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Clinical news summary: Top nurse research and practice stories from April 2018

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Miss any of the clinical and practice news affecting the profession during April 2018? Catch up with our summary of the main study headlines and clinical breakthroughs.


Nurse-filled IV pumps make ‘phenomenal difference to patients’

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Hospital at Home Team

Hospital at Home team at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Nursing staff who are pioneering the use of 24-hour “nurse-filled” antibiotic pumps say the innovative approach has transformed the lives of patients and saved tens of thousands of pounds.

“It has made a phenomenal difference to the patients, who absolutely love it”

Gemma Oliver

The idea is being pioneered in the NHS by nurses at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust.

Previously patients who needed certain IV antibiotics faced hospital stays of up to six weeks but the new approach means they are able to return home almost immediately with a once-a-day visit from the trust’s Hospital at Home team.

The service costs about £70 per patient per day compared with an estimated £250 per person per night for staying in hospital. It has saved the trust more than £1.7m during 2016-17 alone.

Gemma Oliver, nurse consultant in IV care and senior surgical matron, came up with the idea of preparing bespoke pumps with a pharmacist colleague.

“It has had a massive impact on cost, travel and nursing intervention time”

Gemma Oliver

She said: “The drugs that we put into the pumps are flucoxacillin, tazocin and ceftazidime, so it is basically anybody who requires those antibiotics.

Previously, they would be on four-times-day antibiotics, but we just fill the pump with one day’s worth, attach it to the patient and send them home.

“It has made a phenomenal difference to the patients, who absolutely love it, because otherwise they would in hospital potentially for six weeks,” she said:

“We have around 25 patients out at any one time on these regimes who would otherwise be in hospital and it has had a massive impact on cost, travel and nursing intervention time,” she added.


Infection control boost when managers regularly meet frontline

NHS Improvement

Nurses told to use A&E checklist to ‘ensure safety over winter’

Regular “leadership rounds” where senior hospital managers meet frontline nursing staff to discuss infection control, can help improve practice and boost patient safety. A US study found short meetings led by senior managers and attended by nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and some frontline staff enabled and encouraged concerns to be raised and problems solved.

Regular meetings between nurse managers and frontline bring infection control benefits


Early varicose vein treatment best for faster ulcer healing

Leg wound dressing

Leg wound dressing

Treating venous leg ulcers by taking swift action to destroy or close faulty veins can significantly improve the chances of healing, according to a study by Imperial College London. Ulcers healed within an average of 56 days among those who received treatment within two weeks compared with 82 days among other patients.


Greater focus by nurses on pain relief in end of life care urged


Upsetting experiences of end of life care, including nurses and doctors refusing or seeming “frightened” to provide pain relief, highlight the need for urgent improvements in symptom management, say researchers from the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre.


UK safety regulator beefs up rules relating to epilepsy drug


The epilepsy drug sodium valproate must no longer be prescribed to women or girls of childbearing potential unless they are on a pregnancy prevention programme, under licence changes made by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.


Renewed drive to stop ‘over-medication’ for learning disabilities



Nurses and other health professionals are being urged to sign a national pledge to prevent the over-medication of people with autism and learning disabilities. NHS England has put out a fresh call on the Stopping Over-Medication of People with a Learning Disability campaign, known as STOMP.


Renal nurses asked to improve insertion of needles for dialysis

Kidney Xray anatomy

Kidney Xray anatomy

Most kidney patients rate the care they receive highly but there is room for improvement in key areas such as the insertion of needles for dialysis, involvement in decision-making and transport, show findings from a survey by Kidney Care UK and the UK Renal Registry.


App launched to ‘support and educate’ patients with liver cancer


A free smartphone app has been launched for liver cancer patients with the support of hepato-pancreato-biliary specialist nurses. The My Liver app covers initial referral to treatment, how to manage symptoms and where to find further help and support.


Nurses make animated video to help cut asthma admissions

Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nurses make animated video to help cut asthma admissions

The Hillingdon Asthma Champions animated video

Respiratory nurses at Hillingdon Hospital Foundation Trust are hoping to reduce the number of visits that young asthma patients make using an animation video that looks at reviews, pinpointing triggers, treatment and control techniques.


Opioid use linked to ‘increased risk of fatal falls in older adults’

Elderly man

Elderly man

Recent opioid use is associated with both an increased risk of falls in older adults and also an increased risk of death, warn Canadian researchers in the wake of a study involving 67,929 patients.


Incontinence linked to drop in sexual desire and function

A couple at the bank

A couple at the bank

Urinary incontinence in later life can negatively impact on the sexual health, sparking the need for both “taboo” subjects to be discussed by health professionals, according to researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University.


New device ‘dramatically’ improves diabetic foot ulcer healing


EDX110 wound care device

Source: Edixomed


A new wound care device, that harnesses the properties of nitric oxide, can heal diabetic foot ulcers faster and more effectively than current standard care, according to those behind the technology.


Call for people with dementia to have GPS trackers ‘to save lives’

Carer with elderly man

Carer with elderly man

Dementia patients should have location finding devices – like GPS trackers – so they can be located in an emergency, according to Southampton University researchers.


New outcome measures to boost ‘standards of incontinence care’ 

Bladder and Bowel UK/PromoCon

Continence advisory service for nurses rebrands itself

Experts say they have developed a “definitive” set of outcome measures and key performance indicators for toileting and containment strategies. They were launched last month in Rome at the 7th Global Forum on Incontinence.

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