Desperately Seeking Ethics: Reflections on attending a research ethics committee meeting

Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.

me-fbI am in the second year of a PhD researching volunteers in dementia and acute hospitals. The project came about as part of my clinical work as a staff nurse in older person acute care. It was while working on a prevention of delirium research study, I realised that volunteers could play an important role.

The first year of my PhD has been spent mainly completing modules and designing the project from scratch. I have lost track of how many drafts of countless documents have been sent to my long suffering supervisors as they guide me towards refining my ideas, sifting through my thousands of words to put together a robust study which will stand up to scrutiny. Continue reading

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’: raising the status of care home nursing

Dr Miriam Stanyon is a Research Fellow on the Achieving Quality and Effectiveness for Dementia Using Crisis Teams (AQUEDUCT) research programme at the University of Nottingham. She also worked, until very recently, for a number of years as a care assistant in care homes.  Here she talks about work to establish agreed competencies for Registered Nurses working in care homes.

nursing-home-residentIt is no secret that care home nurses get a bad press. If you type ‘care home’ into the BBC news website, the result is a series of stories about neglect and elder abuse, care homes put in special measures by the CQC or having to close due to lack of funding.  Among nurses themselves, care home nursing has a lower status than working in the NHS. It has traditionally been seen as a job to do when you’re close to retirement or can’t get a job in a hospital. I remember speaking to a colleague after she had attended some CPD training (which she had to self-fund and attend in her own time) and she expressed how she felt embarrassed to ‘only work in a care home’. Continue reading

Nursing documentation: Mind the gap?

Liz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust. She is currently a PhD student at The University of Nottingham. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Her blogs are her own opinion and do not represent the opinion of her employer or any other organisation. Co-author and supervisor, Dr. Sarah Goldberg, is an associate professor at The University of Nottingham. She tweets as @se_goldberg

Introduction

docsNew research out this week highlights the importance of nursing documentation for older patients in an acute hospital setting. The research ‘Gaps, Mishaps and Overlaps: Nursing Documentation, how Does it Affect Care?’ published in The Journal of Research in Nursing found that paperwork is time consuming to complete, takes nurses away from caring for patients, and can be counterproductive to delivering good quality nursing care to older people in hospital.

Continue reading

Patients don’t just have dementia

Beverley Marriott is Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust Nurse Practitioner – Community Matron based at Heart of England Good Hope Hospital. She is currently undertaking a Fellowship in Older People at Kings College London. Here she reminds us that we need to see the whole person when looking at someone with dementia.

medical-pillsMany of us work within dementia care on a daily basis. As a community matron on an AMU department supporting safe and timely discharges for patients with dementia, I understand the importance of getting it right and what happens when we get it wrong.

Dementia has reached a critical point – over recent years the government has seen improvements in diagnosis, raising public awareness and promoting dementia friendly settings. However to deliver this level of improvement requires, time, resources and focus.  Continue reading

Researchers find key to stroke survival

nurseThe number of trained nurses available to treat patients immediately after a stroke is the most reliable health services predictor of survival according to research from the University of Aberdeen and University of East Anglia published in Age & Ageing.

Having the optimal number of trained nurses available to look after patients in an acute stroke unit was consistently found to be the best predictor of survival from stroke – after personal health factors were accounted for, such as age, stroke severity and blood pressure.

The study found that just one additional trained nurse per ten beds could reduce the chance of death after thirty days by up to twenty-eight per cent, and after one year by up to twelve per cent. Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 3 ‘Palliative care’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the third part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

estherThe scourge of AIDS in the 1990s led to the introduction of palliative care as both a medical speciality in symptom management and a community initiative to support people at the end of their lives to live at home with their loved ones. Communities identified and trained community carers to offer practical support for activities of daily needs. Some palliative care facilities were developed, particularly in Uganda where AIDS was rife, and the government and NGOs were particularly proactive in both prevention measures and care, as both centres of training and excellence, as well as hospice care. Continue reading

The Skin I’m In

Fiona Cowdell is a Reader in Wellbeing in Long-Term Conditions at the University of Hull and a nurse. She’s about to begin a National Institute for Health Research Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellowship. Fiona has dual interests in applied clinical research with a focus on older people and skin health and in methods of moving research from academia to patients and clinicians. She tweets at @fionacowdell 

hands-578918_960_720I’m writing this blog by way of thanking the British Geriatric Society for awarding me a Nurses Study Grant to attend the recent Royal College of Nursing & BGS joint Older People’s Conference in Birmingham.

We are all familiar with ageing, either from your own experience or from working with patients. We know older people are often unjustly or unconsciously labelled. I research skin health and well-being in older people and I can’t help myself but to talk about this; it’s not for everyone but it fascinates me! Continue reading

Game Theory: chess, Jenga, frailty and the future of the NHS

AIOiSvIVLiz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.

During another busy shift last week, I worked with a student nurse who expressed an interest in the complications of older person care. I found the simplest analogy to be that of comparing frailty to the game of Jenga

Jenga is a game which involves removing one block at a time from a tower, until it is only a matter of time before the entire structure becomes so fragile that the whole thing comes tumbling down.

In older people, long term chronic illness is one such block; complications of unsupportive social situations, another. One urine infection, fall, or hospital admission can be the final block which causes their own personal tower to collapse, with devastating and life-changing consequences.

Continue reading

A Framework for Personalised Care and Population Health for Nurses, Midwives, Health Visitors and Allied Health Professionals

Dawne Garrett is Professional Lead for the Care of Older People at the Royal College of Nursing, and a BGS member.

thumbnail_Framework_for_personalised_care_and_population_health_for_nurses.pdf

The Department of Health recently released the Framework for Personalised Care and Population Health for Nurses, Midwives, Health Visitors and Allied Health Professionals. This web based framework has been developed to support nurses, health visitors and allied health professionals to operationalise current policy on improving health outcomes and reducing inequalities for all ages including older people.

The six areas of health activity covered include:

  • Improving the Wider Determinants of Health
  • Health Improvement
  • Health Protection
  • Health Care Public Health
  • Health Wellbeing and Independence
  • Life course

Continue reading

What actually is frailty?

Chris Beech is a Nurse Consultant at NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk. She is member of the BGS Specialist Nurse and Allied Health Professionals Special Interest Group.ANAM2B

Frailty is all around us, especially when you take a quick peek at the recent literature on working with older people. It is important that nurses working with older people in all care settings are aware of what frailty is, what the implications are if someone is identified as living with frailty and what, if anything, can be done about it.

We all have a picture in our head of a frail person, the problem is that there is a big chance that this picture is a different image to the one the person sitting next to you is thinking of. It is important therefore to have the ability to put an objective view point into play. Continue reading