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

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


Enteral feeding device roll-out ‘disjointed’, say nurse specialists

ENFit connector

ENFit connector

Nutrition nurse specialists say they have seen a surge in emergency call-outs because of problems related to the “disjointed” roll-out of new enteral feeding devices.

“The information they were given was so far in advance that they had forgotten

Hazel Jackson

They say delays in the availability of new ENFit equipment, difficulties in getting hold of different parts and adaptors, and an overall lack of information has caused a dramatic increase in their workload as patients and carers struggle to make use of the new devices.

The ENFit system – designed to address safety concerns related to the connectors on enteral feeding devices – has been introduced worldwide following the launch of new standards by the International Organization for Standardization.

In the UK, the transition to the new system – which was designed to be a phased introduction - started in October 2015.

However, community nutrition nurses in Hampshire, who were due to present a poster on their experiences at the annual conference of the National Nutrition Nurses Group (NNNG) in July, told Nursing Times they had been beset with problems.

A “huge gap” between new giving sets and new syringes becoming available, as well as problems getting hold of new ends for tubing, had led to confusion among patients and meant nurses had been rushed of their feet trying to resolve issues, said community nutrition nurse specialist Hazel Jackson, from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“The information they were given was so far in advance that they had forgotten so they then weren’t able to use them and therefore couldn’t feed or get their medication,” she said.

The roll-out of ENFit in the UK has been spearheaded by the Enteral Plastic Safety Group (EPSG), which represents leading UK enteral feeding device suppliers.

Barbara Dovaston of the NNNG – one of the clinical representatives on the EPSG – said she was aware nurses on the ground were experiencing problems and admitted she was frustrated by the way the process had been handled.

However, feeding device suppliers maintain they have worked hard over a three-year period to ensure the roll-out went as smoothly as possible involving “extensive communication” with the NHS, industry partners, healthcare professionals and patients.

“We continue to work with our NHS partners including nursing teams, to complete the transition to the new safer ENFit system for all patients in their care, and when the process is complete to the satisfaction of healthcare professionals, the loose adaptors will be discontinued,” said the EPSG in a statement.


Cool water effective at removing germs

Glasgow Caledonian University

Six-step hand-washing technique ‘most effective’

Cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as hot, according to small study on handwashing. In the study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, high levels of a harmless bacteria were put on the hands of 21 participants multiple times over a six-month period. Water temperature as high as 38°C and as low as 15°C did not have a significant effect on the reduction of bacteria during hand washing, said the US researchers.


Beta-blockers could increase falls risk

old man stick falls hand3

Taking certain types of beta-blocker drug could increase older patients’ risk of falling, according to researchers who say their findings have important implications for prescribers. Their analysis, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, looked at data from two studies including more than 10,000 people aged 55 or over. They found older adults using non-selective beta-blockers may be at greater risk of falling, compared to those on selective beta-blocker drugs.


RCN’s first protocol for animal therapy

Horse kiss

Horse kiss

The Royal College of Nursing has announced that it will create the first ever nationwide protocol for animals in healthcare in a bid to encourage more hospitals to explore the therapy area. The protocol will provide an evidence based-best practice criteria so that hospitals and other healthcare settings can introduce animals into the care environment. The college said it planned to launch its proposed new protocol later this year.


Most A&Es fail on alcohol screening

University College London Hospital

Pressure on English A&E departments reaches ‘record high’

Nearly nine of out of 10 accident and emergency departments are failing to screen young people for alcohol problems, suggests a survey by Surrey University. The research, published in the Emergency Medical Journal, found over 85% of 147 A&Es did not routinely ask young people about alcohol consumption or use formal screening tools, on contravention of National Institute for Health and Care guidelines. Lead author Dr Robert Patton said: “Sometimes involvement from a healthcare professional is what is required to support people in reducing their alcohol consumption.”


Home visit nurses freeing up general practice appointments

District community nurse home visit carer

District community nurse home visit carer

A five-month pilot scheme is providing faster treatment to patients who need a home visit in part of Hampshire. Launched in early May, the new acute home visiting service involves a GP or nurse visiting the homes of patients who are considered to be too ill or infirm to travel to their general practice. The service has also helped free up 200 vital appointments in just one month at the four participating practices, said Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group.


Psoriasis nurse of the year named


Boost in access to new treatments for psoriasis

Psoriasis on the back

Zahira Koreja, an advanced nurse practitioner at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, has won the Psoriasis Nurse of the Year Award for 2017. It was presented to her at the British Dermatological Nursing Group’s annual conference in Belfast last month. She stood out, the judges said, due to her dedication, compassion, and the support she provided to patients. The dermatology outpatients team at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust was named Team of the Year.


Older patients more likely to under-report pain after operations

Elderly woman in bed

Hospitals are under pressure from rising numbers of emergency admissions, particularly among frail elderly patients

Measuring functional impairment might be a better tool for postoperative pain assessment in older patients than asking them about it, according to German researchers. Previous studies had suggested older people were better able tolerate pain. But they found pain-related impact on physical function did not decline, suggesting older patients were experiencing pain but not admitting to it.


Charity releases ’easy-read’ booklets

Marie Curie

End of life care guides for people with learning disabilities

Easy-read booklets written by Marie Curie

Marie Curie has launched a series of easy-read booklets to help people with a learning difficulty to discuss concerns about death and dying, and to better understand end of life care. The charity noted that those with a learning difficulty faced “particular challenges” if they, or someone close to them, came to need palliative and end of life care. As a result, the charity said it had translated its most popular information into easy-read formats that were “stripped right back to include crucial points only”.


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