Zana Bowden, Jinal Gandhi, Sarah Natasha Jost, Hanna Mathers, Chad Serels, Daniel Wigmore, Timothy Wong, Jan Carney, Charles Maclean, and Elizabeth Cote
Introduction. In July of 2017, Vermont enacted new rules on acute opioid pre- scribing to reduce misuse, addiction, and overdose associated with prescription opioids. The new rules include requirements of non-opioid therapy use when possible, querying VPMS, patient education and informed consent, and co-prescription of naloxone. Our study objective was to gain insight into the perspectives of opioid prescribers on the new rules.
Methods. The 17-item survey included closed and open-ended questions addressing prescriber perceptions about the new rules as well as demographic information about respondents. The survey was sent to Vermont-based opioid prescribers via email, to multiple healthcare organizations and professional societies, and through personal contacts. Open-ended responses were categorized using paired reviewers and group consensus, using a grounded theory approach.
Results. A total of 431 responses were obtained, with MD/DOs accounting for 65%, APRNs- 14%, DDS/DMD- 7%, PAs-13%, and NDs- 1%. Of the respondents, 75% thought that more restrictive opioid prescribing rules were necessary, 74% felt the new rules would have some positive effect on the opioid crisis, but only 48% were in favor of the new rules. Barriers to implementation included co-prescribing naloxone (50% were unsuccessful), justifying exceptions to rules in medical record (46% unsuc- cessful), considering non-pharmacologic therapies (39% unsuccessful), and adhering to prescription limits (31% unsuccessful).
Conclusions. Roll-out of the new rules has been criticized for implementation issues, overall reducing favorability among prescribers. Feedback obtained may be utilized by the Vermont Health Department and by other states to improve current models of opioid prescribing.
Carlos Cubberley, Julia Hannigan, Lee Hiromoto, Michael Carlo Nilo, Conner Soderquist, Eleanor Stedman, Tom Delaney, Razelle Hoffman-Contois, Jan Carney, and William Irwin
Introduction. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the second leading cause of non-medical poisoning death in the United States. Between 1999 and 2012, Vermont saw the highest rates of CO poisoning deaths in New England. Public education and the use of CO alarms have been identified as important prevention strategies. We developed and distributed a survey to assess public and health professional knowledge of CO.
Methods. A 21-question survey was designed, based on the validated Chicago Lead Knowledge Test, to assess knowledge about sources of CO exposure and symptoms and treatment of poisoning. Fifteen additional questions collected occupational and demographic information and preferred sources of educational information. Surveys were distributed over two months to the public, healthcare professionals, and emergency responders within Chittenden County, as well as physicians throughout Vermont. Survey responses were analyzed using SPSS.
Results. There were 256 respondents. Healthcare professionals performed better than public respondents overall (public: mean correct=15.69, SD= 2.83, N=104; healthcare provider and emergency responder: mean correct= 17.5, SD= 2.23, N= 152). The survey questions which were most frequently answered incorrectly related to treatment and sources of exposure, as well as the similarity of CO poisoning to symptoms of influenza. Respondents preferred to receive information from printed and internet sources.
Discussion. Medical professionals are more knowledgeable about carbon mon- oxide than the general public. Public education should include printed and online for- mats, focusing on important sources of exposure (particularly ice rinks), seeking treatment following symptoms, and similarity to flu symptoms.
Daniel De Los Santos, Erin Hill, Scott Mitchell, Rachel Munoz, Monica Rodgers, Gregory Roy, Danielle Smith, Jolie Lavigne, Karen Lounsbury, Jan Carney, and Karen Sokol
Introduction. Home health care has been established as an effective model for reducing mortality in the elderly. The Doctor-at-Home Service at the Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB) has offered home health care to Burlington residents since January 2015. Dr. Karen Sokol, MD, alone provides care to 176 patients at their homes, including at-home palliative care. CHCB hope to expand this program by hiring more providers.
Objective. To understand the impact of the Doctor-at-Home Service from the pa- tients’ perspective.
Methods. A survey was administered to a cohort of eighteen patients over an 8- week period and addressed topics such as barriers to healthcare, benefits, and costs associated with doctor-at-home programs. A theme analysis on the responses was then conducted to reflect patient opinions. Available summary data describing the pa- tient population was also analyzed.
Results. The Doctor- at- Home program serves patients ranging from 26 to 100 years old, with the majority of the patient population comprised of senior citizens. Prior to at home care, patients faced barriers such as lack of transportation, negative past experi- ences, anxiety, and distance from relatives. Four main themes from patient responses were physician-patient relationship, convenience, quality of care, and environment of care.
Discussion. Evidence is compelling that there is a desire and need for an exten- sion of the Doctor-at-Home program to reach additional patients. Doctor-at-Home pro- grams could eliminate identified barriers and provide quality care to patients, especially those with specific barriers to access.
