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Clinical in brief

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• A UK study will look at the best use of ice in treating ankle sprains. Patients presenting with sprains at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital will be invited to take part. Physiotherapist and researcher Chris Bleakley said: ‘They account for more than 5% of all admissions to A&E.’

• Two-thirds of district nurses may support assisted dying, suggests a French study of 602 DNs. ‘Nurses who frequently discussed end-of-life issues with terminal patients were more likely to be in favour of legalising euthanasia,’ the researchers said.
Journal of Medical Ethics (2007) 33: 708–711

• Clinical appropriateness of nurse prescribing can be assessed through consultation transcripts, say Southampton researchers. ‘This approach to measuring prescribing appropriateness could be used as part of quality assurance in routine practice,’ they said.
Quality and Safety in Healthcare (2007) 16: 415–421

• NHS standards are needed in A&E to identify child abuse, say UK researchers. Of 74 units 91% had protocols but they lacked consistency. ‘Minimum standards could improve management and facilitate clinical audit,’ they said.
Emergency Medicine Journal (2007) 24: 831–835

• Early steroidal treatment of Bells’ palsy improves recovery, say researchers. In an NHS assessment of nearly 500 patients, 96% who received a steroid within 72 hours of symptoms recovered full facial function after nine months.

• There are more smokers from poor than affluent areas accessing NHS cessation services and quitting, according to UK researchers. They studied data from 1.5 million smokers supported by cessation services between 2003 and 2006.
Tobacco Control (2007) 16: 400–404

• The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has issued a medical device alert for Privac pre-evacuated drainage sets with 10ch drain and 600ml drainage bottle. Manufacturing debris has been found in the sterile packaging of batches 12032007 and 07052007.

• The Association for Children’s Palliative Care has produced a free symptom control manual for nurses. It offers guidance on caring for terminally ill children in acute settings and on treating symptoms such as infections, nausea and seizures.

• Self-monitoring of foot temperature can reduce risk of diabetic ulcers, a US study suggests. Of 225 patients, half measured foot temperature twice daily with an infrared skin thermometer. They were a third less likely to develop foot ulcers than the control group.
American Journal of Medicine (2007) 120: 1042–1046

• Nurses’ role in developing critical care in England has been charted for the first time by Cheryl Crocker, a nurse researcher at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. ‘The nursing contribution is not fully acknowledged in the historical and professional literature,’ she said.
Intensive and Critical Care Nursing (2007) 23: 323–330.

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