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PICO(T) is an acronym that helps researchers and practitioners define aspects of a potential study o

Create a 3-5-page submission in which you develop a PICO(T) question for a specific care issue and evaluate the evidence you locate, which could help to answer the question.
PICO(T) is an acronym that helps researchers and practitioners define aspects of a potential study or investigation.
It stands for:
P – Patient/population/problem.
I – Intervention.
C – Comparison (of potential interventions, typically).
O – Outcome(s).
T – Time frame (if time frame is relevant).
The end goal of applying PICO(T) is to develop a question that can help guide the search for evidence (Boswell Cannon, 2015). From this perspective, a PICO(T) question can be a valuable starting point for nurses who are starting to apply an evidence-based model or EBPs. By taking the time to precisely define the areas in which the nurse will be looking for evidence, searches become more efficient and effective. Essentially, by precisely defining the types of evidence within specific areas, the nurse will be more likely to discover relevant and useful evidence during their search.
You are encouraged to complete the Vila Health PCI(T) Process activity before you develop the plan proposal. This activity offers an opportunity to practice working through creating a PICO(T) question within the context of an issue at a Vila Health facility. These skills will be necessary to complete Assessment 3 successfully. This is for your own practice and self-assessment and demonstrates your engagement in the course.
Demonstration of Proficiency
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:
Competency 1: Interpret findings from scholarly quantitative, qualitative, and outcomes research articles and studies.
Explain the findings from articles or other sources of evidence.
Competency 2: Analyze the relevance and potential effectiveness of evidence when making a decision.
Identify sources of evidence that could be potentially effective in answering a PICO(T) question.
Explain the relevance of the findings from chosen sources of evidence to making decision related to a PICO(T) question.
Competency 3: Apply an evidence-based practice model to address a practice issue.
Define a practice issue to be explored via a PICO(T) approach.
Competency 5: Apply professional, scholarly communication strategies to lead practice changes based on evidence.
Communicate using writing that is clear, logical, and professional with correct grammar and spelling using current APA style.
Boswell, C., Cannon, S. (2015). Introduction to nursing research. Burlington, MA: Jones Bartlett Learning.
Professional Context
As a baccalaureate-prepared nurse, you will be responsible for locating and identifying credible and scholarly resources to incorporate the best available evidence for the purposes of enhancing clinical reasoning and judgement skills. When reliable and relevant evidence-based findings are utilized, patients, health care systems, and nursing practice outcomes are positively impacted.
PICO(T) is a framework that can help you structure your definition of the issue, potential approach that you are going to use, and your predictions related to the issue. Word choice is important in the PICO(T) process because different word choices for similar concepts will lead you toward different existing evidence and research studies that would help inform the development of your initial question.
For this assessment, please use an issue of interest from your current or past nursing practice.
If you do not have an issue of interest from your personal nursing practice, then review the optional Case Studies presented in the resources and select one of those as the basis for your assessment.
For this assessment, select an issue of interest an apply the PICO(T) process to define the question and research it.
Your initial goal is to define the population, intervention, comparison, and outcome. In some cases, a time frame is relevant and you should include that as well, when writing a question you can research related to your issue of interest. After you define your question, research it, and organize your initial findings, select the two sources of evidence that seem the most relevant to your question and analyze them in more depth. Specifically, interpret each source’s specific findings and best practices related to your issues, as well explain how the evidence would help you plan and make decisions related to your question.
If you need some structure to organize your initial thoughts and research, the PICOT Question and Research Template document (accessible from the “Create PICO(T) Questions” page in the Capella library’s Evidence Based Practice guide) might be helpful.
In your submission, make sure you address the following grading criteria:
Define a practice issue to be explored via a PICO(T) approach.
Identify sources of evidence that could be potentially effective in answering a PICO(T) question.
Explain the findings from articles or other sources of evidence.
Explain the relevance of the findings from chosen sources of evidence to making decision related to a PICO(T) question.
Communicate using writing that is clear, logical, and professional with correct grammar and spelling using the current APA style.
Example Assessment: You may use the following to give you an idea of what a Proficient or higher rating on the scoring guide would look like:
Assessment 3 Example [PDF].
Additional Requirements
Your assessment should meet the following requirements:
Length of submission: Create a 3–5-page submission focused on defining a research question and interpreting evidence relevant to answering it.
Number of references: Cite a minimum of four sources of scholarly or professional evidence that support your findings and considerations. Resources should be no more than 5 years old.
APA formatting: Format references and citations according to the current APA style.
Portfolio Prompt: Remember to save the final assessment to your ePortfolio so that you may refer to it as you complete the final capstone course.
Use this Word document to help you form your PICO(T) question and get started with your library research strategy.
Refer to the other boxes on this page and the “Find EBP Articles” page for additional tips and strategies.
PICOT Question and Library Search
Creating a question using the PICOT elements will provide a framework for the research you need to conduct an evidence-based study or to make an evidence-based decision.