Nathan Dreyfus, Caleb Knight, Jennifer Morris, Kathryn Patton, Melissa Romero, Jackie Tsao, Christopher Veal, Sarah McCarthy, and Jessilyn Dolan
Introduction. Staff at the Lund Family Center report that there may be knowledge deficits, with regards to nutrition, among the Center’s residents—primarily pregnant/ parenting women with substance abuse and mental health issues. Before considering intervention options, we wanted to identify the specifics of the residents’ knowledge gaps.
Methods. We administered paper versions of a revised General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (GNKQ-R) Section 2 to 21 Lund residents to explore nutri- tion knowledge as compared to groups more representative of the general population. The GNKQ-R Section 2 is an externally validated, efficacious tool that specifically as- sesses knowledge of food groups and nutrients. Demographic data and free-response personal assessments of health were also collected.
Results. The study population scored significantly lower than a UK population (p=0.002) previously analyzed using the questionnaire, however, the Lund residents scored significantly higher than a CA population (p=0.0001). There were statistically insignificant positive relationships between age, education level, and self-reported health status, in addition to slightly lower performances among those with “Single” relationship status.
Conclusions. Though demonstrated by a small, homogenous population, the statistically significant nutrition knowledge deficit of the Lund Family Center residents, relative to the referenced UK study, warranted intervention. A brief nutrition curriculum composed of 16 focused modules was developed for future administration. The modules were oriented towards family nutrition, with content including such topics as breastfeeding advice, including children in meal-making, and macronutrient basics. These modules will be delivered to Lund residents in 2018.
William Earle, Eli Goldberg, Mary Griffin, Amanda Kardys, Nikolas Moring, Elias Schoen, Emily Vayda, Jill Jemison, Rajan Chawla, and Kristin Fontaine
Introduction. Adolescent suicide is epidemic. 17% of high school students con- sidered suicide and 8% attempting to take their lives in 2015 nationwide. Vermont has seen a 2% increase within the last two years according to the VT Youth Risk Behavior Survey. School is one of several settings where effective suicide interventions could take place. Previous studies have identified means prevention as an effective way to combat adolescent suicide. This study aims to identify training levels and comfort of school staff in dealing with suicidality.
Methods. A survey was emailed to all schools in Vermont covering grades 6-12. The survey addressed employee demographics, training, perception of suicide in their school, and concern regarding lethal means. Questions were multiple choice, scaled and free responses. Data was analyzed using SPSS and free responses were organized using thematic content analysis.
Results. 126 responses represented 46% of Vermont middle and high schools. 77% agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident in recognizing a student with suicidality. Respondents were not comfortable implementing lethal means prevention. Respondents identified early intervention and trusting communicative relationships as key to prevention, and identified lack of time, protocols, and resources as obstacles.
Discussion. Respondents identified suicidality in 2.2% of their students, com- pared to the YRBS that recognized 12% of adolescents. Survey technique may con- tribute to this discrepancy, but it is also likely that schools are failing to identify students at risk. A lack of comfort recognizing suicidality and implementing prevention techniques warrants standardized training, screening and response protocols.
Benjamin Flinn, Anna Lidofsky, Charles Nicoli, Eva Petrow, Zachary Silberman, Laura Thompson-Martin, Stephen Everse, and Ryan Torres
Introduction. Physical activity programs for older adults help to improve physical, social, and emotional health and reduce impairments in activities of daily living1. In Chittenden county, less than 1⁄3 of older adults participate in programs, while 48% report that they would like to exercise more. Our aim was to identify barriers to participation in physical activity programs by older adults in Chittenden county, such as accessibility, transportation, health, affordability, and social isolation, and to identify strategies to overcome these barriers.
Methods. 144 paper and electronic surveys were administered in Chittenden County, Vermont to assess use of group programs among older adults aged ≥ 50 years including transportation, motivation, preferences, advertisement, and barriers to access. A focus group explored aspects of ideal group activities for seniors.
Results. 87.9% of respondents were active for two or more hours each week, while 46.5% had participated in group programming in the past 6 months. Group par- ticipation was significantly higher among physically active respondents (p=0.020). Motivators for participation in group activity included health benefits, social aspects, and physical activity, while the most cited barrier to attendance was timing conflicts. Respondents received information about programming via word of mouth, email, and online resources.
Discussion. Overall, our findings indicate that the majority of respondents are highly active, however, they frequently experience barriers that prevent them from participating in group programming. We recommend offering flexible scheduling, advertising programming via word of mouth and email, and emphasizing program health benefits.
