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

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


Deadly bacteria spread by hospital sinks of ‘grave concern’


Study reveals how urinary tract infections take hold

Source: Harry Moxley | UVA School of Medicine

A growing number of cases of a bloodstream infection dubbed the “nightmare bacteria” should be of increasing concern for the NHS, infection control experts have warned.

“We know the number of cases are increasing in the UK”

Neil Wigglesworth

Dr Neil Wigglesworth, president of the Infection Prevention Society and a nurse by background, said the threat posed by carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE) was of “grave concern”.

CPE refers to a group of bacteria that has acquired the ability to fight off whole classes of antibiotics, including carbapenems – seen as a last resort for serious infections resistant to all other drugs. CPE bacteria can live in the gut without causing any harm but can lead to serious infections if they get into wounds, lungs, urine or the bloodstream.

Reports of infections involving CPE bacteria have risen more than five-fold across England in the last five years. A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report said at least 81 people infected with it had died since 2009 at 66 trusts.

Infection Prevention Society

Deadly bacteria spread by hospital sinks of ‘grave concern’

Neil Wigglesworth

Poorly-designed sinks that allow contaminated water to splash back out of drains are thought to play a major role in outbreaks.

Dr Wigglesworth said: “We know the number of cases are increasing in the UK and worldwide as a result of over use and reliance on antibiotics

“Control depends on early identification though screening and preventing spread between patients through high quality infection prevention precautions, including single room isolation,” he told Nursing Times.

He added: “We encourage trusts and other healthcare providers to ensure infection prevention and control teams are adequately resourced to meet this challenge and involve them when considering structural changes – such as replacing sinks – to reduce the risk.”


More training on antibiotics urged for nurse prescribers

Unattended trolleys can lead to drug theft

Unattended trolleys can lead to drug theft

All NHS staff, but particularly those with prescribing powers, should be offered more training in the responsible use of antibiotics, according to Health Education England. The body said it was calling on employers and healthcare providers to do more to make sure their staff were well-trained in how to “combat antimicrobial resistance”.


Website to support nurses to improve inhaler standards

Education for Health

Fun film to help children use asthma inhalers effectively

Jack Blows His Own Trumpet

An interactive website has been launched with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of accurate inhaler technique among nurses and other healthcare professionals. The charity Education for Health developed the site in partnership with UK Inhaler Group, a coalition of not-for-profit organisations and professional societies. Education for Health has also launched a short film, Jack Blows His Own Trumpet, to help encourage children with asthma to use their inhalers effectively.


Silk clothing ‘offers no benefit for children with eczema’

Acute eczema seen on the trunk of 61 year old man SPL

Wearing silk clothing offers no additional benefit for children who have moderate to severe eczema, despite previous suggestions to the contrary, according to Nottingham University researchers. The study found wearing specialist silk garments did not reduce eczema severity, nor did it reduce the amount of creams and ointments used, or the number of skin infections experienced.


Exclusive: Frontline nursing staff to get new screening tool for child sexual exploitation

Child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse


A new national screening tool to help nurses screen for child sexual exploitation, which is based on prompting conversation rather than ticking boxes, is due to be unveiled later this year by NHS England. Young people have taken the lead in the Not Just A Thought project designed to help frontline professionals more easily identify those at risk of abuse. The tool is the result of research by Salford University and Pennine Acute Trust into the screening tools currently available.


Trust to ‘pimp’ walking frames to try and reduce falls

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Trust to ‘pimp’ walking frames to try and reduce falls

Chris Martin; John McLaughlin; Laura Warne and Kerry O’Neil

A colourful new programme has been launched in Kent to try and reduce falls among hospital patients who use walking frames. Since April, staff at Medway Maritime Hospital have been encouraging older people to decorate the equipment, making it more personalised, with the hope that patients will use the frames more, instead of leaving them by the bedside.


Simple nursing measures lead to fall in sepsis deaths

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trus

Norfolk hospital trust appoints director of nursing

James Paget Hospital

A series of nurse-led innovations to increase awareness of sepsis at an acute trust have seen the numbers of patients diagnosed and treated for it increase, while the mortality rate has decreased. As well as training sessions, a range of simple measures were introduced at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including stickers for patient notes, resource packs and posters. Transformation nurse Joan Pons Laplana, who joined the Norfolk trust last year, has led the drive.


Patients feeling of statin-related side effects may actually be ‘nocebo effect’

statins cholesterol drug

Patients who know they are on statins are more likely to report muscle pain and weakness than those who are unaware they are taking the drug, according to a new study. Researchers said the findings are consistent with a phenomenon known as the “nocebo” effect, where the expectation of side effects can make patients more likely to report them. The study, published in The Lancet, looked at data on side effects from a trial of about 10,000 patients from the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.


Nurse named new chair of British Menopause Society

British Menopause Society

Nurse named new chair of British Menopause Society

Kathy Abernethy

A nurse has been named as chair of the British Menopause Society for the first time since it was founded over 25 years ago. Kathy Abernethy, a senior nurse specialist who works at London’s Northwick Park Hospital in North London, will take up the role in July. The society provides education, information and guidance to healthcare professionals specialising in all aspects of post-reproductive health.


Lack of specialist nurse support for patients with incurable breast cancer

NHS 111

NHS 111

There is a “gulf” between the specialist nursing support available for patients with incurable breast cancer and that accessible for those with the primary stage of the disease, a charity has warned. Three quarters of NHS trusts and boards acknowledge there is not enough specialist nursing care for patients with incurable secondary breast cancer, according to a survey for Breast Cancer Care.

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