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In this issue of JAN, we introduce a new feature, reporting of data from an international longitudinal project. The project is the LPZ project (http://www.lpz-um.eu/), which is based at Maastricht University (http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/) in the Netherlands and run from the School for Public Health and Primary Care (http://www.caphri.nl/) in the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences. The project is led by Ruud Halfens (http://www.caphri.nl/page_person.aspx?id=37&persid=143) and involves a large team of academics, clinicians and doctoral research staff. Covering The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand, the LPZ project is, primarily, an international survey of pressure ulcer prevalence in care homes and hospitals, although it now includes a survey of restraint, falls, incontinence, malnutrition and intertrigo (inflammation of adjacent areas of skin). As such, this is a unique project and the way it is sustained is even more unique: the participating organizations pay to have the survey conducted on their premises and the annual information provides them with a useful ‘barometer’ of effectiveness in some essential aspects of the care of people in nursing and residential homes and other care environments. The study (van Nie-Visser et al. 2013) uses no intervention as such – unless the survey is considered to be an intervention – yet for some low grades of pressure ulcer in The Netherlands, an annual reduction in prevalence is observed. Naturally, without a controlled intervention study, attributing an effect on pressure ulcer prevalence to the cause is not possible. Nevertheless, it is eminently possible that a Hawthorne effect is at work, whereby raising the profile of specific care problems could be having an effect on the prevalence of those care problems. This phenomenon is certainly worth investigating.

Why publish these data?

  1. Top of page
  2. Why publish these data?
  3. References

Apart from the fact that there are other examples of journals publishing such reports, I was drawn to this project through my frequent contact with colleagues at Maastricht and it struck me as being unique, ambitious and potentially one of the most useful data sets related to nursing homes and residential homes and other care environments. I am happy to associate JAN with the project. In addition, the LPZ team will provide a link to the JAN report (Halfens et al. 2013) on their website, I hope that this will help to publicize the work further, thereby disseminating the data and also potentially recruiting more countries and organizations to the project.

The project represents a departure for JAN in another way. The LPZ team were invited by me, with the agreement of my colleagues at Wiley-Blackwell, to submit these papers with a view to publication. Therefore, although advice was taken on aspects of the data and subsequent limitations were pointed out and included in the papers, this process was overseen by an experienced editor, but did not include the usual double-blind peer review to which our papers are normally subject. I also made an exception in publishing the protocol as it did not meet our usual criteria of being peer reviewed by an external funder, as no funding was received to undertake this work. This does not mean that the protocol, the data and the process I describe cannot be open to further comment and criticism in the pages of JAN, and the JAN Forum is an ideal place for such correspondence. I hope that you find the LPZ project data interesting and useful and I am sure that the team will have no objections to being contacted for further information. I would also like to take this opportunity to indicate that we would like to consider publishing other similar data of relevance to nursing.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Why publish these data?
  3. References
  • Halfens R.J.G., Meesterberends E., Nie-Visser N.C. van, Lohrmann C., Schönherr S., Meijers J.M.M., Hahn S., Vangelooven C. & Schols J.M.G.A. (2013) International prevalence measurement of care problems. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69, e5e17.
  • Nie-Visser N.C. van, Halfens R.J.G., Meesterberends E., Lohrmann C., Meijers J.M.M. & Schols J.M.G.A. (2013) An international prevalence measurement of care problems: study protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69, e18e29.