Dylon Gookin, Megan Kawasaki, Isabelle Mason, Cole Shapiro, Patricia Wang, Caleb Watkins, Molly Moore, and Taylor Puckhaber
Introduction. Healthcare within the United States has been at the forefront of public discussion and political representation in recent years, particularly as it relates to healthcare access and barriers to said access. Focus has been placed on low-income groups that most generally represent the face of the average American, but this leaves the question: How are new Americans faring, and do their struggles match those faced by the rest of the country? The new Americans of Burlington, Vermont serve as a small window into a unique refugee population’s experiences with healthcare in the United States.
Methods. A focus group consisting of 8 women was hosted on-site at the Burlington Housing Authority Franklin Square apartments. Questions were designed to determine demographic data as well facilitate subjective discussion on participants’ healthcare experiences. Translation services were provided by the resident manager.
Results. Languages spoken were Mai Mai, Swahili, and English. Five major themes for healthcare access barriers were identified: language barriers, having children, transportation barriers, financial barriers, and a lack of preventative care. Sub- themes were also identified, which formed a taxonomy of barriers to healthcare access among the representative population.
Discussion/Conclusions. The difficulties faced by new Americans are numerous and interrelated, leading to a perpetual cycle of insufficient healthcare. Throughout the discussion, the financial burden of healthcare was regularly raised as one of the most prominent issues faced. This concern matches with those found in similar, previous studies, that have analyzed the difficulties faced by the rest of America.
Radon, From the Ground into Our Schools: Parent/Guardian Awareness of Radon Levels in Vermont Schools
Kathryn Grenoble, Florence Lambert-Fliszar, Kirsten Martin, Scott Neary, Kyle Remy, Shawn Sanford, Ethan Witt, Rebecca Ryan, David Kaminsky, and Jan Carney
Introduction. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Ex- posure to radon in schools may be harmful to schoolchildren, faculty, and staff, but there is currently no legislation mandating testing or mitigation of radon levels in Vermont schools.
Objectives. The goal of our study was to assess Vermont parents’ awareness of radon’s harmful effects, as well as awareness of and support for testing and mitigation of radon levels in their children’s schools.
Methods. We distributed paper and online surveys to Vermont parents of children grades K-12. 126 surveys were received and quantitatively analyzed. We held a focus group of two Vermont parents to gather qualitative data.
Results. Most surveyed parents demonstrated general knowledge of radon, but only 51% believed that radon affects the lungs. 8% were confident that their children’s schools had informed them about radon levels. 91.2% believe their children’s schools should take action to address elevated radon levels and 87% would support mandated mitigation. There is some concern and lack of knowledge about the financial implications of radon mitigation.
Conclusions. Most Vermont parents of children grades K-12 are unaware that radon is a lung carcinogen and do not know their children’s school’s radon levels or mitigation status. However, most are in favor of legislation that would require testing and dis- closure of schools’ high radon levels. Educating parents about school radon levels and their association with lung cancer could be a foundation for community support of legislation that mandates testing and mitigation of radon in Vermont schools.
Britta Kilgus, Michael Persaud, Nicholas Selig, Harris Syed, Vanessa Trieu, Danielle Wall, Wendy Hou, Yiping Hou, Leah Soderquist, and Jeanne Hutchins
Introduction. Missed appointments often lead to poorer health care outcomes for patients and pose a major economic burden on medical centers. Transportation is an obstacle to accessing medical care for elderly patients in Vermont and results in delayed medical appointments.
Methods. We surveyed senior citizens in Chittenden county to determine both the type of transportation barriers and medical care missed due to the lack of transpor- tation. An original survey assessing the impact of transportation to health care was distributed in person and through an online platform. Participants were asked to identify the following in the past year: how often transportation was an issue for healthcare, specific barriers to transportation, and which specific health care appointments were missed due to lack of transportation. Ninety-six surveys out of a total of 251 collected were included in the analysis. Respondents were grouped into either having high transportation barriers, n=43, (always, often, sometimes had issues in the past year), or low transportation barriers, n=53, (rarely had issues).
Results. The high barriers group reported more missed appointments, with eye appointments being the most frequent, and depended more on other modes of trans- portation. The low barriers group was able to drive themselves to their appointments more often.
Conclusion. The results suggest a trend between barriers to transportation and a lack of access to healthcare appointments. Although more than half of the survey respondents indicated that they do not currently experience transportation barriers, many expressed concern about the transportation difficulties they could encounter in the future.
Ashley D. Adkins, Holly Bachilas, Florence DiBiase, Michael J. Marallo, John Paul Nsubuga, Lloyd Patashnick, Curran Uppaluri, Elizabeth Cote, and Charles MacLean
Introduction. Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) for opioid addiction has dramatically increased in Vermont, supported by a novel statewide system that integrates specialty treatment centers ("Hubs") with primary care office-based opioid therapy ("Spokes"). In 2010, Vermont had the highest per capita buprenorphine use in the US. Previous studies of patient perspectives of MAT have identified social barriers, rigid program rules, and concerns about withdrawal and relapse as common causes of treatment failure. Our goal was to elicit patient perspectives on barriers and enablers of successful MAT to further inform system refinement.
