Last week a palliative care nurse told me about a patient who was refused admission to a hospital ward because the staff did not know how to look after her tracheostomy.
It is disappointing that nurses still lack these skills four years after a National Confidential Enquiry into Patient and Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) raised concerns about tracheostomy care on general wards.
With around 12,000 tracheostomy procedures performed each year, NCEPOD highlighted the crucial role of nurses in caring for patients but found that many did not have the right training and were unable to deal with common emergencies. The NCEPOD report makes clear that poor care results in longer lengths of stay, poor outcomes and in some cases death and called for mandatory tracheostomy training.
Following this report we commissioned a four-part series to update you on the essential care and management of patients with a tracheostomy. Part one in this archive issue discusses the principle of tracheostomy care and subsequent parts look at weaning of a tracheostomy, care of permanent tracheostomies and supporting patients following laryngectomy.
Last week we reported on a Macmillan Cancer Support report, which revealed that many specialist cancer nurses are in lower pay bands despite the complex work they do. It also found that nurses were juggling extremely challenging workloads and voiced concerns that cancer patients were not getting the specialist care they need.
This report adds to concerns raised by many specialist nurse groups that they have to continually prove their worth during a prolonged period of financial constraints in the NHS. Many specialist nurses have told me that they live with the fear that their role and their services are continually under threat as managers look for cost savings.
A second article in this archive issue reports on a programme developed by Multiple Sclerosis Trust to demonstrate the value of multiple sclerosis specialist nurses and the author suggests that the model is transferable to other specialist groups.
This week I spoke to someone who was writing their first business case for funding and service development. She bemoaned the fact that no one has taught her how to do it. Doing anything new can be daunting but the last article in this issue offers the reassurance that while the process of writing a business case can be time consuming it is not complicated.
The article looks at how to produce a clear concise and comprehensive case and the author provides plenty of useful and practical tips on what you should include and how to structure your document.