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Putting it into practice

All posts from: December 2011

How can perinatal support help to protect maternal mental health?

19 December, 2011 Posted by: -

Key points

  1. One in six mothers is affected by perinatal mental health issues and stress
  2. Early intervention is crucial to better relationships and child development
  3. The Family Action perinatal support project complements the health visitor role
  4. Volunteer befrienders can reduce anxiety and depression and improve mother-baby bonding
  5. This approach is a cost-effective way to improve perinatal mental health

Let’s discuss

  • How does stress and mental health problems during pregnancy and after child birth affect
    the relationship between the mother and child?
  • What interventions can be used to ensure healthy attachment between the mother and
  • If women feel depressed or unable to cope, what barriers prevent women asking for help?
  • How can befriending scheme help support women during pregnancy and childbirth?


How do you measure standards of care in your ward or department?

12 December, 2011 Posted by: -

  • Article: Moore C, Childs L (2011) A tool to identify falling care quality. Nursing Times; 107: 49/50, 14-16.
  • Author: Carolyn Moore is an independent consultant and former director of nursing, who worked on the QuESTT tool, coordinating its development on behalf of NHS South West and directors of nursing across the region; Liz Childs is director of nursing and governance and deputy chief executive, South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust; she was project director.

After the publication of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Inquiry (2010), the authors of this article set out to ensure that such failures at ward level could not happen in hospitals in the South West. They wanted to find a simple, robust and accurate way of determining whether falling standards at individual ward level could be predicted and acted on before they happened.

Key points

  1. It is crucial to systematically question the quality and standards of care
  2. The best hospitals monitor standards on a ward by ward basis
  3. The QuESTT tool is effective in identifying the potential for falling standards in care given by a clinical or ward team
  4. Ward leaders know how they are doing and can provide robust and reliable information from ward to board
  5. Peer review is a critical part of the validation process

Let’s discuss

  • How do you measure standards of care in your ward or department?
  • How are the results of these measures fed back to staff?
  • How are they used to review and change practice?
  • Do staff have ownership of this information? If not how could this be improved?
  • How could the Quality, Effectiveness and Safety Trigger Tool (QuESTT) described in this article be used in your clinical area?

How do you broach sexual health issues with patients?

6 December, 2011 Posted by: -

  • Article: Bates J (2011) Broaching sexual health issues with patients. Nursing Times; 107: 48, 20-22.
  • Author: Joanne Bates is senior lecturer, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, University of Chester, Chester.

Follow the debate on Twitter #NTjournalclub

Key points

  1. Consider patients’ sexual health needs as part of a holistic approach to care
  2. Be aware of your own assumptions, beliefs and values
  3. Use neutral language such as “your partner”
  4. Consider using the Ex-PLISSIT model of intervention to help open up discussions about sexual health with patients
  5. Refer patients on for expert help if necessary

Let’s discuss

Think about your own attitudes towards sexual health and your patients and consider:

  • Do you find it difficult to talk about sex? If so, think about why.
  • Do you assume your patients are heterosexual?
  • Do you make assumptions about the sexual behaviour of your patients? For example, do you think that because they have a long-term illness they are not interested in expressing their sexuality or in having sexual contact?
  • If you know a patient’s sexuality, do you make assumptions about how they behave?
  • Do you currently consider your patients’ sexuality and/or sexual health needs and if so how?


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