Methods. An interview guide was developed based on previous literature as well as discussions with program leadership, staff and clinicians, and community stakeholders. Responses were organized using thematic content analysis with consensus across seven interviewers and two analysts. The interviews were conducted with 44 patients enrolled in MAT at two Hub sites in Burlington, VT in October 2016.
Results. The median age of subjects was 34 years, 34% were employed at least part-time, and 72% were female. Half reported a mental health condition and 20% reported chronic pain. Barriers included transportation (25%), lack of stable housing, and stigma (41%). Enablers included feeling supported (82% felt well-supported; 52% felt supported by healthcare professionals). Subjects expressed high confidence in the treatment system and high self-efficacy for sobriety.
Conclusions. Patients in MAT have complex medical, mental health, social, personal, and work lives. A comprehensive system that addresses this wide range of domains is critical to achieving optimal outcomes.
Dexter C. Allen, Morgan Hadley, Margaret Klepack, Amber J. Meservey, Lynn Sipsey, Greg Whitcher, Mushtaba Yuridullah, Jill Sudhoff-Guerin, Jill Jemison, and Jan Carney
Introduction. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in Vermont. While the Vermont Blueprint for Health includes compensation for adult tobacco counseling, it includes no specific mention of pediatric populations. Research questions: To what extent are tobacco assessment and cessation efforts occurring in the primary care setting with pediatric patients? What factors influence their practices?
Methods. A 12-question electronic survey, modeled on an American Academy of Pediatrics survey, was distributed to primary care providers throughout Vermont; through the UVM departments of pediatrics, family medicine, the Vermont Medical Society and the Vermont Area Health Education Center. We received 70 completed surveys.
Results. 70% of the surveyed primary care providers begin tobacco counseling at the age recommended (11 years) by the Vermont Department of Health. Only 45.71% of providers are confident in their understanding of the recommendations for adolescent health screening written in the Blueprint for Health. Additionally, only 67.1% of the providers expressed confidence in their ability to provide guidance regarding the harmful effects of E-cigarettes, compared to 92.8% feeling confident regarding conventional cigarettes. 70% of providers listed time restraints as a significant factor in their decision not to counsel adolescents on tobacco use.
Discussion. The Blueprint for Health is a guiding document for provider practices that is not well understood and does not specifically include pediatric tobacco prevention. In an environment where youth E-cigarette use is rising, especially among adolescents, it is especially critical that physicians are confident in their counseling practices.
Khaled H. Al Tawil, Nathan L. Centybear, Julia Lane Cowenhoven, Emily Kinn, Joseph J. Lahey, Jayne Manigrasso, Chantal Mendes, Martha Friedman, and Shaden Eldakar-Hein
Introduction. Burlington, Vermont accepts refugees from around the world. These individuals face unique barriers to accessing healthcare due to language, culture and finances. Research suggests that cultural beliefs about healthcare can affect ability or willingness to seek medical care. Gaining a better understanding of refugee perspectives of the healthcare system may offer insight into how to rectify this issue.
Objectives. The goal of this study was to learn about refugee perspectives of the healthcare system and assess their use of services.
Methods. We surveyed a convenience sample of 24 refugees to learn more about thoughts and practices surrounding healthcare and the use of the medical system.
Results. Survey findings suggested that refugees who had been living in the US for longer than one year access healthcare resources differently from more recent arrivals. Most respondents agreed that reasons for going to a healthcare provider revolved around the diagnosis and treatment of current ailments. Regardless of time spent in the U.S., most respondents were unlikely to seek out preventive care. Refugees who had been in the U.S. longer than one year were less likely to seek out emergency services for acute symptoms that would be better served by a visit with their PCP.
Conclusions. Recent arrivals used the emergency room for primary care needs more than those living in the U.S. longer than one year, suggesting the efficacy of provided health education. Study data suggests an important area for improvement may be increased education for refugees about the importance of preventive care.
Tessa R. Barclay, Laura Taylor Director, Steven Everse, Bailey Fay, Aaron M. Gelinne, Eliot S. Jia, Julia McGinty, Sunit K. Misra, and Lauren Pyatt
Introduction. Lead is a heavy metal found in and around homes built before 1978, comprising more than 80% of the housing stock in Chittenden County, Vermont. Lead exposure during infancy and childhood can have deleterious effects on development. Our study assessed baseline community understanding of potential household lead hazards in Chittenden County, Vermont.