PICOT Elements:
(P) – Population, Patients or Problem: The sample of subjects used in a study, or the problem being addressed.
(I) – Intervention: The treatment that will be provided to subjects enrolled in your study.
(C) – Comparison or Control: Identifies an alternative intervention or treatment to compare. Many study designs refer to this as the control group. If an existing treatment is considered the ‘gold standard’, then it should be the comparison group. A control group is not required for every type of study.
(O) – Outcome: The clinical outcome that measures the effectiveness of the intervention.
(T) – Time: Duration of the data collection. Some versions don’t include this element, and time may not be specified in cases where the question is focused on prediction or diagnoses.
PICOT Question Formats:
Intervention: In _______ (P), how does _______ (I) compared to _______ (C) affect _______ (O) within _______ (T)?
Prognosis/Prediction: In _______ (P), how does _______ (I) compared to _______ (C) influence/predict _______ (O) over _______ (T)?
Diagnosis or Diagnostic test: In _______ (P) are/is _______ (I) compared to _______ (C) more accurate in diagnosing _______ (O)?
Etiology: Are _______ (P), who have _______ (I) compared to those without _______ (C) at _______ risk for/of _______ (O) over _______ (T)?
Meaning: How do_______ (P) with _______ (I) perceive _______ (O) during _______ (T)?
Example PICOT Questions:
In acute care hospitals (P), how does having a rapid response team (I) compared with not having a response team (C) affect the number of cardiac arrests (O) during a three-month period (T)?
In women with gestational diabetes (P), how does a monitored diet and exercise program over the course of pregnancy (I &T), compared to the use of metformin only (C) reduce the incidence of high birth weight babies(O)?
In patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction (P), how well does the hospital’s new data model created from EMR data (I) compared to current practices (C) predict readmission rates (O) within 30 days after initial discharge (T)?
For patients of a rural health clinic (P), does the use of text message reminders (I), compared with telephone calls (C) reduce the number of missed appointments (O) over a six month period (T)?
Melnyk, B.M., Fineout-Overholt, E., Stillwell, S. & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence-Based Practice: Step by Step: The Seven Steps of Evidence-Based Practice. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 110, 51-53.
Posing the research question: Not so simple
To make your case, start with a PICOT question
What is your research question? An introduction to the PICOT format for clinicians.
Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2015). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. (Not in library)
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Subjects: Nursing & Health Sciences
Tags: administration, health_services, nursing, publichealth
Using a PICO(T) Framework and Evidence to Develop Care Practices
Learner’s Name
Capella University
NURS-FPX4030: Making Evidence-Based Decisions
Instructor Name
August, 2020
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
Using a PICO(T) Framework and Evidence to Develop Care Practices
When developing care practices for patients, the PICO(T) research framework, which
expands to Population/Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Time, can be used to
create an effective care plan and ensure that patients’ needs are met. Relying on secondary
research, the author of this paper will define a practice issue surrounding patients with dementia,
apply the PICO(T) process, identify sources of evidence that may provide answers to the
research question, explain key findings from articles, and explain the relevance of those key
Use of the PICO(T) Approach when Caring for Patients with Dementia
The practice issue identified for resolution is the need to develop care practices that
effectively manage agitation in patients with dementia in nursing homes that are outside of
pharmacological approaches. The question being explored is: Is the non-pharmacological
approach, specifically an intervention approach, more effective than the pharmacological
approach in managing behavioral symptoms (such as agitation) in patients with dementia?
The intervention approach identified is person-centered care or patient-centered care
(PCC), an approach that emphasizes more on an individual’s experiences and the communication
of his or her needs than on the pure implementation of a health care provider’s expertise (Desai,
et al., 2017). The population being studied are patients with dementia with agitative behavioral
symptoms in nursing homes. As the objective is to explore care practices that address this issue,
only factors related to care in nursing homes are considered. The study does not take into
consideration cultural, political, and social factors (Kim & Park, 2017).
Identification of Sources of Evidence
DICE Model
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
The DICE (Describe, Investigate, Create, and Evaluate) model is a notable PCC
intervention model that identifies optimal treatment options for patients with dementia with
neuropsychiatric symptoms. Developed by a panel of interdisciplinary experts at the University
of Michigan Program for Positive Aging, the model is constitutive of a four-step approach. The
first step of the approach is the accurate description of the patient’s behavior, the second is the
identification of possible underlying causes, the third is the creation and implementation of
treatment plans, and the fourth is the assessment of the strategies developed (Desai et al., 2017;
Kales et al., 2014).
The model’s essential recommendations for facilitating improvement in neuropsychiatric
symptoms among patients with dementia are educating the caregiver; forging better
communication between the patient and the caregiver; assisting the caregiver in organizing
meaningful activities such as cooking, painting, or reading depending on the patient’s interests;
and training the caregiver on simplifying his or her work routines (Desai et al., 2017; Kales et al.,
Individualized Intervention Model
The individualized intervention model is a model in which intervention activities are carried
out based on the history, needs, abilities, and preferences of patients with dementia. In this
model, PCC-based activities are directly carried out by trained health care staff with expertise in
social work, recreational therapy, geriatric psychiatry, and psychology (Kim & Park, 2017).
