Publications by authors named "Laura S Lorenz"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Use of Photovoice to engage stakeholders in planning for patient-centered outcomes research.

Res Involv Engagem 2019 28;5:39. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

3Visiting Scholar, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA USA.

Background: Research is needed to inform patient and provider decisions about how to best care for patients who go to the emergency department with complaints of chest pain when their symptoms are due to anxiety rather than a heart problem. However, this research may not be a high priority due, in part, to a lack of awareness for the severity of anxiety symptoms and the impact of anxiety on peoples' daily lives. In this commentary article, we highlight the use of Photovoice as a unique method to share patients' lived experience of anxiety with providers, researchers, and health system leaders.

Main Text: A brief background on Photovoice methods, the process of patient partner involvement in Photovoice, and the project's Photovoice results (posters, photos and captions) is presented.

Conclusion: Photovoice achieved its intended effects of increasing awareness of all stakeholders about the burden of anxiety in patients' lives and the imperative of improving emergency department care for anxiety. This resulted in increased participation in a multi-stakeholder research partnership, critical health system support that included costs to the health system associated with implementing interventions to be tested, and submission of a patient-centered outcomes research proposal that is currently under review. In addition, Photovoice had positive benefits for participants including a therapeutic effect, may have increased group cohesion, and empowerment of patients as partners in the research process.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
November 2019

Healthy body, healthy mind: A mixed methods study of outcomes, barriers and supports for exercise by people who have chronic moderate-to-severe acquired brain injury.

Disabil Health J 2018 Jan 24;11(1):70-78. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

School of Pharmacy, MCPHS University, Worcester, MA, USA.

Background: Few people with chronic moderate-to-severe brain injury are following recommended physical activity guidelines.

Objective: Investigate effects of planned, systematic physical activity while cultivating social and emotional well-being of people with chronic moderate-to-severe brain injury.

Hypothesis: Moderate-to-intensive physical activity would be associated with improvements in impairment and activity limitation measures (endurance, mobility, gait speed) immediately post-intervention and six weeks later (study week 12).

Methods: The intervention was a single group pre-/post-intervention study with 14 people with chronic moderate-to-severe brain injury who live in brain injury group homes and exercised 60-90 min, 3 days per week for 6 weeks at a maximum heart rate of 50-80%. Pre-post measures (administered weeks 0, 6 and 12) were the 6 Minute Walk Test, High-level Mobility Assessment Tool and 10 Meter Walk Test. The qualitative component used a brief survey and semi-structured interview guide with participants, family members, and staff.

Results: Following program completion, post-intervention group changes were noted on all outcome measures and greater than minimal detectable change for people with brain injury. Three transitioned from low to high ambulatory status and maintained this change at 12 weeks. During interviews, participants agreed the program was stimulating. More than eighty percent liked working out in a group and felt better being active.

Conclusions: Program impact included physical, cognitive and social/emotional aspects. Social aspects (group format, trainers) were highly motivating and supported by residents, family, and staff. Investments in transportation and recruiting and training interns to assist participants are critical to program sustainability and expansion.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
January 2018

Developing a Community of Practice for HIV Care: Supporting Knowledge Translation in a Regional Training Initiative.

J Contin Educ Health Prof 2017 ;37(1):27-36

Dr. Gallagher: Principle Investigator (PI), New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC), University of Massachusetts Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine, Shrewsbury, MA. Dr. Hirschhorn: Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL; and Co-PI, NEAETC, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine, Shrewsbury, MA. Dr. Lorenz: Visiting Scholar at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; and Evaluation Consultant to NEAETC, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine, Shrewsbury, MA. Dr. Piya: Data Coordinator for NEAETC, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine, Shrewsbury, MA.

Introduction: Ensuring knowledgeable, skilled HIV providers is challenged by rapid advances in the field, diversity of patients and providers, and the need to retain experienced providers while training new providers. These challenges highlight the need for education strategies, including training and clinical consultation to support translation of new knowledge to practice. New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC) provides a range of educational modalities including academic peer detailing and distance support to HIV providers in six states. We describe the interprofessional perspectives of HIV providers who participated in this regional program to understand success and areas for strengthening pedagogical modality, content, and impact on clinical practice.

Methods: This 2013 to 2014 mixed-methods study analyzed quantitative programmatic data to understand changes in training participants and modalities and used semistructured interviews with 30 HIV providers and coded for preidentified and emerging themes.

Results: Since 2010, NEAETC evolved modalities to a greater focus on active learning (case discussion, clinical consultation), decreasing didactic training by half (18-9%). This shift was designed to move from knowledge transfer to translation, and qualitative findings supported the value of active learning approaches. Providers valued interactive trainings and presentation of cases supporting knowledge translation. On-site training encouraged peer networking and sharing of lessons learned. Diversity in learning priorities across providers and sites validated NEAETC's approach of tailoring topics to local needs and encouraging regional networking.