Methods.. 123 paper, 10-question surveys were randomly administered to Chittenden County, VT residents to assess recognition of lead toxicology symptoms and awareness of lead safety programs. Scores were treated as continuous variables, demographically grouped, and analyzed using non-parametric statistical analysis (Mann-Whitney & Kruskal-Wallis). Individual questions were treated as dichotomous variables, demographically grouped and analyzed using chi-squared testing.
Results.. 48% of survey participants understood the interaction between ADHD and lead or knew the importance of window maintenance. 54.5% were aware of the Burlington Lead Program's assistance program. Participants earning less than $60,000 and those with less than a graduate degree scored statistically lower (p
Conclusion.. Lesser-known lead poisoning symptoms and home interventions that decrease lead exposure should be emphasized to the community. High-risk groups requiring targeted education include those who rent, have lower income and education levels. Primary care providers could serve a larger role in educating patients. Additional efforts should be made to publicize services offered by the Burlington Lead Program.
Kristen J. Bartlett, James Duguay, Sebastian A. Franco, Marie Kenney, Callie Linehan, Alexander W. Marchese, Rebecca Robbins, Brian J. Rosen, Rebecca Mills, Anne Brena, and Jan Carney
Introduction. Previous studies have demonstrated that the homeless population experience higher stress levels than the general population. The goal of our study was to identify potential sources of stress for families staying with COTS, the largest service provider for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont, and also to gauge potential interest in evidence-based stress-reduction strategies.
Methods. Interviews were conducted with seven adult representatives of seven different families (of fourteen eligible) currently residing at the family shelters managed by COTS, in fall 2016. Questions included a mix of short answer items and open ended prompts. Responses that yielded quantifiable data were compiled while responses that were open-ended were qualitatively analyzed to extract core themes.
Results. 6 out of 7 residents indicated they were at least as stressed while living at COTS as when they were homeless, and 5 out of 7 were receptive to some form of stress reduction. Common stressors included health, finances, lack of privacy, children and employment status.
Discussion. Residents at the family shelters come from a variety of cultural and experiential backgrounds. The composition of COTS' inhabitants and their needs are in dynamic flux. Accordingly, our conclusions may not translate into the future. Our observations underscore a need and a desire for stress-reduction intervention. Thus, we recommend COTS pilot both a weekly mediation class and weekly yoga class. We also suggest the organization provide nutritional information sheets to residents and explore implementing a car share program.
Amy M. Berkman, Brendon Kinsley, Margaret S. Johnston, Rose Kristine Leu, Niketu P. Patel, Maia Sakradse, George Zhang, Wendy Davis, and Matthew Bradstreet
Introduction. One percent of women of childbearing age in the U.S. have blood lead levels ≥ 5 ug/dL, which are associated with maternal hypertension during pregnancy, neural tube and cardiac defects in infants, low birth weight, prematurity, and spontaneous abortion. It is unknown whether obstetrics providers in Vermont are screening their pregnant patients for lead levels and educating them on lead exposure risks.
Objective. To gain an understanding of current lead screening practices in Vermont and issue recommendations for disseminating lead screening information.
Methods. We developed and e-mailed a survey to practicing OB/GYN physicians, maternity care focused family medicine physicians, nurse midwives, and professional midwives. The survey assessed current screening practices for lead exposure in their pregnant patients, interest in receiving statewide guidelines, and guideline dissemination preferences.
Results. Of the 41 respondents, 12% currently conduct risk assessments for lead exposure with all of their pregnant patients. Fifty four percent of maternity providers give all of their patients educational materials about lead exposure and risk of toxicity. Seventy one percent of maternity providers think that having guidelines provided by the Vermont Department of Health would encourage them to begin or continue lead exposure screening. The two preferred methods of communicating guidelines to physicians were grand rounds and email whereas non-physician providers preferred email and webinar.
Discussion. The majority of pregnant patients in Vermont are not properly assessed or educated about lead risks. However, there is interest in having statewide standardized lead risk assessment guidelines, with dissemination preferences differing by provider type.
Christopher Bernard, Taylor Brown, Ramya Ghantasala, Obhijit Hazarika, Nicole Leonard, Cori Polonski, Zachary Wunrow, Michelle Heleba, Jan Carney, and Mark K. Fung
Introduction. Each year donation rates fall in the summer months straining blood banks’ capacities to meet local demands. In hopes of identifying factors to increase summer donations, our study investigated donor reported barriers which influence summer donations habits.
Methods. An anonymous 16 question survey investigating various donation factors was administered across multiple American Red Cross (ARC) donation centers in Vermont. Questions addressed donor demographics, frequency of blood donation, preference in appointment making modalities including smartphone app use, summer travel habits, willingness to donate during vacation, and factors that deter donors from donating on vacation.
