Netta Bentur PhD, Shelley A. Sternberg MD and Jennifer Shuldiner MA
Background: Frailty is a dynamic process with transitions over time.
Objectives: To examine frailty transitions and their relationship to utilization of health services.
Methods: Frailty status using the Vulnerable Elders Survey (VES-13) was determined for 608 community-dwelling older people interviewed in a 2008 national survey and for 281 re-interviewed in 2014. The effect of frailty on death 6 years later was assessed using Cox proportional hazards analysis. Participants were divided into four groups based on their frailty transition. Demographic, functional and health characteristics were compared between the four groups using the Kruskal-Wallis and paired t-test. The independent association between the four frailty groups and health services utilization was assessed using logistic regression.
Results: Between 2008 and 2014, 24% of 608 participants were lost to follow-up, 9% were non- frail, 37% were frail, and 30% died. The Cox ratio showed that 86% of the non-frail in 2008 were alive 6 years later vs. 52% of the frail (hazard ratio 3.5, confidence interval 2.2–5.4). Frailty transitions in the 281 participants interviewed at both time points revealed that 19% stayed non-frail, 22% became frail, 22% stayed frail and 37% became more frail. Becoming frail, staying frail or becoming more frail compared to staying non-frail was independently associated with a greater risk for requiring help on a regular basis, having a formal caregiver, and requiring home care.
Conclusions: Any transition away from the non-frail state increased the use of health care services. Interventions to target early transition to frailty should be encouraged.
Tal Bergman-Levy MD MHA, Oren Asman LLB LLM LLD, Eyal Dahan MD, Binyamin Greenberg MD, Shmuel Hirshmann MD and Rael Strous MD MHA
Background: In Israel a general code of ethics exists for physicians, drafted by the Israel Medical Association. The question arises whether psychiatrists require a separate set of ethical guidelines.
Objectives: To examine the positions of Israeli psychiatrists with regard to ethics in general and professional ethics in particular, and to explore opinions regarding a code of ethics or ethical guidelines for psychiatry.
Methods: A specially designed questionnaire was compiled and completed by psychiatrists recruited for the study.
Results: Most participants reported low levels of perceived knowledge regarding ethics, professional ethics, and the general code of ethics. Older and more experienced professionals reported a higher level of knowledge. Most psychiatrists agreed or strongly agreed with the need for a distinct code of ethics/ethical guidelines for psychiatrists. This support was significantly higher among both psychiatrists under 50 years and residents.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the existing code of ethics and position papers may not be sufficient, indicating a potential need to develop and implement a process to create the ethical code itself. In addition, the findings highlight the importance of ethics education, suggesting that the need for a code of ethics is more urgent in the early stages of professional training, as younger professionals may be more exposed to advanced media technology. While some may fear that a distinct code of ethics will distance psychiatry from modern medicine, others assert that the profession combines aspects from the humanities and social sciences that require a unique sort of management and thus this profession requires a distinct code of ethics.
Aharon Kessel MD, Yael Graif MD, Zahava Vadasz MD, Vered Schichter-Konfino MD, Meital Almog MD, Shai Cohen MD, Valery Teplitski MD, Nili Stein MPH, Ilaria Baiardini PhD, Marcus Maurer MD and Elias Toubi MD
Background: Chronic urticaria (CU) is a common disabling disorder. The CU-Q2oL (Chronic Urticaria Quality of Life Questionnaire) is a specific questionnaire for evaluating quality of life in CU patients. It consists of 23 items divided into six quality-of-life dimensions. It was initially developed in Italy and later validated in other countries.
Objectives: To validate and adapt the CU-Q2oL to the Hebrew language in order to make it suitable for use in Israel.
Methods: The CU-Q2oL questionnaire was translated to Hebrew. A group of 119 CU patients were asked to complete this version, in addition to the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and Urticaria Activity Score (UAS) questionnaires. A factorial analysis was performed to identify CU-Q2oL subscales, internal consistency and convergent validity assessment, as well as factors determining quality-of-life scores.
