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Clinical news summary: Top nurse research and practice stories from January 2017

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Miss any of the clinical and practice news affecting the profession during January 2017? Catch up with our summary of the main study headlines and clinical breakthroughs.

NICE says nurses should routinely ask older patients about falls

Older people should be asked about falls when they have routine assessments and reviews with health and social care practitioners, and if they present at hospital, states updated guidance. Those found to be at risk of falling should be offered a multi-factorial falls risk assessment and those assessed as being at increased risk given an individualised multi-factorial intervention, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s quality standard on falls prevention in older people, which updates the original version from 2015.

old man stick falls hand3

Professor Cameron Swift, from King’s College London School of Medicine and a NICE specialist committee member, said: “We recognise that regular questions about falls may seem intrusive or repetitive, but older people often think episodes of falling or unsteadiness unimportant, or that to raise them could threaten future independence.” The revised quality standard echoes a joint statement on falls reduction recently published by the National Falls Prevention Coordination Group, which includes Public Health England and the Royal College of Nursing.

Older people coming into contact with nurses and other health professionals should be asked “routinely” about falls, said the falls and fracture consensus statement. Meanwhile, a new tool for hospital nurses and other professionals to quickly assess a patient’s eyesight and help prevent them from falling has also been launched at NHS trusts and local health boards in England and Wales.


Nurses design bra to aid recovery from heart surgery

Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

Nurses design bra to aid recovery from heart surgery

BHIS postoperative bra

A special bra has been designed by specialist nurses at Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust to help improve wound healing in women recovering from cardiac surgery. It is made in a wider range of sizes as a solution for patients who experience trouble with their wounds healing and required more comfort after their surgery. Melissa Rochon, a clinical nurse specialist in surveillance, worked with colleagues and the medical manufacturer CUI on the creation of the bra.


Current cleaning techniques ‘prove insufficient’ for flexible endoscopes

Ofstead and Associates

Concerns raised over infection risk from endoscopes

Source: Benutzer:Kalumet

A flexible endoscope

Techniques used to clean endoscopes for reuse are not consistently effective, according to US infection control experts. They said their study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, supported the need for careful visual inspection and verification tests to ensure endoscopes were free of damage and debris before being used on another patient. Meanwhile, Health Education England has said an accelerated training programme for nurses on endoscopy procedures is to be expanded this year, following a successful pilot.


One in 10 women experience painful sex that may be linked to other health problems


Healthcare professionals need more support in broaching the topic of dyspareunia – or painful sex – say researchers, who found nearly one in 10 of UK women were experiencing it. The third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, the largest scientific study of its kind in Britain, found that, among 6,669 women who were sexually active in the past year, 7.5% reported painful sex.


Hospital delirium may increase risk of developing dementia

Elderly man

Elderly man

Elderly man

Older patients who experience delirium while in hospital may subsequently be at greater risk of developing dementia, according to researchers from University College London and Cambridge University. They noted that acute confusion and disorientation affected a quarter of older people while in hospital and believe their study, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry,, is the first to show the multiplying effects of delirium and dementia in such patients.


Yoga ‘may’ aid patients with chronic non-specific lower back pain



Yoga may have health benefits for patients with chronic non-specific lower back pain, though the evidence is limited, according to a Cochrane review. The systematic review suggests that yoga may lead to a reduction in pain and boost functional ability in those with chronic non-specific lower back pain in the short term, compared with no exercise.


Robots could ‘revolutionise’ care of older patients

Softbank Robotics

Middlesex University London

Pepper the robot

Care for older patients could be revolutionised through a pioneering international study to build culturally aware robots, according to nurse researchers involved with the scheme. The three-year project, including Middlesex University London and the University of Bedfordshire, is aiming to develop and evaluate a robot capable of reminding an individual to take their medication, do physical exercise, or raising the alarm in emergencies. It will be based on the existing “Pepper” robot made by robotics company Softbank.

Robots could ‘revolutionise’ care of older patients


Parents able to become care ‘experts’ with nurse help


Nurses warn of ‘postcode lottery’ in specialist paediatrics

WellChild nurse

Specialist nurses are vital in helping the parents of young patients with complex conditions to become experts themselves in managing their children’s care needs, say community nursing researchers. A new report, published by charity Wellchild, has revealed the findings from pioneering research into the issues facing parents caring 24/7 for children with complex care needs when accessing support out of hours.


Cancer nurses asked to distribute personalised patient information packs


Tailored information packs for blood cancer patients

Cancer nurses distribute patient information packs

Nurses are being encouraged to distribute personalised information packs to blood cancer patients, which will allow them to collate and store all of their illness specific information within a personalised folder. The folder will accompany a diary for them to record their thoughts and feelings, and a contact card for their nurse specialist, said charity Bloodwise.

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