Results. A total of 292 surveys were received. Survey respondents across multiple demographic groups cited similar barriers to summer donation, namely “Too busy” (27.5 %) and “Traveling is a time for me to relax.” (30.6 %). Of the respondents who travel in the summer, very few reported donating while traveling (3.4 %). Summer donation rates between summertime travelers (36.5 %) and non-travelers (36.4 %) were essentially equivalent. The most preferred methods of scheduling appointments were via ARC website (45.6 %) and phone (28.4%). Willingness to use the ARC app was highest among respondents ages of 18 to 34 (45-55%) and lowest among ages 55 and older (13-15%). Of respondents with no prior knowledge of summer seasonal shortages (22 %), 2/3rds indicated newfound motivation to donate.
Conclusion. Regardless of travel, increasing awareness of summer shortages may increase summer donations. Use of donor websites and smartphone apps may be instrumented as part of recruitment efforts.
Michael Burton, Katherine Clifford, John P. Corbett, Midori Eckenstein, Jenna Conway Jorgensen, Stephanie S. Kulaga, Hyunsoo Joshua No, Nathaniel White, and Judith Christensen
Introduction. A small body of research on therapeutic use of poetry in individuals with memory impairment demonstrates benefits similar to that of more widely studied music interventions. This project aims to assess the effects of participation in a poetry group on the residents of a memory care floor within the Converse Home, an assisted living facility in Burlington, Vermont.
Methods.. We evaluated the effects of twelve group poetry sessions on residents' well-being in several domains. Each session included a reading and writing portion, which were evaluated separately to assess differences in measures of communication, interest, and enjoyment. These measures, along with negative responses, were recorded on Likert scales. T-tests, ANOVA, and post-hoc comparisons were used to compare behavioral and affective observations in the reading versus writing sessions.
Results.. Positive responses were significantly higher in reading sessions (p
Conclusion.. Although the limitations of this project preclude us from drawing individual conclusions regarding the therapeutic efficacy of poetry in individuals with memory impairment, we demonstrate that poetry sessions have a positive impact on global quality of life outcomes and introduction of poetry sessions in this population has a beneficial effect.
Andrew Corse, Katelyn Donaldson, Andrew Gallagher, Anita Li, Morgan R. Pratt, Benjamin F. Smith, Amelia V. Tajik, Peter Jacobsen, T. Vezina, and Jerry Larrabee
Introduction. A syringe exchange is a public health intervention that offers nonjudgmental services to intravenous drug users (IVDU), providing clean syringes in exchange for used syringes. While prior studies demonstrated that syringe exchanges can reduce transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne pathogens, other measures of health improvements have been less studied.
Methods. 91 members of Vermont CARES syringe exchange program were surveyed on their healthcare practices. New members were defined asprogram.
Results. Long-term members tended to have a primary care provider (PCP). Lack of insurance and fear of judgment were commonly cited reasons for not having a PCP. Long-term members were significantly less likely (p=0.04) to use costly emergency department (ED) services and less likely to reuse their own or another person's needles. Long-term members were more likely to be in addiction treatment and reported a greater desire to abstain from drug use. New members were more likely to obtain hepatitis C and HIV testing in the past year.
Discussion. Subjects responded positively to the possibility of accessing PCP services through VT CARES, offering a continuation of the nonjudgmental healthcare environment. Decreased ED visits significantly correlated with longer membership, reflecting the positive impact of the syringe exchange education services on reducing healthcare costs. Decreased testing among long-term members may reflect prior knowledge of their status. Long-term members were less likely to reuse their own needles or ones used by another person, suggesting the distribution of clean syringes encourages safer injection practices.
Cody J. Couperus, Sree Sahithi Kolli, Sergio Andres Munoz, Quinn Self, Russell R. Reeves, Erica Worswick, Sterling A. York, and Allen B. Repp
Introduction. The Institute of Medicine defines diagnostic error as the failure to establish an accurate or timely explanation for the patient's health problem(s), or effectively communicate the explanation to the patient. To our knowledge, no studies exist characterizing diagnostic error from patient perspectives using this definition.
Objective. We sought to characterize diagnostic errors experienced by patients and describe patient perspectives on causes, impacts, and prevention strategies.
Methods. We screened 77 adult inpatients at University of Vermont Medical Center and conducted 27 structured interviews with patients who experienced diagnostic error in the past five years. We performed qualitative analysis using Grounded Theory.
Results. In the past five years, 39% of interviewed patients experienced diagnostic error. The errors mapped to the following categories: accuracy (30%), communication (34%) and timeliness (36%). Poor communication (13 responses) and inadequate time with doctors (7) were the most identified causes of errors. Impacts of errors included emotional distress (17 responses), adverse health outcomes (7) and impaired activities of daily living (6). Patients suggested improved communication (11 responses), clinical management (7) and access to doctors (5) as prevention strategies. For communication, patients rated "talk to your doctor" highest (mean 8.4, on 1-10 Likert scale) and "text message" lowest (4.8).