Results: The factor analysis identified six scales of the Israeli CU-Q2oL: (i) sleep and concentration, (ii) function and mental status, (iii) embarrassment and clothing limitations, (iv) itching, (v) eating behavior and medication side effects, and (vi) swelling, which accounted for 77% of the data variance. Five scales showed good internal consistency over 0.81. The mean ± SD score of CU-Q2oL in our patients with CIU was 41 ± 21.7. We found a strong positive correlation between the overall scores of CU-Q2oL and DLQI questionnaires (r = 0.8, P < 0.01). Additionally, we found a positive correlation between UAS and both CU-Q2oL and DLQI (r = 0.62, P < 0.01, and r = 0.53, P < 0.01, respectively).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the Israeli CU-Q2oL questionnaire is suitable for both clinical use and research in Israel.
Ron Lavy MD, Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Lital Keinan-Boker MD and Ariel Halevy MD
Background: Gastrointestinal malignancies comprise a broad spectrum of neoplasms and have a high overall incidence. The incidence rates in Israel vary among ethnic groups due to different risk factors.
Objectives: To investigate incidence trends of these cancers in Israel in both Jewish and Arab ethnic groups in order to better understand the risks in those groups.
Methods: This study is based on data published by the Israel National Cancer Registry and the Central Bureau of Statistics. We compared statistics between ethnicities and genders. We examined the eight most common gastrointestinal cancers, focusing on colon, rectal and gastric cancers.
Results: Between 1980 and 2012 there was a decline in the incidence of gastric cancer in the Jewish population; in contrast, a significant increase occurred in Arab women, but there was no significant change in Arab men. Colon cancer showed a relative decrease in incidence in the Jewish population, but an increase in the Arab population. A decrease in the incidence of rectal cancer in the Jewish population and an increase in the Arab population was observed.
Conclusions: Gastric, colon and rectal cancers exhibit differences in incidence and outcome between Jewish and Arab populations in Israel. These differences were not observed in the other five types of less common gastrointestinal cancers.
Shimon Izhakian MD, Walter G. Wasser MD, Baruch Vainshelboim PhD, Benjamin D. Fox BM BS and Mordechai R. Kramer MD FCCP
Background: Studies in lung transplantation demonstrate that the ancestry and gender dissimilarities of donor–recipients lead to a decrease in survival of the recipient.
Objectives: To evaluate the survival of lung transplant recipients in Israel based on whether the donors and recipients are of Jewish or Arab ancestry as well as survival based on gender match or mismatch.
Methods: We performed a retrospective observational cohort study of 345 lung transplant recipients at the Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel between January 1997 and January 2013. We compared the survival of lung transplant recipients in two ancestry categories: ancestry matched (Jewish donors to Jewish recipients or Arab donors to Arab recipients) and ancestry mismatched (Jewish donors to Arab recipients and vice versa). We also compared the survival among the four gender donor and recipient combinations (male to male, female to female, male to female, and female to male).
Results: Survival analysis revealed no significant differences between the two ancestry groups (P = 0.51) and among the four gender combinations (P = 0.58). On Cox multivariate analysis, younger donor age was the only significant parameter for longer survival (hazards ratio 1.025, 95% confidence interval 1.012–1.037).
Conclusions: Gender and ancestry mismatches in these two Israeli populations do not appear to alter the clinical outcomes following lung transplantation.
Isabel Santos MD, Pedro Cantista MD, Carlos Vasconcelos MD PhD and João Amado MD PhD
Background: The effects of balneotherapy on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are still controversial partly due to poor methodology used in randomized controlled trials, as reported in the international medical literature.
Objectives: To determine whether spa therapy plus pharmacological treatment offers any benefit in the management of RA as compared to pharmacological treatment alone.
