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The Evidence Speaks

The Evidence Speaks (May 2024)

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The Evidence Speaks Series is a recurring feature highlighting the latest in Advancing Health research. This series features summaries of select publications and is designed to keep media and the research community up to date with the Centre’s current research results in the health outcomes field.  

To ensure this research is quick and easy to share, you are welcome to save the social cards and use as you see fit. 

Balanced routines linked to better sleep and activity outcomes in adults living with rheumatoid arthritis 

Feehan L, Xie H, Lu N, Li LC.Twenty-four hour physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep profiles in adults living with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional latent class analysis.J Act, Sedentary Sleep Behav. 2024;3(1):10. doi:10.1186/s44167-024-00049-5.   

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that can lead to various health issues, including fatigue, pain, and trouble sleeping, so people with RA tend to be less active and more sedentary than those without it. Advancing Health Scientist Dr. Linda Li led a study evaluating how people with RA manage their sleep and activities throughout the day. This study included 203 people with RA. Using a method called Latent Class Analysis, participants were grouped based on their sleep and activity patterns over a 24-hour period. Four main groups were identified: 1) a balanced mix of sleep, sitting, and walking; 2) more sitting and less walking; 3) more sleeping and less walking; and 4) less sleeping and more sitting. Results showed that those who had a more balanced 24-hour routine tended to have better sleep quality, spent less time sitting, and met recommended activity guidelines. This behaviour was impacted by age, existing sitting and walking habits, and fatigue. Understanding how people with RA manage their day is crucial for providing them with the right support to improve their sleep and activity habits. This support should take into account individual factors that might make changing behaviour harder or easier, like current habits and health conditions. 

User-informed patient decision aids effectively inform abortion method decisions  

Wahl KJ, Brooks M, Trenaman L, Desjardins-Lorimer K, Bell CM, Chokmorova N, Segall R, Syring J, Williams A, Li LC, Norman WV, Munro S. User-centered development of a Patient Decision Aid for choice of early abortion method: Multi-cycle mixed methods study. J Med Internet Res. 2024;26:e48793. doi:10.2196/48793 

People seeking abortion in early pregnancy have the choice between medication and procedural options for care. The choice is preference-sensitive as there is no clinically superior option. This provides an opportunity to use patient decision aids (PtDAs), which are tools that help patients make informed decisions that align with their values. Led by Advancing Health PhD student Kate Wahl, and supported by Advancing Health Scientists Drs. Sarah Munro, Linda Li and Logan Trenaman, published a study on the development and usability of It’s My Choice, a PtDA for individuals considering abortion in Canada. To create the PtDA, researchers used a systematic approach, considering evidence on abortion decision-making and the risks and benefits of each option. They then refined the tool through interviews. A survey involving patients and health care professionals showed that the revised PtDA was user-friendly and provided the necessary information for patients to make an informed decision on their care. This study addressed the need for a tool to help people make informed decisions about abortion methods and is currently available for public use here.  

Community involvement enhances opioid use treatments and services for youth 

Turuba R, Katan C, Marchand K, Brasset C, Ewert A, Tallon C, Fairbank J, Mathias S, Barbic S. Weaving community-based participatory research and co-design to improve opioid use treatments and services for youth, caregivers, and service providers. PLOS ONE. 2024;19(4):e0297532. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0297532. 

Integrating the voices of the people who use health care services, and those who provide them, in designing and delivering those services increases their acceptability, relevance, and effectiveness. By using community-based participatory research and co-design methods, Advancing Health Scientist Dr. Skye Barbic aimed to better understand the experiences of young people who use opioids and their families and work together to come up with better solutions to improve their treatment outcomes and service experiences. As part of this study, partnerships were formed at national, provincial, and local levels to connect with young people, their families, and service providers to inform the design of opioid use treatments and services for youth. Several engagement methods were used during the co-design process, including regular working group meetings, small group discussions, individual interviews and consultations, and feedback grids. This involvement helped to create solutions which centered around the youth’s lived experiences. In this publication, two case studies were shared: 1) The co-design of a handbook to support caregivers of youth with substance use disorders in Victoria and 2) The co-design of a virtual opioid agonist therapy guide to support youth making opioid-use treatment decisions in Kelowna and Vancouver. In both case studies, evaluation surveys were completed during and after project completion to assess the co-design process. Overall, this approach not only led to practical innovations but also had a positive impact on the participants, providing a therapeutic aspect to the design process.