Alem Maksuti, Danica Rotar Pavlič and Tomaž Deželan
The study focuses on the programmatic bases of Slovenian political parties since independence. It presents an analysis of party programs and their preferences regarding doctors and other health workers, as well as the contents most commonly related to them. At the same time, the study also highlights the intensity of the presence of doctors on the policy agenda through time.
In the study, 83 program documents of political parties have been analysed. The study includes programmes of political parties that have occurred in parliamentary elections in Slovenia between 1992 and 2014 and have exceeded the parliamentary threshold. The data were analysed using the content analysis method, which is suitable for analysing policy texts. The analysis was performed using ATLAS.ti, the premier software tool for qualitative data analysis.
The results showed that doctors and other health workers are an important political topic in noncrisis periods. At that time, the parties in the context of doctors mostly dealt with efficiency and the quality of services in the health system. They often criticize doctors and expose the need for their control. In times of economic crisis, doctors and other health workers are less important in normative commitments of parties.
Slovenian political parties and their platforms cannot be distinguished ideologically, but primarily on the principle of access to government. It seems reasonable to conclude that parties do not engage in dialogue with doctors, and perceive the latter aspassive recipients of government decisions—politics.
Davorina Petek, Danica Rotar-Pavlič, Janko Kersnik and Igor Švab
Patients' adherence to treatment of diabetes mellitus
Objectives: Diabetes is a chronic disease where patient's ability for self management is very important. Patients are every day taking decisions how to integrate treatment recommendations into their lives without impacting the quality of life. The aim of this study was to explore participants' perceived barriers to adherence to treatment.
Methods: A qualitative study with five focus groups of patients with Type 2 diabetes and one group of experts on diabetes mellitus was performed in the central area of Slovenia. The transcribed text was independently analysed by principles of grounded theory with codes merging into themes and categories.
Results: Time changes patients' attitudes toward disease. Good education about the disease and their own experience with the disease help patients to adapt to different life situations and to regain control in their life. Family and friends are not always supportive to diabetes treatment. Some patients deny having disease in social encounters because they feel stigmatised. Diabetes also challenges patient's working ability and financial welfare. Patients also emphasise that mutual trust with physician and his true interest in patients' problems is very important for good results of medical care. They refuse universal advice and expect that the doctor helps them to develop self-management skills and coping with the disease. Additional prerequisites for good self management are also adequate organisation of life and adequate personal characteristics of the patients.
Discussion: This study offers additional insights into patients' views of the barriers to adherence. Patients feel empowered for occasional departure from recommended treatment in some social and life situations. Better medical care could be the result of good balance between social expectations of the patients, treatment and working demands on one side and individualised support of the physician with patients' own capacity to rearrange life on the other side.
Globally, the number of immigrants is rising every year, so that the number of immigrants worldwide is estimated at 200 million. In Slovenia, immigrants comprise 6.5% of the overall population. Immigrants bring along to a foreign country their cultural differences and these differences can affect immigrants’ overall health status and lead to chronic health conditions. The aim of this study was to identify patients’ perception of general practitioners’ (GPs’) attitudes toward immigrants in Slovenia.
This study was based on the Qualicopc questionnaire. We used the questions that targeted patients’ experience with the appointment at their GP on the day that the study was carried out.
There were no differences in GPs’ accessibility based on groups included in our study (p>0.05). Compared to the non-immigrant population, first-generation immigrants answered that their GPs were impolite (p=0.018) and that they did not take enough time for them (p=0.038). In addition, they also experienced more difficulties understanding their GP’s instructions (p<0.001). Second-generation immigrants experienced more negative behaviour from GPs, and first-generation immigrants had more difficulties understanding GPs’ instructions.
There may be some differences in patients’ perception of GPs’ attitudes towards immigrants in comparison with the general Slovenian population. However, based on the perception of the immigrants that do benefit from the medical care it is not possible to judge the GPs’ attitudes towards immigrants as worse compared to their attitude towards the non-immigrant population. Indeed, there may be other reasons why the patients answered the way they did.
Objectives. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures a patient’s subjective experience of his or her health status. We aimed to show how the presence of chronic diseases and satisfaction with family physicians (FPs) were associated with the HRQoL of a Roma population.