Methods: We conducted a prospective, controlled, unblinded randomly assigned study of patients with RA according to American College of Rheumatology criteria. Following the 2007 recommendations of AFRETH, the method designed for this study was “immediate treatment versus delayed treatment.” All patients were followed at the Centro Hospitalar do Porto and each physician observed the same patients throughout the study. Patients continued with their usual medications and maintained their daily life activities at home, at leisure and/or in the workplace. The spa therapy group received spa treatments for 21 days at S. Jorge Spa-Santa Maria da Feira. The main outcome measure was the HAQ-DI; the moderated regression analysis, together with the Johnson-Neyman technique, was used for statistical analysis.
Results: HAQ-DI at the end of treatment (21 days) and at the 3 month follow-up was improved in the spa group (odds ratio 0.37, confidence interval 0.09–0.64, P = 0.01 at 21 days, and 0.44, 0.15–0.72, P = 0.004 at 3 months).
Shimon A. Goldberg MD, Diana Neykin MD, Ruth Henshke-Bar-Meir MD, Amos M. Yinnon MD and Gabriel Munter MD
Background: Medical history-taking is an essential component of medical care.
Objectives: To assess and improve history taking, physical examination and management plan for hospitalized patients.
Methods: The study consisted of two phases, pre- and post- intervention. During phase I, 10 histories were evaluated for each of 10 residents, a total of 100 histories. The assessment was done with a validated tool, evaluating history-taking (maximum 23 points), physical examination (23 points), assessment and plan (14 points) (total 60 points). Subsequently, half of these residents were informed that they were assessed; they received their scores and were advised regarding areas needing improvement. Phase II was identical to phase I. The primary endpoint was a statistically significant increase in score.
Results: In the study group (receiving feedback after phase I) the physical examination improved from 9.3 ± 2.4 in phase I to 10.8 ± 2.2 in phase II (P < 0.001), while in the control group there was no change (11.3 ± 1.9 to 11.5 ± 1.8 respectively, P = 0.59). The assessment and plan component improved in the study group from 6.4 ± 2.7 in phase I to 7.4 ± 2.6 in phase II (P = 0.05), while no change was observed in the control group (8.2 ± 2.7 and 7.8 ± 2.3, P = 0.43). Overall performance improved in the study group from 30.4 ± 5.1 in phase I to 32.9 ± 4.5 in phase II (P = 0.01), a 10% improvement, while no change was observed in the control group (35.5 ± 6.0 to 34.6 ± 4.1, P = 0.4).
Conclusions: A review of medical histories obtained by residents, assessed against a validated score and accompanied by structured feedback may lead to significant improvement.
Daniel Hardoff MD, Assaf Gefen MA, Doron Sagi MA and Amitai Ziv MD
Background: Human dignity has a pivotal role within the health care system. There is little experience using simulation-based medical education (SBME) programs that focus on human dignity issues in doctor-patient relationships.
Objectives: To describe and assess a SBME program aimed at improving physicians’ competence in a dignifying approach when encountering adolescents and their parents.
Methods: A total of 97 physicians participated in 8 one-day SMBE workshops that included 7 scenarios of typical adolescent health care dilemmas. These issues could be resolved if the physician used an appropriate dignifying approach toward the patient and the parents. Debriefing discussions were based on video recordings of the scenarios. The effect of the workshops on participants’ approach to adolescent health care was assessed by a feedback questionnaire and on 5-point Likert score questionnaires administered before the workshop and 3 months after.
Results: All participants completed both the pre-workshop and the feedback questionnaires and 41 (42%) completed the post-workshop questionnaire 3 months later. Practice and competence topics received significantly higher scores in post-workshop questionnaires (P < 0.001). A score of high to very high was given by 90% of physicians to the contribution of the workshop to participants understanding the dignifying approach, and by 70% to its influence on their communicative skills.
Conclusions: A one-day simulation-based workshop may improve physicians’ communication skills and sense of competence in addressing adolescents’ health care issues which require a dignifying approach toward both the adolescent patients and their parents. This dignity-focused methodology may be expanded to improve communication skills of physicians from various disciplines.