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Nurses 'must engage with new patient outcome results'

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Nurses should use new patient outcome data to improve practice, academics have said.

They have urged nurses to use results of the first national collection of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) to improve care, and demonstrate the importance of nursing.

Since April, all patients undergoing hip replacements, knee replacements, groin hernia surgery and varicose vein surgery have been asked to report on their condition before and three months after the intervention.

It is the first outcome data collection of its kind in the world and by April will have involved about 250,000 patients.

The results – expected to be available to trusts early next year – can be used to show how much their health and quality of life has improved from before the operation until three months after.

Office of Health Economics director of research Nancy Devlin told a King’s Fund conference in London last week that it was important to look at links between nursing and outcomes.

“I think the nursing profession should have quite a lot to say about PROMs,’ she said. “We should be interested in looking at the impact of the nursing profession on outcomes.”

Royal College of Nursing Research Institute director professor Kate Seers told Nursing Times that nurses needed to engage with the results and use them to improve practice.

“Having something which shows the outcome for patients is crucial to nursing practice,” she said.

The Department of Health is planning to extend the national programme to other areas that are likely to involve nursing to a greater extent, including care for long term conditions.

Professor Seers said a quick extension of the programme would be welcome and called for additional support for nurses to use the tools.

The PROMs results may shed light on the link between staff numbers and care.

In March Nursing Times exclusively revealed evidence that the more nurses a trust employed per bed the fewer of its patients were likely to die or experience long hospital stays.

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