#TOTW (from 22-07-2014): ‘Wireless monitor ‘relieves pressure’ on nursing staff’

Afternoon all!

A technology-based #TOTW this time round:

‘Wireless monitor ‘relieves pressure’ on nursing staff’ via

Basically, it’s a small device incorporated into a patch that is stuck on the patient’s chest to monitor blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.

“A study in the British Medical Journal in 2012 concluded that nearly 12,000 deaths in hospitals in England had been preventable. It said clinical monitoring had been a problem in nearly a third of these deaths. Independent experts say we are witnessing the start of a revolution in wearable technology, with great potential benefits in healthcare.”

I don’t really have a great deal to say other than I wanted to take the opportunity to put this out there again, and that I think it sounds like a great idea. Concerns have been raised over their use and it’s been argued that there is no substitute for having sufficient levels of nursing staff on a ward, but these are not to replace staff, merely to help existing staff focus more on their patients.

Dr Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing said new technology could be very helpful in alerting nurses and doctors to a patient who was starting to deteriorate – but he also expressed a note of caution. “Anything which helps that process has to be a good thing,” he said. “However, we also know that there is no substitute for having enough staff with the right level of skill on every ward, able to give each and every patient the care and attention that critically ill people need.”

Apparently, the British manufacturers of the device are looking into developing the patch to enable it to also monitor a patient’s oxygen levels, this making it even more useful.

Take a look – this is a good news story! 😀

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#TOTW (from 18-07-14): ‘Assisted dying law would lessen suffering says Falconer’

I make no apologies for returning yet again to the subject of assisted dying for my weekly blog update. It couldn’t really have been on anything else, given the events that have taken place. So my #TOTW was actually one of my own, following the passing of the second reading of Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill in the Lords:

What great news! Common sense has prevailed and now more detailed scrutiny of the bill can take place

It was indeed great news that the Lords had a full day of meaningful debate on what has to be one of the most important ethical matters of our time – the whole issue of how we should have the choice to decide when we’ve had enough and want to call time on our own life. That’s the whole point of this debate. Fundamentally it comes down to an individual’s own choice to decide when they want to die, and not to go on suffering needlessly for months on end, until finally the body gives in and succumbs to the inevitable. The bill – which I have read (link below) – is about providing the individual with the choice to call time on their own life. This, I believe will not be the “slippery slope” that some opponents have suggested it might be. It does not mean that all of a sudden many people are going to want to go ahead with it. What it would do though is give people, that are of sound mind, the right and choice to end their suffering. There is so much that could be said about what has happened, but I like to keep these blogs relatively short, in the hope that people will read all of them and come back for more!

Suffice as to say, even though there is very little likelihood of this particular bill becoming law in this parliament, at least it has now passed to the committee stage in the Lords, where it will be scrutinised in much more detail. This can only be a good thing, and will give those both for and against such a law, the chance to really take a closer look at exactly what it is Lord Falconer is proposing. I will be following this discussion with keen interest, and will no doubt return to the subject for future blogs.

If you haven’t already, then I would ask that those of you who are interested, take the time to read the bill itself:

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/assisteddying.html

It’s a very emotive topic, with understandable arguments on both sides. However, it all boils down to personal choice. The right of someone that is of sound mind to choose the time of their own passing.

#TOTW (from 10-07-2014): ‘Alzheimer’s research in ‘major step’ towards blood test’

This last week has seen yet more stories about assisted dying and people coming out in favour of, or arguing against it. However, as I blogged about this last weekend, I have decided to go with the week’s other big news story as far as I could see, and that was the announcement of a blood test that has been developed in order to help in the battle against Alzheimer’s. This week’s #TOTW is therefore:

Alzheimer’s research in ‘major step’ towards blood test via

Another link I tweeted was also related to the above tweet and is also worth taking a look at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/10954378/Alzheimers-Simple-blood-test-could-speed-up-diagnosis.html

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, described the study as a “technical tour de force”. However, he warned the current accuracy levels risked telling healthy people they were on course to develop Alzheimer’s which may lead to anxiety and depression. However, Dr Karran did argue this was a step towards making Alzheimer’s a preventable disease.

“I think it does, but not immediately. This gives a better way to identify people who will progress to Alzheimer’s disease, people who can be entered into clinical trials earlier, I think that will increase the potential of a positive drug effect and thereby I think we will get to a therapy, which will be an absolute breakthrough if we can get there.”

Although this announcement is just one of many that seem to be made about the battle against this horrific disease, I feel it marks an important step. Although scientists have a long way to go, this blood test demonstrates the value of research in finding a way to tackle dementia, in all it’s forms. This should give us the hope that with more investment in research and with continued effort from the scientific community along with support from Government and other interested organisations, that maybe one day, whether it be in 10, 15 or 20 years time that we may find a way of detecting signs of the disease early enough to prevent it from causing further damage, and maybe even one day to find a cure.

We can but hope.

#TOTW (from 04/07/14): ‘One Chance to Get it Right’

This week seems to have been one where quite a bit about end-of-life care and assisted dying has been in the media, so my choice for #TOTW is:

‘One Chance to Get it Right’ for the care of people who are dying

This is such a massive and emotive topic that I can’t cover all the pros and cons in a little blog update like this. However, I just wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the topic once again and give the chance for people to maybe take a quick look at the link and to consider some of the information – what it means to them personally and to those around them – friends and family for example. I’d love for it to spark some thought about the topic and maybe even discussion amongst you and your friends and family.

The Department of Health has launched a report (quick summary of the main points below) into the needs of people who are dying, their needs and those around them, and they are to be known as #Priorities for Care:

The new Priorities for Care mean that:

  • The possibility that a person may die within the coming days and hours is recognised and communicated clearly, decisions about care are made in accordance with the person’s needs and wishes, and these are reviewed and revised regularly by doctors and nurses.
  • Sensitive communication takes place between staff and the person who is dying and those important to them.
  • The dying person, and those identified as important to them, are involved in decisions about treatment and care.
  • The people important to the dying person are listened to and their needs are respected.
  • Care is tailored to the individual and delivered with compassion – with an individual care plan in place.

The aim is to promote a stronger culture of compassion in the NHS and social care – one that puts people and their families at the centre of decisions about their treatment and care.

As ever, i’d love for you to take a look at the link and give the matter some thought. Feedback and discussion are always welcome!

Take care…

Ben