematic review of the literature on blue care. In summary, it has been shown that mental health, especially psycho-social wellbeing, can be improved with investment in blue spaces. Key areas for future research include improving understanding of the mechanisms through which blue care can improve public health promotion.
  • An open-data-driven agent-based model to simulate infectious disease outbreaks.

    Hunter, Elizabeth; Mac Namee, Brian; Kelleher, John (Plos One, 2018-01-01)
    Agent-based models are a tool that can be used to better understand the dynamics of an infectious disease outbreak. An infectious disease outbreak is influenced by many factors including vaccination or immunity levels, population density, and the age structure of the population. We hypothesize that these factors along with interactions of factors and the actions of individuals would lead to outbreaks of different size and severity even in two towns that appear similar on paper. Thus, it is necessary to implement a model that is able to capture these interactions and the actions of individuals. Using openly available data we create a data-driven agent-based model to simulate the spread of an airborne infectious disease in an Irish town. Agent-based models have been known to produce results that include the emergence of patterns and behaviours that are not directly programmed into the model. Our model is tested by simulating an outbreak of measles that occurred in Schull, Ireland in 2012. We simulate the same outbreak in 33 different towns and look at the correlations between the model results and the town characteristics (population, area, vaccination rates, age structure) to determine if the results of the model are affected by interactions of those town characteristics and the decisions on the agents in the model. As expected our results show that the outbreaks are not strongly correlated with any of the main characteristics of the towns and thus the model is most likely capturing such interactions and the agent-based model is successful in capturing the differences in the outbreaks.
  • The use of modified diets by adults with temporomandibular disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis

    Gilheaney, Órla; Kerr, Patrick; Walshe, Margaret (Irish Dental Association, 2018-10)
  • Barriers to progressing through a methadone maintenance treatment programme: perspectives of the clients in the Mid-West of Ireland's drug and alcohol services.

    Moran, Lisa; Keenan, Eamon; Elmusharaf, Khalifa (BMC Health Services Research, 2018-11-29)
    The 'perfect' journey through an Irish Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programme (MMTP) would have a client engage appropriately with all relevant services available to them, inclusive of psychiatry, counselling, out-reach support, nursing and psychology. Concurrently, a client would ideally adhere to their prescribed methadone-dosing regimen, until a client is stabilised allowing them to function optimally. At this point, a client should transfer to the GP community setting. Unfortunately, this fails to occur. To date, very few studies have specifically investigated the reasons why a cohort of clients remain 'trapped' in the high risk, specialist clinical setting. Qualitative detailed semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 17 clients of one of Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) Drug and Alcohol Services, entitled 'HSE Mid-West Limerick Drug and Alcohol Service'. Each client had a severe Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and clients had spent on average 7.5 years engaging with the MMTP. Participants' life journey prior to an OUD included Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and early exposure to illicit drug use. Shared life events resulting in their initiating and sustaining an OUD involved continuous hardship into adulthood, mental illness and concurrent benzodiazepine use disorder, often resulting in harrowing accounts of participants' loneliness and lack of life purpose. Their living environments, an erroneous understanding of their illness and poor communication with allied health professionals further perpetuated their OUD. Positive factors influencing periods of abstinence were familial incentives and a belief in the efficacy of methadone. Clients own suggestions for improving their journeys included employing a multi-sectorial approach to managing OUD and educating themselves and others on opioid agonist treatments. If clients were not progressing appropriately, they themselves suggested enforcing a 'time-limit' on clients to engage with the programme or indeed for their treatment to be postponed. To optimise the functioning of the MMTP, three tasks need to be fulfilled: 1) Reduce the incidences of ACEs, 2) Diagnose and treat clients with a dual diagnosis 3) Educate clients, their families, the public and allied health care professionals on all aspects of OUD. A cross- departmental, inter-governmental approach is needed to address opioid misuse as a societal issue as a whole.
  • Which primary care practitioners have poor human papillomavirus (HPV) knowledge? A step towards informing the development of professional education initiatives.

