Why Nurses Should Change Shifts at Patients’ Bedside

Nurses change shifts

It is a wide-spread practice across the world nurses in hospitals to change shifts in nurses’ room. They exchange information about the conditions of the patients they are in charge of. A new study revealed that this should be done in front of patients. There are two main benefits coming from the bedside handover – patients become active partners in their own care and medical errors occur much more rarely.

The lead author of the medical study Dr Lianne Jeffs says:

"The start and end of a nurse's shift are critical moments. Having handover take place at the bedside with patients is better for everyone, but especially for our patients. It means they have a voice, better understand their treatment and are engaged in their care."

When patients are not involved enough in their care, they feel helpless as though they have lost control over their life. To regain the feeling of control they need to be able to ask questions. Having the opportunity to clarify information with both nurses seems to be very efficient in terms of relieving a patient’s anxiety and improving their satisfaction.

The study was published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. It was based on qualitative interviews with 45 patients. Dr. Jeffs has been doing research on the necessary transitions across the health care system in the USA.

Such studies should be carried out in every country to assess the overall satisfaction of patients and to take measures for improving the quality of health care. It is known that patients who are more relaxed recover much faster than patients who are under a lot of stress. Any factor that contributes to a faster recovery is worth researching and applying into practice.

Ray Shaver who was a caregiver for his late wife, Queenie, for more than 16 years said:

"Patients feel more important when they're involved in their own care. And it's so much safer for the patient when everyone comes together in the same room."

Dr Jeffs also commented:

"Most patients felt safer, more satisfied and better informed of their care plan. But some long-term patients did not want to participate in the twice-daily routine because their conditions had not changed from day to day."

The author of the study points out that it is important to recognize and be sensitive to patients' preferences which can change over time and from patient to patient.

Nurses have reported making fewer mistakes when they change shifts at the bedside of patients. They are able to prioritize their tasks better and get a clearer view of patients’ situation when they receive information from the outgoing nurse in patients’ presence.

Piloted in 2011, nurses on every medical and surgical unit at St. Michael's Hospital now perform handover at their patient's bedside.

Author: Mariya Dim

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Higher Indoor Temperatures Help Us Stay Slim According to a New Scientific Study

Body fat reduction

Abundant food on the table is one of the customs during holiday celebrations. People who are worried about putting on weight should be careful with the portions but they can also apply the recommendations of a new medical study on reducing body fat.

According to researchers from Stirling Management School's Behavioural Science Centre, people who live in warm homes are less likely to be overweight and usually have lower body mass index (BMI) levels than those who avoid switching on the central heating unless it’s freezing cold.

This research contradicts a previous hypothesis about the positive effect of shivering on our body shape.

The study, published in the medical journal Obesity, checked the body mass index (BMI) of the participants and showed that those who enjoy an indoor temperature of 73.4 degrees F (23 degrees C) on a regular basis had lower BMI levels than people who keep their homes cooler.

The study encompassed 100,000 adults who used central heating from 1995 to 2007. While processing the data, various factors were taken into account: excessive calorie intake and low levels of physical activity, as well as other demographic, environmental and health behavior variables, yet these did not reduce the link between high indoor temperature and a reduced BMI.

Michael Daly, one of the researchers, explains:

"This research suggests the obesity epidemic could worsen where heating is turned down below comfortable levels, or off, for lengthy periods to cut costs. The temperature range of 68.5 to 73.4 degrees F (20.3 to 23 degrees C) provides the greatest comfort - in which we are not hot or cold. At temperatures above this, we expend more energy and we eat less because our appetite is suppressed.”

There will be further studies on the issue to establish the potential causal nature of the link between higher indoor temperatures and lower levels of BMI.


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Birth control pills raise the risk of glaucoma

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Birth control pills raise the risk of glaucoma


Although birth control pills have been improved a lot since their initial appearance on the market, some of their side effects are yet to be discovered. The newest study on the pill showed a link between taking the oral contraceptive for a long time and the development of glaucoma in women later in their life.

Actually, the pill doubles the risk of glaucoma. This eye disease is the leading cause for blindness.

Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, Duke University and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University presented these findings at the American Association of Ophthalmology at their meeting in November 2013.

More than 3,000 women 40 and older took part in the study. They had to fill in vision and reproductive health questionnaires and undergo eye exams. The results showed that those women who had taken birth control pills for more than three years had a doubled risk of glaucoma.

The researchers explained that they are not sure whether the pill can cause glaucoma if it’s not combined with other unfavourable factors like family history and older age but they advise women who have been taking it for a longer period of time to see an ophthalmologist and get screened for glaucoma.

Dr Jennifer Ashton, an obstetrician and gynecologist, commented:

 “This study does not demonstrate cause and effect between use of the pill and development of glaucoma. There are numerous qualifying issues: the study’s authors state that ‘long-term use might be a potential risk factor’ and should be considered especially when other risk factors are present.’”

Besides, some of the other health risks connected with the long-term use of the pill are much more significant - blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. The alternatives of birth control pills that women can rely on for contraception are intra-uterine devices, or IUDs.

Dr Ashton also added:

 “I would counsel women of younger ages to remember that oral contraceptives, while in existence for over 50 years, are still medications, and therefore the same risk/benefit profile must apply for each individual woman. Each woman needs to consider why she is taking ‘the pill’ and what the pros and cons are for her, specifically.”

However, women should not stop taking the pill without talking to their doctor first about other ways of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The study is not a reason for panic among women since the absolute risk of glaucoma remains low despite the fact that the pill doubles the risk.

Further research is going to be done in order to clarify the link between the pill and the disease so doctors can be sure whether or not a cause-and-effect relationship really exists.


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lose weight fast

Gut bacteria are a huge topic in medicine and a subject of a growing number of scientific studies. In a recent study scientists discovered that these microorganisms play a large role in determining a person’s weight. These findings might secure gut bacteria a central place in medical research and in the obesity treatment centres.

 The USA has invested a huge amount of money in making attempts to discover a solution to the problem with obesity. 

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