Care Staff-Directed Model
In the care staff–directed model, PCC activities are based on the staff’s education and
training on empathy and person-centeredness. The model also makes a provision for offering
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
staff regular feedback for their work. The intervention period in such a model ranges from 3
months to 2 years (Kim & Park, 2017).
Findings from Articles
As PCC is a major nonpharmacological approach to treating agitation in patients with
dementia, its effectiveness is studied by making a comparative analysis to the pharmacological
approach to manage behavioral symptoms in patients with dementia. Pharmacological treatment
in general refers to the use of psychotropic medication to manage agitation or neuropsychotic
symptoms (NPS) in patients with dementia (Madhusoodanan & Ting, 2014; Kales et al., 2014).
Some of the common pharmacological interventions include the use of antipsychotropics,
antidepressants such as sertraline and citalopram, and sedative-hypnotics through the use of
benzodiazepines to control acute agitation (Madhusoodanan & Ting, 2014). The use of
psychotropic medication poses high risks of mortality and harmful side effects (Kales et al.,
2014). Psychotropic medication is also expensive and is restricted by regulatory bodies.
However, the use of pharmacological intervention is justified when the benefits outweigh the
risks or in situations wherein nonpharmacological interventions have proven unsuccessful
(Madhusoodanan & Ting, 2014).
The PCC approach has proven effective in addressing the etiology of aggressive
outbursts. Unlike the pharmacological approach, which is based on treating symptoms, the PCC
approach contributes to the resolution of underlying causes (Desai et al., 2017). The study by
Kales et al. (2014) finds reasonable evidence of the DICE program’s contribution toward better
clinical practices and improvement in aggressive behavior, and it observes that the approach
results in fewer hospitalizations and readmissions. In their systematic review and meta-analysis
of 19 primary studies, Kim and Park (2017) found 15 studies that measure the impact of PCC on
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
agitation using the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (an agitation mapping instrument) and
the Brief Agitation Rating Scale. They found that 8 of the 15 studies show positive effects on
agitation with individualized interventions (with a significant mean difference of -0.513),
showing better effects than with care staff–directed interventions (with a significant mean
difference of -0.160).
As this paper relies on secondary research on the PCC intervention to manage agitative
behavior in patients with dementia in nursing homes, there are multiple time frames for the
various intervention studies reviewed. While some studies had a long intervention period ranging
from 9 months to 2 years, others had shorter intervention periods of just a few weeks. From the
above exploration of the research problem based on the PICO(T) framework, it is clear that this
framework has contributed to the delineation of precise intervention practices and has brought
conceptual clarity on the issue of agitative behavior in patients with dementia.
Relevance of Findings from Articles
The study by Kales et al. (2014) was chosen as it provides a comprehensive explanation
of the PCC-based DICE intervention program and its potential outcomes and draws an objective
comparison of the program with pharmacological intervention. The study observed that the
DICE model was developed by a panel of experts with years of clinical and research expertise in
managing NPS in patients with dementia. The strategies formulated in the DICE approach were
found to carry a strong evidence base. As it is evidence-informed, the DICE approach could be
helpful for clinicians across diverse settings. Kales et al. (2014) conclude their study with a
discussion on the potential of the DICE approach in enhancing clinical practices and ensuring the
treatment of agitative behavior in patients with dementia.
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.
The rationale for selecting the study by Kim and Park (2017) was that it presents a
systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 primary intervention studies, of which 17 studies are
from long-term care facilities. In their systematic review and meta-analysis of these studies, Kim
and Park (2017) found that PCC has a significant impact on reducing NPS in patients with
dementia. Kim and Park’s (2017) review found the increased engagement between care
providers and patients and the magnitude of the program’s intensity to be the reasons for shortterm PCC intervention having greater benefits in comparison to long-term intervention. The
findings are relevant because they are based on 17 long-term, clinical PCC intervention studies
comprising both controlled and non-controlled cluster-randomized trials conducted over the past
10 years (Kim & Park, 2017).
Kim & Park’s findings prove to be the most credible. In their systematic review and
meta-analysis of primary studies, Kim and Park’s findings (2017) adhere to the guidelines of the
Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. They also utilize analysis
tools such as the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias and the risk of bias assessment tool to
ensure quality screening of the studies.
There is a need to develop care practices that are outside of pharmacological approaches
for managing agitation in patients with dementia. The PICO(T) framework was applied to
determine if the intervention approach of person-centered care or patient-centered care (PCC)
was more effective than the pharmacological approach by identifying sources of evidence,
explaining the findings and proving the relevance of those findings. The articles by Kales et al.
(2014) and Kim and Park (2017), provide precise, reliable, and relevant information to
adequately explore the effectiveness of the PCC approach.
Copyright ©2019 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited


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