    McSherry, Lisa A; O'Leary, Eamonn; Dombrowski, Stephan U; Francis, Jill J; Martin, Cara M; O'Leary, John J; Sharp, Linda (Plos One, 2018-01-01)
    Primary care practitioners (PCP) play key roles in cervical cancer prevention. Human papillomavirus (HPV) knowledge is an important influence on PCPs' cervical cancer prevention-related behaviours. We investigated HPV knowledge, and associated factors, among general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses. A survey, including factual questions about HPV infection and vaccination, was mailed to GPs and practice nurses in Ireland. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine which PCPs had low knowledge (questions correctly answered: infection ≤5/11; vaccination: ≤4/10). Questions least often answered correctly were identified. 697 PCPs participated. For HPV infection, GPs and practice nurses answered a median of nine and seven questions correctly, respectively (p<0.001). Significantly associated with low HPV infection knowledge were: being a practice nurse/male GP; working fewer hours/week; not having public patients; and having never taken a cervical smear. For HPV vaccination, both GPs and practice nurses answered a median of six questions correctly (p = 0.248). Significantly associated with low HPV vaccination knowledge were: being a practice nurse/male GP; working more years in general practice, fewer hours/week, in a smaller practice or in a practice not specialising in women's health; and having never taken a smear. Six HPV infection questions, and seven HPV vaccination questions, were not answered correctly by >⅓ of PCPs. There are important limitations in HPV infection and vaccination knowledge among PCPs. By identifying factors associated with poor knowledge, and areas of particular uncertainty, these results can inform development of professional education initiatives thereby ensuring women have access to uniformly high-quality HPV-related information and advice.
  • Irish general practitioners' view of perinatal mental health in general practice: a qualitative study.

    Noonan, Maria; Doody, Owen; O'Regan, Andrew; Jomeen, Julie; Galvin, Rose (BMC Family Practice, 2018-12-13)
    Identification of perinatal mental health problems and effective care for women who experience them are important considering the potentially serious impact that they may have on the wellbeing of the woman, her baby, family and wider society. General practitioners (GPs) play a central role in identifying and supporting women and this study aimed to explore GPs' experiences of caring for women with perinatal mental health problems in primary care. The results of this study may provide guidance to inform policy, practice, research and development of curriculum and continuous professional development resources. In-depth semi-structured interviews were undertaken between March and June 2017 with GPs (n = 10) affiliated with a University training programme for general practice in Ireland. Thematic data analysis was guided by Braun and Clarkes (2013) framework. Data were categorised into three themes with related subthemes: identification of perinatal mental health problems, decision making around perinatal mental health and preparation for a role in perinatal mental health. GPs described the multifaceted nature of their role in supporting women experiencing perinatal mental health issues and responding to complex psychological needs. Inbuilt tools on existing software programmes prompted GPs to ask questions relating to perinatal mental health. Limited access to referral options impacts on assessment and care of women. GPs desire further continuous professional development opportunities delivered in an online format and through monthly meetings and conference sessions. GPs require access to culturally sensitive; community based perinatal mental health services, translation services and evidence based perinatal psychological interventions. A standardised curriculum on perinatal mental health for trainee GPs needs to be established to ensure consistency across primary care and GP education should incorporate rotations in community and psychiatry placements.
  • A Cross-Sectional Study of Antibiotic Prescribing for Childhood Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Irish General Practice

    Maguire, F; Murphy, ME; Rourke, R; Morgan, F; Brady, G; Byrne, E; O’Callaghan, ME (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-11)
  • Wellbeing and Health in Ireland’s over 50s 2009-2016

    TILDA; Trinity College Dublin (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, 2018-11-28)
  • Child & Adolescent Emergency Mental Health Crisis: A Neglected Cohort

    McNicholas, F; University College Dublin (Irish Medical Journal, 2018-11)
  • Caring for the caregivers: Evaluation of the effect of an eight-week pilot mindful self-compassion (MSC) training program on nurses' compassion fatigue and resilience.