Discussion: Tailored approaches resulted in improved provider-reported capacity, peer learning, and support. Future evaluations should explore the impact of this multipronged approach on supporting a community of practice and empowerment of provider teams.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
February 2018

Pilot study of intensive exercise on endurance, advanced mobility and gait speed in adults with chronic severe acquired brain injury.

Brain Inj 2016 28;30(10):1213-9. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

b Supportive Living Inc Research Council , Lexington , MA , USA.

Background And Purpose: Effects of high-intensity exercise on endurance, mobility and gait speed of adults with chronic moderate-to-severe acquired brain injury (ABI) were investigated. It was hypothesized that intensive exercise would be associated with improvements in impairment and activity limitation measures.

Participants: Fourteen adults with chronic ABI in supported independent living who could stand with minimal or no assist and walk with or without ambulation device were studied. Eight presented with low ambulatory status.

Methods: This was a single group pre- and post-intervention study. Participants received a 6-week exercise intervention for 60-90 minutes, 3 days/week assisted by personal trainers under physical therapist supervision. Measures (6MWT, HiMAT and 10MWT) were collected at baseline, post-intervention and 6 weeks later. Repeated measures T-test and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test were used.

Results: Post-intervention improvements were achieved on average on all three measures, greater than minimal detectable change (MDC) for this population. Three participants transitioned from low-to-high ambulatory status and maintained the change 6 weeks later.

Discussion And Conclusion: People with chronic ABI can improve endurance, demonstrate the ability to do advanced gait and improve ambulatory status with 6 weeks of intensive exercise. Challenges to sustainability of exercise programmes for this population remain.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
December 2017

Testing novel patient financial incentives to increase breast cancer screening.

Am J Manag Care 2015 Nov;21(11):771-9

Brandeis University, Institute for Behavioral Health, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, 415 South St, Mailstop 035, Waltham, MA 02454-9110. E-mail:

Objectives: To examine the effects of 3 types of low-cost financial incentives for patients, including a novel "person-centered" approach on breast cancer screening (mammogram) rates.

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial with 4 arms: 3 types of financial incentives ($15 gift card, entry into lottery for $250 gift card, and a person-centered incentive with choice of $15 gift card or lottery) and a control group. Sample included privately insured Tufts Health Plan members in Massachusetts who were women aged 42 to 69 years with no mammogram claim in ≥ 2.6 years.

Methods: A sample of 4700 eligible members were randomized to 4 study arms. The control group received a standard reminder letter and the incentive groups received a reminder letter plus an incentive offer for obtaining a mammogram within the next 4 months. Bivariate tests and multivariate logistic regression were used to assess the incentives' impact on mammogram receipt. Data were analyzed for 4427 members (after exclusions such as undeliverable mail).

Results: The percent of members receiving a mammogram during the study was 11.7% (gift card), 12.1% (lottery), 13.4% (person-centered/choice), and 11.9% (controls). Differences were not statistically significant in bivariate or multivariate full-sample analyses. In exploratory subgroup analyses of members with a mammogram during the most recent year prior to the study-defined gap, person-centered incentives were associated with a higher likelihood of mammogram receipt.

Conclusions: None of the low-cost incentives tested had a statistically significant effect on mammogram rates in the full sample. Exploratory findings for members who were more recently screened suggest that they may be more responsive to person-centered incentives.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

November 2015

There will be some changes made: A survivor perspective on post-acquired brain injury residential transition.

Brain Inj 2015 23;29(13-14):1547-53. Epub 2015 Sep 23.

d Advocates , Framingham , MA , USA.

Primary Objective: Brain injury survivors experience many transitions post-injury and it is important that they experience these in the most supportive and integrative ways possible. This study provided a group of chronic brain injury survivors the opportunity to share their insights and experience of residential transition and to suggest strategies to help maximize the transition experience and outcomes.

Research Design: This study used a qualitative design that consisted of semi-structured interviews.

Methods And Procedures: Twenty-one adults with chronic acquired brain injury residing in community-based supported group houses answered a series of scripted questions. Interviews were recorded and participant statements were transcribed and coded according to prospectively developed transition themes.

Main Outcomes And Results: Participants discussed positive and negative insights and experiences regarding residential transitions. Themes of balance between support and independence, life purpose and transition to more or less structure were frequently addressed. Participants suggested caregiver-targeted strategies to facilitate successful transitions before, during and after a move.

Conclusions: The insights and suggestions shared by this group of chronic acquired brain injury survivors add to already existing knowledge of post-injury residential transitions and strategies professional caregivers may use to maximize the ease and success of the survivor's transitional experience.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
October 2016

Using visual and narrative methods to achieve fair process in clinical care.

J Vis Exp 2011 Feb 16(48). Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Institute for Behavioral Health, Brandeis University, USA.

