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Parents who lose a child will soon be entitled to bereavement leave

A new workplace right to paid leave for bereaved parents has been officially enshrined in law.

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Loss of a child
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A new law means bereaved parents will be able to claim paid leave.

A new workplace right to paid leave for bereaved parents has been officially enshrined in law as the Parental Leave and Pay Bill achieves Royal Assent.

The first law of its kind in the UK will support those affected by the tragedy of childhood mortality and is expected to come into force in 2020.

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The new Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act will give all employed parents a day-one right to 2 weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employed parents will be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

There is currently no statutory entitlement for paid leave for parents who lose a child and campaigner Lucy Herd, who lost her 23-month-old son Jack in 2010, has been leading a drive to get this law passed.

A big step in recognising the needs of bereaved families.

Lucy Herd from Jack’s Rainbow said; “When I started the campaign 8 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a change would happen in his memory.

“Knowing that 8 years of campaigning has helped create legislation to ensure bereaved parents are protected in the future is such a wonderful feeling and I am so grateful to all those involved.”

Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, said; “we know how devastating the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or a child is for parents.

“This new law is a big step forward in recognising the needs of bereaved families in our society and will help to ensure that parents are not unduly pressurised to return to work immediately following the death of their child.”

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Clinical Care

Hourly rounding ‘may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care’, finds study

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

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Hourly rounding made a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

A new report by researchers at King’s College London has found that the widespread practice of hourly or intentional rounding, may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care to patients.

The report also found that rounding makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

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Hourly or intentional rounding involves standardised regular checks with individual patients at set intervals and was introduced in hospitals in England in 2013, with 97% of NHS acute Trusts in England implementing it in some way.

The majority of NHS trusts adopted the ‘4Ps’ (Position, Pain, Personal needs, Placement of items) model of rounding.

The research was commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and was led by Professor Ruth Harris in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care.

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

The NIHR report – Intentional rounding in hospital wards to improve regular interaction and engagement between nurses and patients: a realist evaluation – is the first study of its kind in the world.

The study found that rounding placed an emphasis on transactional ‘tick box’ care delivery, rather than individualised care. However, patients were found to value their interactions with nursing staff, which the study argues could be delivered during other care activities and rather than through intentional rounding.

The report also found that rounding was implemented without consultation, careful planning and piloting in the interests of political expediency following the Francis Inquiry Report into care failures in the NHS.

Ruth Harris, Professor of Health Care for Older Adults at King’s College London, said; “Checking patients regularly to make sure that they are OK is really important but intentional rounding tends to prompt nurses to focus on completion of the rounding documentation rather than on the relational aspects of care delivery.

“Few frontline nursing staff or senior nursing staff felt intentional rounding improved either the quality or the frequency of their interactions with patients and their family.”

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Clinical Updates

Nurses’ ‘worry’ better than most early warning scores, finds study

Nurses were asked to grade patients between ‘no concern’ and ‘extreme concern’. 

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Observations

A sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration.

Nurses’ worry has a “higher accuracy” than most published early warning scores (EWS) at predicting if a patient is becoming more unwell, according to a recent study.

The study looked at 31,159 patient-shifts for 3185 patients during 3551 hospitalisations across two surgical and two medical wards. Researchers compared if the nurses were worried about a patients potential for deterioration using ‘the Worry Factor’ with early warning score indicators.

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Nurses were asked to grade each patient between “no concern” and “extreme concern”.

The Worry Score

Out of 492 potential deterioration events identified, researchers found that when nurses had an increasing worry factor the patient was more likely to require emergency medical treatment – 7 cardiac arrest calls, 86 medical emergency calls and 76 transfers to the intensive care unit.

The study also revealed that accuracy rates were significantly higher in nurses with over a year of experience.

The researchers concluded that “nurses’ pattern recognition and sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration” and was often more reliable than traditional early warning systems.

They also noted that the worry score could be used alone or easily incorporated into existing EWS to potentially improve their performance.

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