Methods. A cross-sectional study was carried out in May 2011 on a representative sample of 650 Roma living in Prekmurje, Slovenia. The EQ-5D questionnaire was used for measuring the HRQoL of the Roma. Demographical data, 12 groups of diseases diagnosed in the last 12 months and satisfaction with FPs were included in the questionnaire.
Results. The response rate was 88.3% (574), of which 56.4% were female, and the average age of the participants had a mean value of 40.2±12.7 years. The presence of cardiovascular problems with risk factors for them or presence of musculoskeletal disorders were strongly associated with the presence of pain (Cramer’s V = 0.40 and 0.46 respectively).There was a strong association between the presence of mental disorders and anxiety and depression (Cramer´s V = 0.58). The average satisfaction with the family physician was 3.9 (mean±1.10) on a five-point Likert scale. There was no significant association between HRQoL and satisfaction with the family physician.
Conclusions. Roma with chronic mental health problems had the lowest HRQoL in the Roma population. More attention should be paid to this subgroup of Roma in family medicine, and interventions should be provided. High satisfaction with their FPs is not associated with the observed quality of life variables
Lisette Klok, Yvonne Engels, Carel Veldhoven and Danica Rotar Pavlič
To help general practitioners (GPs) in early identification of patients with palliative care (PC) needs, this pilot study aimed to determine the potential of the combined original surprise question (SQ1) (‘Would I be surprised if this patient died within the next 12 months?’) and the second surprise question (SQ2) (‘Would I be surprised if this patient was still alive after 12 months?’). We hypothesized that answering these SQs would trigger them to make a multidimensional care plan.
26 Slovenian GPs, randomized into 4 groups, were invited to write a care plan for each of the four patients described in case vignettes (2 oncologic, 1 organ failure and 1 frailty case). GPs in group 1 were only asked to write a care plan for each patient. GPs in group 2 answered SQ1 and GPs in groups 3 and 4 answered SQ1 and SQ2 before writing the care plan. The type and number of PC aspects mentioned in the respective care plans were quantified into a numeric RADboud ANTicipatory (RADIANT) score.
Mean RADIANT scores in groups 1-4 were 2.2, 3.6, 2.5 and 3.1, respectively. When comparing the different vignettes, vignette B (terminal oncologic patient) scored best (3.6). Mean RADIANT scores in groups 3 and 4 were slightly higher for GPs who would be surprised compared to GPs who would not be surprised if the patient was still alive in 12 months.
The combined SQs were considered helpful in the early identification of patients in need of PC in Slovenian general practice.
The increase in the elderly population is causing changes and challenges that demand a comprehensive public health response. A specific characteristic of the elderly is their frailty. Today’s problems with identifying levels of frailty are being resolved by numerous tools in the form of frailty assessment scales. This systematic review establishes which frailty assessment scales for the elderly are being used and what their applicability in primary care is like in Slovenia and around the world.
Documents published after 2010 were searched for in the PubMed database using keywords and other specific criteria.
A total of 177 search hits were obtained based on various search strings. The final analysis included 28 articles, of which three were systematic literature reviews. These three covered quantitative studies, mainly consisting of observational cross-sectional surveys or cohort studies. Three other studies featured non-systematic literature reviews. Quantitative studies (mainly cross-sectional surveys or cohort studies) prevailed among the remaining 22 articles. One study had a qualitative design (Delphi method). The main outcome measures observed by all studies were frailty assessment scales for the elderly, the majority of which were evaluated on a sample of the elderly.
None of the assessment scales examined are used as the gold standard for primary care. A variety of tools are being used in clinical practice to assess frailty in elderly patients, highlighting the need for standardization and guidelines. This requires evaluating the current assessment scales in terms of validity and reliability, and suitably improving them.
Pim de Graaf, Danica Rotar Pavlič, Erika Zelko, Marga Vintges, Sara Willems and Lise Hanssens
Roma populations’ low health status and limited access to health services, including primary care, has been documented in many European countries, and warrants specific health policies and practices. A variety of experiences shows how primary care can adjust its practices to reduce the barriers to primary care for Roma populations.
At local level, establishing collaboration with Roma organisations helps primary care to improve mutual relations and quality of care. Mediation has proved to be an effective tool. Skills training of primary care practitioners may enhance their individual competences. Research and international sharing of experiences are further tools to improve primary care for the Roma people.