    Delaney, Martin C; School of Education, University of Aberdeen (Plos One, 2018-01-01)
    Nurses vicariously exposed to the suffering of those in their care are at risk of compassion fatigue. Emerging research suggests that self-compassion interventions may provide protective factors and enhance resilience. This pilot study examined the effect of an eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) training intervention on nurses' compassion fatigue and resilience and participants' lived experience of the effect of the training. This observational mixed research pilot study adopted an evaluation design framework. It comprised of a single group and evaluated the effects of a pilot MSC intervention by analyzing the pre- and post-change scores in self-compassion, mindfulness, secondary trauma, burnout, compassion satisfaction, and resilience. The sample of the nurses' (N = 13) written responses to the question, "How did you experience the effect of this pilot MSC training?" were also analyzed. The Pre- to Post- scores of secondary trauma and burnout declined significantly and were negatively associated with self-compassion (r = -.62, p = .02) (r = -.55, p = .05) and mindfulness (r = -.54, p = .05). (r = -.60, p = .03), respectively. Resilience and compassion satisfaction scores increased. All variables demonstrated a large effect size: Mean (M) Cohen's d = 1.23. The qualitative emergent themes corroborated the quantitative findings and expanded the understanding about how MSC on the job practices enhanced nurses' coping. This is the first study to examine the effect of a pilot (MSC) training program on nurses' compassion fatigue and resilience in this new area of research. It provides some preliminary empirical evidence in support of the theorized benefits of self-compassion training for nurses. However, further research, such as a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) with a larger sample size and a longitudinal study, is required to see if the benefits of self-compassion training are sustainable.
  • Irish Hip Fracture Database National Report 2017

    National Office of Clinical Audit; Health Service Executive (HSE) (National Office of Clinical Audit, 2018-11-29)
  • National Audit of Hospital Mortality Annual Report 2017

    National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA); National Office of Clinical Audit (National Office of Clinical Audit, 2018-12)
  • Self-management needs of Irish adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA): how can a Canadian web-based programme meet these needs?

    O'Sullivan, Grace; O'Higgins, Siobhán; Caes, Line; Saetes, Sophia; McGuire, Brian E; Stinson, Jennifer (Pediatric Rheumatology, 2018-11-08)
    Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) affects over 1000 children and adolescents in Ireland, potentially impacting health-related quality-of-life. Accessible self-management strategies, including Internet-based interventions, can support adolescents in Ireland where specialist rheumatology care is geographically-centralised within the capital city. This study interviewed adolescents with JIA, their parents, and healthcare professionals to (i) explore the self-management needs of Irish adolescents; and (ii) evaluate the acceptability of an adapted version of a Canadian JIA self-management programme (Teens Taking Charge: Managing Arthritis Online, or TTC) for Irish users. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with Irish adolescents with JIA (N = 16), their parents (N = 13), and Irish paediatric healthcare professionals (HCPs; N = 22). Adolescents were aged 12-18 (M Five themes emerged: independent self-management; acquiring skills and knowledge to manage JIA; unique challenges of JIA in Ireland; views on web-based interventions; and understanding through social support. Adolescents acknowledged the need for independent self-management and gradually took additional responsibilities to achieve this goal. However, they felt they lacked information to manage their condition independently. Parents and adolescents emphasised the need for social support and felt a peer-support scheme could provide additional benefit to adolescents if integrated within the TTC programme. All participants endorsed the TTC programme to gain knowledge about JIA and offered suggestions to make the programme relevant to Irish users. There is scope for providing easily-accessible, accurate information to Irish families with JIA. The acceptability of adapting an existing JIA self-management intervention for Irish users was confirmed.
  • The Composition of Human Milk and Infant Faecal Microbiota Over the First Three Months of Life: A Pilot Study.

