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Manual aids paediatric terminal care

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Nurses can now access a new edition of a manual designed to help them treat children who have life-limiting conditions

Victoria thompson

The updated manual, which is produced annually by the Association for Children’s Palliative Care (ACT), includes new chapters on neonatology, paediatric emergencies, fluid and electrolyte balance, and where to find additional help.
It has been written to give nursing staff in specialised units and the community an understanding of the basis of symptom control in paediatric palliative care and is designed to provide more practical support and hands-on clinical information.
Zoe Wilks, nurse consultant for children in palliative care at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, said she used the manual ‘religiously’.
‘[It] gives me direct access to doctors’ advice on the treatment of specific symptoms. In many cases this reduces the number of hospital admissions and improves the child’s quality of life,’ she said.
‘For many nurses it is the only resource that provides comprehensive guidelines for treating a wide range of symptoms – almost like troubleshooting,’ she added.
Editor Sat Jassal said that the manual contained a number of key messages for nurses including the importance of not becoming too emotionally involved.
‘Many nurses get personally attached and burn out emotionally. This will be of little benefit for the next family they have to look after. Remember to retain a sensitive professional distance,’ he said.
The manual can also be used by parents who care for a child with a terminal illness at home.
Basic Symptom Control in Paediatric Palliative Care is available at www.act.org.uk

Nurses’ big win
t Three specialist nurses have been announced as winners of the Colitis and Crohn’s Nursing Award 2007.
Sue Surgenor, gastro-enterology nurse specialist at the Poole Hospital NHS Trust, won first prize – a £1,000 training bursary, awarded by the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
Runners-up Mary Brennan, paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) specialist nurse at the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, and Vikki Garrick, paediatric IBD specialist nurse at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow, received £400.
A toolkit for healthcare professionals that provides information on care for families with disabled children has been produced by a UK charity.
The guide, Promoting Self Care, provides information for families with children who have disabilities or rare conditions. It has been created by Contact a Family and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
Jill Harrison, Contact a Family’s external affairs director, said: ‘Good information empowers parents of children with a disability or rare condition and helps them cope with the challenges they face. Without information, the entire family’s health and well-being suffers.’
Chris Verity, vice president of education at RCPCH, said: ‘This toolkit will enable healthcare professionals to meet their patients’ needs and provide the best information to families whose children have
a long-term health condition or disability.’
For a copy of the guide email ops.admin@cafamily.org.uk

Toolkit aims to empower families of children with a disability
Mental health nurses can learn about new career paths and role development at an NT conference on 7 February 2008. Transforming Values into Action looks at changes resulting from developments such as the CNO review of mental health nursing and the Mental Health Act. www.nt-mentalhealthnursing.co.uk


In brief
Nurses have the chance to air their views on the profession’s future structure. The NMC and DH are consulting on pre- and post-registration training. The consultations close on 8 and 15 February respectively. www.nmc-uk.org, www.dh.gov.uk

The American Academy of Nursing has appointed its first UK fellow. Roger Watson, the director of research at Sheffield University’s school of nursing and midwifery, is one of the first three nurse leaders from outside the US to be inducted into the academy.

A new £25m Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology has opened at Queen’s University Belfast. It will house over 300 worldwide researchers and forge key partnerships with similar overseas centres.

A nurse lecturer in Coventry University’s nursing, midwifery and healthcare department has had a new book on mentoring and supervision published. Neil Gopee said it would be a core text for those doing mentor preparation courses in nursing and midwifery.

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