Conclusions/Recommendations. Diagnostic errors are common and have dramatic impact on patients' well-being. We suggest routine surveillance to identify errors, support for patients who have experienced errors, and implementation of patient and provider "checklists" to enhance communication. Future studies should investigate strategies to allow care providers adequate time with patients.
Kristen M. Dalton, Desiree N. DiBella, Alan Lee, Althea L. Morrison, Adam Michael Schlauch, Marc J. Vecchio, Paige M. Wood, Lisa Maynes, and Heather Link
Introduction. Care coordination involves organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a patient's care to achieve improved outcomes, a recent national focus. Compared to the national average, a higher percentage of Vermont children are cared for in an office that meets medical home criteria. However, there is limited research on medical home and care coordination for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) in the state of Vermont.
Objectives. The goal of this study was to assess family perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about how well care coordination is working for Vermont families with CSHCN.
Methods. A paper and an electronic anonymous survey was developed for Vermont families with CSHCN. The surveys were then distributed by Vermont Family Network and the UVMMC Department of Pediatrics. Focus group interviews were also conducted at Vermont Family Network to provide family insight to explain the quantitative data.
Results. 30 participants responded to the survey; only 20 completed it. The overall composite satisfaction score is 54%. This score takes into account 4 questions regarding care coordination satisfaction. Each question was formatted into a numerical value ranging from zero to five, with an overall score of 20 equating to 100% satisfaction.
Discussion. Findings indicate that families with CSHCN are not satisfied with the level of care coordination currently provided. Respondents reported many barriers regarding care coordination, including lack of communication among health care providers, insurance coverage, and lack of support during transitional periods in care. Recommended improvements were identified.
Wyll T. Everett, Victoria Lauren Close, Rebecca Merriam-Stelfox, Sravana Paladugu, Jacob B. Reibel, Ruby L. Russell, Rebecca Ryan, and David Kaminsky
Introduction. Although 5.4% of the Vermont population participates in agriculture as an occupation, little data exists on the prevalence of asthma in Vermont dairy farmers, due to inadequate sample sizes. Previous studies have shown dairy farmers are at risk of respiratory illness due to unique exposures intrinsic to their occupation. We conducted a study to assess the prevalence of asthma in dairy farmers in Vermont, to understand rates among this population and potential occupational risks.
Methods. We distributed a paper survey modeled after previously-validated surveys, such as the BRFSS, to farmers at Vermont Farmer Bureau meetings, farmers markets, and individual farmers through Cabot Creamery. Out of 309 distributed surveys, we received 176 completed surveys for a response rate of 57%.
Results. Self-reported asthma rate in dairy farmers was 21% (22% in dairy only farmers), with 90% of these cases reported as confirmed by a doctor. Of non-dairy farmers, 11% self-reported experiencing asthma. Farming activities associated with exacerbation of asthma symptoms were milking, prepping or cleaning bedding, and haying. 31% of dairy-only farmers reported symptom exacerbations due to these occupational triggers.
Conclusions. The prevalence of asthma in Vermont dairy farmers is one of the highest reported rates in any Vermont occupation. Our data suggest that certain occupational exposures may increase risk of asthma and warrant further study; certain farming practices were associated with exacerbation of respiratory symptoms in farmers diagnosed with asthma. These findings and further research can assist in development of health care and preventive health measures for farmers.
Tim Fields, Michael J. Hall, Arjun Janardhan, Lawrence J. Leung, Samantha Magier, Allison B. Robbins, Katie C. Warther, Razelle Hoffman-Contois, William Irwin, and Jan Carney
Background. Biological effects of exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) are well known. Literature suggests most patients and physicians lack proficient understanding of risks associated with ionizing radiation. Our study goals were to: assess the extent to which productive, informed conversations regarding ionizing radiation are occurring between patients and providers; characterize public awareness of medical imaging procedures as sources of IR exposure; and investigate best practices in patientprovider communications.
Methods. We developed and administered a 17-question survey to 303 adults at five locations across Chittenden County, Vermont, over a 6-week period in fall 2016. Descriptive and statistical analyses were conducted using SPSS.
Results. The three age groups of respondents had different knowledge levels about ionizing radiation (p
Conclusions/Recommendations. 1. A standard oral presentation for pre-imaging patient-provider communication, along with a written handout, be developed; 2. A section of the electronic medical record (also accessible through the patient portal) containing IR exposure be created for patients and physicians to track individuals' information.