    Murphy, Kiera; Curley, David; O'Callaghan, Tom F; O'Shea, Carol-Anne; Dempsey, Eugene M; O'Toole, Paul W; Ross, R Paul; Ryan, C Anthony; Stanton, Catherine (Scientific Reports, 2017-01-17)
    Human milk contains a diverse array of bioactives and is also a source of bacteria for the developing infant gut. The aim of this study was to characterize the bacterial communities in human milk and infant faeces over the first 3 months of life, in 10 mother-infant pairs. The presence of viable Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in human milk was also evaluated. MiSeq sequencing revealed a large diversity of the human milk microbiota, identifying over 207 bacterial genera in milk samples. The phyla Proteobacteria and Firmicutes and the genera Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus were the predominant bacterial groups. A core of 12 genera represented 81% of the microbiota relative abundance in milk samples at week 1, 3 and 6, decreasing to 73% at week 12. Genera shared between infant faeces and human milk samples accounted for 70-88% of the total relative abundance in infant faecal samples, supporting the hypothesis of vertical transfer of bacteria from milk to the infant gut. In addition, identical strains of Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus plantarum were isolated from the milk and faeces of one mother-infant pair. Vertical transfer of bacteria via breastfeeding may contribute to the initial establishment of the microbiota in the developing infant intestine.
  • Older Patients’ Views of Health Care Interactions in Ireland

    Gibney, Sarah; Moore, Tara; Department of Health (HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice, 2018-10)
  • What are the physical and psychological health effects of suicide bereavement on family members? An observational and interview mixed-methods study in Ireland.

    Spillane, Ailbhe; Matvienko-Sikar, Karen; Larkin, Celine; Corcoran, Paul; Arensman, Ella; 1. School of Public Health, University College Cork 2. National Suicide Research Foundation, Cork, Ireland 3. Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA (BMJ Open, 2018-01-13)
    Research focussing on the impact of suicide bereavement on family members' physical and psychological health is scarce. The aim of this study was to examine how family members have been physically and psychologically affected following suicide bereavement. A secondary objective of the study was to describe the needs of family members bereaved by suicide. A mixed-methods study was conducted, using qualitative semistructured interviews and additional quantitative self-report measures of depression, anxiety and stress (DASS-21). Consecutive suicide cases and next-of-kin were identified by examining coroner's records in Cork City and County, Ireland from October 2014 to May 2016. Eighteen family members bereaved by suicide took part in a qualitative interview. They were recruited from the Suicide Support and Information System: A Case-Control Study (SSIS-ACE), where family members bereaved by suicide (n=33) completed structured measures of their well-being.
  • Voices that matter: end-of-life care in two acute hospitals from the perspective of bereaved relatives.

    Donnelly, Sarah; Prizeman, Geraldine; Coimín, Diarmuid Ó; Korn, Bettina; Hynes, Geralyn (BMC Palliative Care, 2018-10-19)
    End-of-life care (EoLC) is an experience that touches the lives of everyone. Dying in an acute hospital is a common occurrence in developed countries across the world. Previous studies have shown that there is wide variation in EoLC and at times is experienced as being of poor quality. Assessing and measuring the quality of care provided is a key component of all healthcare systems. This paper reports on the qualitative analysis of open-ended free text questions that were asked as part of a post-bereavement survey conducted in two adult acute hospitals in Ireland. This was a quantitative descriptive post-bereavement postal survey, gathering data retrospectively from relatives or friends of patients who died, utilising an adapted version of the VOICES (Views of Informal Carers - Evaluation of Services) questionnaire. VOICES MaJam has 29 core questions, seven questions requesting personal demographic information and four open-ended questions gathering descriptive data about the care experience during the patient's last admission to hospital. A total of 356 valid questionnaires were returned. Qualitative data were managed, coded and analysed with NVivo 10, using a template analysis framework approach. Three quarters (75%: n = 268) responded to at least one of the open-ended questions. Several key themes emerged, indicating areas that require particular attention in EoLC. Two themes relate to how care needs are met and how the hospital environment has a critical influence on EoLC experiences. The remaining three themes relate more to the interpersonal context including whether patients are treated with dignity and respect, the psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their family members and communication. Acute hospitals need to ensure that patients and their relatives receive high quality EoLC. Seeking the views of bereaved relatives should be considered by all hospitals and healthcare settings to ascertain the quality of care at end of life. This study contributes to our understanding and knowledge of what good EoLC looks like and where care can be improved, thus enabling hospitals to direct and inform quality improvement.
  • Technology, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Ireland

    Chambers, D; Murphy, F (, 2015)

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