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

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


New faster flu test ‘could save NHS £24m’

'Out of step' NHS self-discharge process in need of overhaul

Hospital wards and beds

Source: Lancaster University

A new test that can diagnose influenza in 20 minutes has helped to prevent unnecessary bed closures and improve “timely treatment for patients”, according to a senior nurse.

With the cobas Liat test, clinicians who suspect a patient has flu can take a single nasopharyngeal swab that is analysed straight away, rather than waiting for laboratory testing. The test, made by Roche Diagnostics, can detect 43 strains of flu A and B, and seven of respiratory syncytial virus.

”Operationally it has helped to ensure that beds are not closed unnecessarily”

Berenice Constable

Initial roll out at two trusts has shown promising results, reducing delayed transfers of care and leading to fewer bay closures. Out of 277 tests carried out at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust, 128 came back positive.

The number of delayed discharges dropped from an average of 11 pre-test to two afterwards and the mean number of patients with flu in a bay dropped from 12.3 to 2.7 during the period the test was used.

Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust carried out 1,526 tests over a 19-week period. It found 479 came back positive, with 65% of suspected cases discharged or, if admitted, not requiring initial isolation. As a result, 33% of cases that were flu negative were discharged on the same day.

Berenice Constable, head of nursing for emergency department and medicine at Kingston, said: “This has had a big impact on improving timely treatment for patients, supporting appropriate isolation procedures and ultimately improving patient experience. Operationally it has helped to ensure that beds are not closed unnecessarily and has supported clinical decision making.”


Giving oxygen in hospital ‘often unnecessary and can cause harm’


One in three older patients may die following emergency intubation

Safety concerns have been raised about the routine use of oxygen for patients in hospital settings, according to the authors of new guidelines. Routine oxygen therapy was not recommended for hospital patients because the benefit was uncertain and there were clear harms, said the panel of experts in the British Medical Journal.


Unhealthy nurses working irregular night shifts at high diabetes risk


Patients ‘at risk’ over failure to recognise diabetes subtype

Nurses who work intermittent night shifts and lead an unhealthy lifestyle face an especially high risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. The research, involving 143,000 female nurses and published in the British Medical Journal, is believed to be the first to look at the impact of an unhealthy lifestyle and irregular night shifts combined.


Children account for almost half of sport-related A&E visits

University College London Hospital

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

Almost half of sport injury-related emergency department attendances and almost a quarter of sport injury-related hospital admissions are in children and adolescents, according to a UK study. The high burden of sport-related injuries has been highlighted by researchers from Newcastle University and Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust.


First ever toolkit designed to improve palliative day services

Marie Curie

Funding for ‘rapid response’ palliative care nurse service

Source: Marie Curie

Researchers have published the first set of indicators intended to specially help measure the quality and impact of palliative day services across the UK. Charity Marie Curie said it would enable service providers to “effectively describe and evaluate” the quality of their care for the first time, while also identifying areas for improvement.


Nurses need more training to ‘help children of terminally ill patients’

child silhouette

child silhouette

Health professionals require more guidance to prepare and support children when a parent is dying, according to researchers in Surrey. They called on UK guidelines to follow countries like some in Scandinavia, where it was “mandatory for nurses to involve children in their dying parents’ care”.


Mothers of boys ‘much more likely to have postnatal depression’

Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression

The odds of a woman developing postnatal depression increased by 79% when they had baby boys compared to baby girls, a study has found. University of Kent researchers found women who gave birth to males were 71-79% more likely to develop postnatal depression, providing an “easy way” to identify those at risk.


Taking omega-3 supplements ‘reduces risk of premature birth’

University of Glasgow/University of Aberdeen

Fish oil pills ‘improve muscle function’ in older women

Source: Marco Almbauer

Encouraging pregnant women to take omega-3 supplements could be an “effective strategy” for preventing preterm birth, according to a review of research on the issue. The Cochrane review found taking omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy can help women have a full-term gestation period, as well as help their baby to grow to a healthy weight in the womb.


Rose geranium oil helps tackle unpleasant nasal side effect of chemo

Pelargonium graveolens

Rose geranium

Source: Laitche

Rose geranium oil may help tackle a painful nasal condition that is an unpleasant side effect of chemotherapy, suggest a study from the US. The study, published in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, found some evidence the oil helped ease the symptoms of nasal vestibulitis.


‘Different approach’ needed to caring for older people with alcohol problems

pocket guide

pocket guide

Nurses and other healthcare professionals have been urged to rethink the needs of older people with drinking problems. Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University and charity Aquarius have developed a pocket guide and guidance document offering “top tips” for health professionals working with problematic drinkers aged 50 and over.


Call for nursing courses to include sickle cell and thalassaemia

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia

I’m In Crisis group photo

Launch of the I’m In Crisis report

The blood conditions sickle cell disease and thalassaemia “lack representation” in pre-registration nurse and midwife education, MPs have warned. Courses should include a greater focus on sickle cell and thalassaemia or staff “will not be well equipped to nurse these patients when they qualify”, said the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia in a report.


Vitamin B12 screening in diabetes patients may prevent nerve damage

nottingham medical centre

nottingham medical centre

Source: Google Maps

Hucknall Road Medical Centre in Nottingham

More regular checks of vitamin B12 levels in patients with type 2 diabetes could help prevent irreversible and debilitating nerve damage, according to a study by a Nottingham GP practice. The findings, presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual conference in Glasgow, make the case for routine screening of patients with type 2 diabetes who are treated with the drug metformin.








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