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Clinical Updates

With love in the air conception rates soar, NHS figures show

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Valentine’s Day romance leads to a jump in pregnancies, new figures from NHS England show.

With love in the air, there was a 5 percent rise in conceptions around the most romantic day of the year, according to the data gathered to help the NHS provide the best possible care for mums-to-be and their babies.

There were 16,263 babies conceived in the week of Valentine’s Day, up on an average of 15,427 each week, according to 2015 figures that have been analysed for the first time.

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Another 16,344 were conceived the following week meaning that the Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas for the number of women becoming pregnant.

Image: Jason Pratt

Sarah-Jane Marsh, who leads NHS England’s drive to improve maternity services, said that no matter what point in the year a baby is born there has never been a better time to give birth.

A record 88 percent of new mothers said that they were treated with dignity and respect throughout labour, according to the latest CQC survey which was published last month.

Mums-to-be in England are also increasingly offered more personalised care and a midwife who they know available throughout their use of maternity service, care which they would not previously get on the NHS.

Better care and medical advances also mean that a baby born in 2018 – the NHS 70th anniversary year – can expect to live longer than at any time in the past, with one in three girls set to live past 100.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme at NHS England, said:

“Love is most definitely in the air at this time of year and it is fantastic to learn that the NHS sees a mini-baby boom nine months later – bringing with it great joy to families across the nation.

“Those of us who work in maternity services are so proud that there has never been a better time to have a baby, with record numbers of new mums saying they have been treated with dignity and respect, with more personalised care on offer and life expectancy at an all-time high.  However we know we have more work to do to ensure personal and safe care are delivered every time – and we are totally committed to doing even better.”

Visit the NHS Choices website for information on pregnancy, including the early signs to look out for and a due date calculator.

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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Nurse with patient in bed

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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