The Institute of Medicine has targeted patient-centeredness as an important area of quality improvement. A major dimension of patient-centeredness is respect for patient's values, preferences, and expressed needs. Yet specific approaches to gaining this understanding and translating it to quality care in the clinical setting are lacking. From a patient perspective quality is not a simple concept but is best understood in terms of five dimensions: technical outcomes; decision-making efficiency; amenities and convenience; information and emotional support; and overall patient satisfaction. Failure to consider quality from this five-pronged perspective results in a focus on medical outcomes, without considering the processes central to quality from the patient's perspective and vital to achieving good outcomes. In this paper, we argue for applying the concept of fair process in clinical settings. Fair process involves using a collaborative approach to exploring diagnostic issues and treatments with patients, explaining the rationale for decisions, setting expectations about roles and responsibilities, and implementing a core plan and ongoing evaluation. Fair process opens the door to bringing patient expertise into the clinical setting and the work of developing health care goals and strategies. This paper provides a step by step illustration of an innovative visual approach, called photovoice or photo-elicitation, to achieve fair process in clinical work with acquired brain injury survivors and others living with chronic health conditions. Applying this visual tool and methodology in the clinical setting will enhance patient-provider communication; engage patients as partners in identifying challenges, strengths, goals, and strategies; and support evaluation of progress over time. Asking patients to bring visuals of their lives into the clinical interaction can help to illuminate gaps in clinical knowledge, forge better therapeutic relationships with patients living with chronic conditions such as brain injury, and identify patient-centered goals and possibilities for healing. The process illustrated here can be used by clinicians, (primary care physicians, rehabilitation therapists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychologists, and others) working with people living with chronic conditions such as acquired brain injury, mental illness, physical disabilities, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, or post-traumatic stress, and by leaders of support groups for the types of patients described above and their family members or caregivers.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
February 2011

A way into empathy: a 'case' of photo-elicitation in illness research.

Laura S Lorenz

Health (London) 2011 May 18;15(3):259-75. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Institute for Behavioral Health, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 01752, USA.

Brain injury patients often face a lack of empathy that leads to feelings of being disrespected and powerless. This article explores the use of photo-elicitation as one way to generate empathy in research (and clinical) relationships with acquired brain injury survivors through a re-examination of the process and products of photo-elicitation research conducted several years ago. The 'case' starkly illustrates the limits of researcher empathy and analysis even as the ethics of visual methods create opportunities for participants to share research power, contest research analyses, and present an alternate view that displays health and strength as well as illness. The 'case' prompts us to remain vigilant of the ways in which our personal lenses and histories affect what we see and shape our production of knowledge. Practicing empathy by using photos to create discursive spaces in research relationships may help us to learn about ourselves as we learn with patients.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
May 2011

Discovering a new identity after brain injury.

Laura S Lorenz

Sociol Health Illn 2010 Sep 21;32(6):862-79. Epub 2010 Jun 21.

Institute for Behavioral Health, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is one example of the chronic conditions that people of varying socioeconomic status must bear. Concerns with identity and self are endemic to surviving brain injury. For this study, a brain tumour survivor injured 17 years earlier, took photographs of her life with brain injury and discussed them with other brain injury survivors and the author. Narrative analysis methods were used to analyse her photographs and interview, and generate a visual illness narrative with four photographs and their accompanying interview text. Her visual illness narrative reveals discovery of a post-brain injury identity whose multiplicity of self-definitions includes chef, brain injury survivor, gardener, and self-advocate. Study findings reveal that identity issues of importance to brain injury survivors can include (1) learning the new, post-brain injury self, and (2) building a new identity whose multiple, partial identities include (a) the new brain injured self, (b) an old self (with its residual strengths), and (c) a self who does meaningful activities (e.g. parenting, partnering, art, gardening, volunteering, helping others, or paid work). Study results suggest that using visual research methods can help to put biographical disruption such as brain injury into perspective as a life lived.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
September 2010

Involving the public through participatory visual research methods.

Health Expect 2009 Sep;12(3):262-74

Executive Education Program, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02453-2728, USA.

Objectives: To show how providing cameras to patients and community residents can be effective at involving the public in generating understanding of consumer, community, and health system problems and strengths.

Background: Health-care institutions and systems may seek to include consumer perspectives on health and health care yet be challenged to involve the most vulnerable sectors, be they persons with disabilities or persons with low socio-economic status living in societies where a top-down approach to policy is the norm.

Methods: Drawing on study examples using photo-elicitation and photovoice in Morocco and the United States, the authors explore issues of planning, data analysis, ethical concerns and action related to using participatory visual methods in different cultural and political contexts.

Results: Visual data generated by consumers can be surprising and can identify health system problems and strengths omitted from data gathered using other means. Statistical data may convince policy makers of the need to address a problem. Participant visual data may in turn encourage policy maker attention and action.

Conclusion: Health system decision making may be improved by having a broader range of data available. Participant-generated visual data may support data gathered using traditional methods, or provide a reality check when compared with data generated by organizations, researchers and policy makers. The two study examples model innovative ways to surface health and health-care issues as they relate to consumers' real lives and engage vulnerable groups in systems change, even in contexts where expressing opinions might be seen as a risky thing to do.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
September 2009