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

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


Infection control guidance issued for emerging fungal threat

infection control washing cleaning mop floor

infection control washing cleaning mop floor

Updated guidance has been published on the management and prevention of an emerging fungal pathogen in hospitals and community settings, following an increasing number of cases in the UK.

“The outbreaks reinforce the importance of rigorous infection prevention and control practices”

Neil Wigglesworth

Public Health England has issued updated guidance on tackling Candida auris for healthcare providers and clinicians, as well as a separate document aimed at community care settings.

C. auris first appeared in Japan in 2009 but has subsequently spread across the globe. By the end of July, 55 hospitals in the UK had treated patients with the infection.

It is a pathogenic yeast species reported to cause bloodstream infections, wound infections, and otitis, which appears to have a “propensity for transmission between hospital patients”, said PHE, adding that it had mostly been identified in patients in high dependency settings.

All affected patients should be isolated in a single room with en-suite facilities, wherever possible, with clinicians strictly adhering to standard infection control precautions. Once the patient had left the room or area, PHE said a “terminal clean” should be undertaken using a chlorine-based agent.

neil wigglesworth

neil wigglesworth

Neil Wigglesworth

Meanwhile, the guidance for community care settings said staff should take “particular care” when undertaking dressings, and managing or changing urinary catheters and other devices.

A discharging wound should be secured with an impermeable dressing and any environmental contamination, from the wound or other body fluids, cleaned “immediately”.

Dr Neil Wigglesworth, president of the Infection Prevention Society, said: “The outbreaks reinforce the importance of rigorous infection prevention and control practices to help prevent further occurrences.”


Scrubs with antimicrobial properties ‘do not cut contamination’

MRSA is a relatively common feature of many surgical site infections

MRSA is a relatively common feature of many surgical site infections

Wearing scrubs with antimicrobial properties does not prevent bacterial contamination from occurring, according to a US study. Researchers followed 40 nurses who wore three types of scrubs – traditional cotton-polyester, containing silver-alloy embedded in fibres, or treated with a combination of antibacterial materials – over three consecutive 12-hour shifts. However, they found no differences in contamination levels between the type of scrubs worn.


Cartoon signs help patients to ‘improve nurse hand hygiene’

Dr Allison Lastinger

Fun signs help patients to ‘improve nurse hand hygiene’

Source: West Virginia University

Using simple paddle signs, patients and parents can feel empowered to remind clinicians to perform hand hygiene and successfully improve compliance rates, according to researchers. Patients at a US hospital were given cartoon-styled paddles to remind clinicians to clean their hands. They found 64% of patients thought the tool made them feel more in control of their care.


Older cancer patients disagree with their carers on capability

Older cancer patients and their carers often differ in their assessment of physical ability, with caregivers generally rating the patient’s physical function as poorer, according to researches. Their study, published in The Oncologist, also found that differences were associated with greater care burden. As a result, the researchers said clinicians should consider assessing carer burden in those who report that the patient is more dependent than the patient actually does themselves.


Female HCAs at ‘slightly higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis’


New device approved to help rheumatology patients

Source: James Heilman, MD

Severe rheumatoid arthritis

Being a healthcare assistant may put women at slightly higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a Swedish study has suggested. Among 28 different female occupations, researchers found assistant nurses were the only group significantly associated with rheumatoid arthritis. “Nurses, on the other hand, had no increased risk,” said the researchers in Arthritis Care & Research.


Nurses hoping to encourage staff flu jabs with new game

Focus Games Ltd

Nurses hoping to encourage staff flu jabs with new game

Screen grabs from the Flu Bee game

Nurse innovators at James Paget Hospitals Foundation Trust are hoping to create a “buzz” about flu vaccination this winter with a new online game that will be the centrepiece of its staff vaccination campaign this year. The Flu Bee game involves answering questions about flu and vaccination, and sees players attempt to build a honeycomb path while trying to dodge “nasty flu bugs”.


Seated upper body exercises ‘could reduce diabetes risk’



Breaking up long periods of restful sitting with short, frequent bouts of simple seated arm exercises can benefit obese patients at high risk of type 2 diabetes, according to researchers in Leicester. The 13 participants were checked after a 7.5-hour period of prolonged sitting only, and one of sitting interspersed with five minutes of seated arm ergometry – using table-top arm cranks – every 30 minutes. The authors found that blood glucose levels after meals reduced by around 57% when participants completed the exercises, compared to when meals were followed by inactivity.


Just 11 mins mindfulness training helps drinkers cut back


Brief training in mindfulness strategies – that involve focusing on what is happening in the present moment – could help heavy drinkers start to cut back on alcohol consumption, according to researchers at University College London. After an 11-minute training session and encouragement to continue practising mindfulness, heavy drinkers drank less over the next week than people who were taught relaxation techniques. The mindfulness group drank 9.3 fewer units of alcohol – around three pints of beer. The study involved 68 participants, who drank heavily but not to the point of having an alcohol use disorder.



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