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      Healthcare professionals’ understanding of the legislation governing research involving adults lacking mental capacity in England and Wales: a national survey

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To examine health and social care professionals’ understanding of the legislation governing research involving adults lacking mental capacity in England and Wales.

          Methods

          A cross-sectional online survey was conducted using a series of vignettes. Participants were asked to select the legally authorised decision-maker in each scenario and provide supporting reasons. Responses were compared with existing legal frameworks and analysed according to their level of concordance.

          Results

          One hundred and twenty-seven professionals participated. Levels of discordance between responses and the legal frameworks were high across all five scenarios (76%–82%). Nearly half of the participants (46%) provided responses that were discordant in all scenarios. Only two participants (2%) provided concordant responses across all five scenarios.

          Discussion

          Participants demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the legal frameworks, the locus of authority and the legal basis for decision-making. The findings raise concern about the accessibility of research for those who lack capacity, the ability to conduct research involving such groups and the impact on the evidence base for their care.

          Conclusion

          This is the first study to examine health and social care professionals’ knowledge and understanding of the dual legal frameworks in the UK. Health and social care professionals’ understanding and attitudes towards research involving adults with incapacity may warrant further in-depth exploration. The findings from this survey suggest that greater training and education is required.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Probiotics for Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea (PAAD): a prospective observational study of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (including Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea) in care homes.

          Antibiotic prescribing rates in care homes are higher than in the general population. Antibiotics disrupt the normal gut flora, sometimes causing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD). Clostridium difficile (Hall and O'Toole 1935) Prévot 1938 is the most commonly identified cause of AAD. Little is known either about the frequency or type of antibiotics prescribed in care homes or about the incidence and aetiology of AAD in this setting. The Probiotics for Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea (PAAD) study was designed as a two-stage study. PAAD stage 1 aimed to (1) prospectively describe antibiotic prescribing in care homes; (2) determine the incidence of C. difficile carriage and AAD (including C. difficile-associated diarrhoea); and (3) to consider implementation challenges and establish the basis for a sample size estimation for a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of probiotic administration with antibiotics to prevent AAD in care homes. If justified by PAAD stage 1, the RCT would be implemented in PAAD stage 2. However, as a result of new evidence regarding the clinical effectiveness of probiotics on the incidence of AAD, a decision was taken not to proceed with PAAD stage 2. PAAD stage 1 was a prospective observational cohort study in care homes in South Wales with up to 12 months' follow-up for each resident. Recruited care homes had management and owner's agreement to participate and three or more staff willing to take responsibility for implementing the study. Eleven care homes were recruited, but one withdrew before any residents were recruited. A total of 279 care home residents were recruited to the observational study and 19 withdrew, 16 (84%) because of moving to a non-participating care home. The primary outcomes were the rate of antibiotic prescribing, incidence of AAD, defined as three or more loose stools (type 5-7 on the Bristol Stool Chart) in a 24-hour period, and C. difficile carriage confirmed on stool culture. Stool samples were obtained at study entry from 81% of participating residents. Over half of the samples contained antibiotic-resistant isolates, with Enterobacteriaceae resistant to ciprofloxacin in 47%. Residents were prescribed an average of 2.16 antibiotic prescriptions per year [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.90 to 2.46]. Antibiotics were less likely to be prescribed to residents from dual-registered homes. The incidence of AAD was 0.57 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.81) episodes per year among those residents who were prescribed antibiotics. AAD was more likely in residents who were prescribed co-amoxiclav than other antibiotics and in those residents who routinely used incontinence pads. AAD was less common in residents from residential homes. Care home residents, particularly in nursing homes, are frequently prescribed antibiotics and often experience AAD. Antibiotic resistance, including ciprofloxacin resistance, is common in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from the stool of care home residents. Co-amoxiclav is associated with greater risk of AAD than other commonly prescribed antibiotics. Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 7954844. This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 18, No. 63. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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            ‘Early days’: Knowledge and use of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 by care home managers and staff

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              Consent, including advanced consent, of older adults to research in care homes: a qualitative study of stakeholders’ views in South Wales

              Background Care home residents, especially those lacking capacity to provide consent for themselves, are frequently excluded from research, thus limiting generalisability of study findings. We set out to explore stakeholders’ views about the ethical and practical challenges associated with recruiting care home residents into research studies. Methods Qualitative individual interviews with care home residents (n = 14), their relatives (n = 14), and general practitioners (GPs) (n = 10), and focus groups (n = 2) with care home staff. Interviews focused on the issues of older adults consenting to research in care homes, including advanced consent, in general and through reference to a particular study on the use of probiotics to prevent Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea. Data were analysed using a thematic approach incorporating themes that had been identified in advance, and themes derived from the data. Researchers discussed evidence for themes, and reached consensus on the final themes. Results Respondents were generally accepting of low risk observational studies and slightly less accepting of low risk randomised trials of medicinal products. Although respondents identified some practical barriers to informed consent, consenting arrangements were considered workable. Residents and relatives varied in the amount of detail they wanted included in information sheets and consent discussions, but were generally satisfied that an advanced consent model was acceptable and appropriate. Opinions differed about what should happen should residents lose capacity during a research study. Conclusions Research staff should be mindful of research guidance and ensure that they have obtained an appropriate level of informed consent without overwhelming the participant with unnecessary detail. For research involving medicinal products, research staff should also be more explicit when recruiting that consent is still valid should an older person lose capacity during a trial provided the individual did not previously state a wish to be withdrawn if they lose capacity, and provided they do not indicate objection or resistance after loss of capacity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Med Ethics
                J Med Ethics
                medethics
                jme
                Journal of Medical Ethics
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                0306-6800
                1473-4257
                September 2018
                25 April 2018
                : 44
                : 9
                : 632-637
                Affiliations
                [1 ] departmentDivision of Population Medicine , Cardiff University , Cardiff, UK
                [2 ] departmentCentre for Trials Research , Cardiff University , Cardiff, UK
                [3 ] departmentCollege of Human and Health Sciences , Swansea University , Swansea, UK
                [4 ] departmentEthox Centre , University of Oxford , Oxford, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Victoria Shepherd, Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF14 4YS, UK; ShepherdVL1@ 123456cardiff.ac.uk
                Article
                medethics-2017-104722
                10.1136/medethics-2017-104722
                6119350
                29695407
                © Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Health and Care Research Wales;
                Categories
                Research Ethics
                1506
                Custom metadata
                unlocked

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