Kassandra J. Gibbs, Eric C. King, Nicholas S. LoSchiavo, UnChan Pyon, Jasmine Y. Robinson, Luke Soelch, Brianna F. Waller, Rebecca Schwarz, Buffy F. Dekmar, and Sarah McCarthy
Introduction. Art programs have been shown to positively affect unit culture, quality of care, and nursing practices. Art interventions improve well-being, reduce stress, and enhance nurse-patient communication. Art from the Heart (AFTH) is an art program that provides art supplies, visual art, and patient "About Me" pages to patients, families and employees at University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC).
Objective. Assess the efficacy of AFTH through nursing staff perceptions, understanding, and attitudes toward the program.
Methods. Structured interviews were conducted on Baird 4, an adult inpatient ward, at UVMMC. A 19-question survey using Likert scales and short answer formats was administered to nursing staff. Questions assessed perceptions of effects of art on patient anxiety and pain, communication, and job satisfaction. Surveys were analyzed to extract major and minor themes.
Results. Twenty-eight interviews were obtained and two major themes emerged: nurse satisfaction and patient well-being. Nursing staff satisfaction minor themes included improved productivity, promoting conversation, and creating a positive influence on the unit. Respondents reported that AFTH helped initiate conversations with patients (100% of respondents) and reduced workday stress (68%). The second major theme, patient well-being, included benefits to patients with dementia, providing comfort, and serving as an outlet or distraction. Utilizing AFTH improved perceived patient mood (100%), health (78.5%), and reduced patient anxiety (89.3%).
Conclusions. AFTH provides positive benefits by reducing nursing staff stress and perceived patient anxiety; improving communication, perceived patient mood and health; and creating a sense of community. AFTH should be expanded to the entire 6 Community Agency: Burlington City Arts, Art from the Heart
Ashley C. Hodges, Geordie C. Lonza, Lindsay S. Howe, Omkar Betageri, Ryan Erik Landvater, Sean Closs, Tina Zuk, and Paula Tracy
Introduction. Childhood obesity has increased for decades. Options on kids’ menus in restaurants typically involve unhealthy choices such as fries, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese, with soda as the drink. When healthy options are the default choice, children are more likely to eat them. Though initially skeptical of modifications, restaurants will enact changes to maintain customer satisfaction and profits, and there is no significant difference in price of healthier kids’ meals.
Methods. 187 paper and electronic surveys were administered throughout Vermont to explore attitudes towards availability, cost, and importance of healthy kids’ meals, as well as income, education, and children in the household. Open-ended questions sought parental opinions.
Results. 69% of parents believe healthier food options at restaurants would cost more; however, 95% were willing to pay more. 89% of parents reported feeling concerned or highly concerned about sugary drinks, and 62% of parents were very likely to choose the healthier food option at a restaurant. The majority of parents who reported difficulty in finding healthy meals felt the amount of fruits/vegetables was the most important nutritional factor. Low income Vermonters were most concerned about cost.
Conclusions. The majority of parents are concerned about kids’ meal nutrition and are likely to purchase healthier options, even at increased prices. If restaurants enact changes to kids’ menus, prices should remain the same to ensure families of all socioeconomic classes will be able to purchase healthier meals. Priority modifications to meals should include increased amounts of fruits/vegetables and elimination of added sugar.
Garyn Worrall, Allison Greene, Suven Cooper, Francis G. Gause IV, Patrick Saunders, Daniel Lambert, Rebekah Misir, Alison Howe, and Katy Davis
Introduction. Despite positive changes, childhood obesity and food insecurity remain prevalent across the country. Vermont is not immune to these issues. We set out to: research the level of nutrition education Vermont elementary schools provide their students, understand teacher perceptions of these programs, and recommend ways to fill identified gaps.
Methods. Our study is a cross-sectional survey of Vermont educators around nutrition education. The survey consisted of 17 questions, used LimeSurvey, and included demographic and nutrition education questions. The survey was distributed statewide through newsletters and list-servers.
Results. 64 responses met inclusion criteria. Vermont elementary school (K-6) teachers report a mean satisfaction score of 2.51 out of 5.0 for their schools' current nutrition education programs. School nurses reported a score of 2.5 out of 5.0. Highest satisfaction scores included school administrators and health and wellness coordinators (3.3 out of 5.0). When comparing teachers to non-classroom educators (administrators and nutrition educators) data showed a significant difference between high satisfaction (3-5) and low satisfaction (1-2); (Fischer p = 0.009). Overall, Vermont elementary school teachers report a high level of knowledge about nutrition, (4.1/5.0), but a lower level of understanding in their students (2.5/5.0).
Conclusions. Given teacher perceptions regarding current school nutrition education programs, development and implementation of a state-wide nutrition education curriculum with dedicated teaching time may be warranted. Programs recommended by the CDC include "Eat Well & Get Moving" and "Planet Health," designed by the Harvard School of Public Health. These could be adapted as a framework for Vermont.
All posters from the UVM College of Medicine Public Health Projects, 2008 to present.
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