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NIHR Signal Four-drug treatment for HIV offers no benefit over standard three-drug treatment
Quadruple drug therapy for people starting HIV treatment offers no benefit over the currently recommended triple therapy. Antiretroviral (anti-HIV) therapy is highly effective, with almost all treated individuals in the UK surviving as long as non-infected people. The courses now available mean those treated are usually unable to pass on the virus. There are several classes of treatment and individual drugs which can be used in various combinations. The British HIV Association currently recomme...
NIHR Signal Closer links between police and health services can improve experiences for people in mental health crisis
Tighter working partnerships between health professionals and police services are likely to improve the care of people who come into contact with police during mental health crises. People experiencing severe mental health episodes can present with extreme and unpredictable behaviour posing a danger to themselves and members of the public. Police are often the first to respond in these challenging situations. New models are emerging of mental health staff working with police. This NIHR-funded ...
NIHR Signal Packages of care interventions ‘not effective’ to reduce repeat admissions for COPD
Care bundles for COPD are difficult to implement, and their introduction in NHS hospitals does not reduce repeat admissions, deaths or use of resources when used on or after admission. Care bundles are packages of interventions which, in other situations, can improve care. COPD care bundles include: checking inhaler technique and medication use providing a written plan for COPD management and supply of emergency medicines assessing willingness to stop smoking assessing suitability for pul...
NIHR Signal Physician associates appear to make a positive contribution to inpatient care
Physician associates improve continuity of care and patient experience within the hospital setting. This first evaluation of the new role in the NHS suggests they could provide safe and equivalent care on defined tasks, freeing up time for doctors, and help with patient flow. However, some say that the actual and perceived potential is being held back by a lack of professional statutory regulation and the ability to prescribe. The number of physician associates trained in some of the tasks done...
NIHR Signal Reminders to assess clotting risk increase the use of preventive measures
Reminders to assess clotting risk result in more patients being given appropriate anti-clotting measures in hospital. Computer alerts, in particular, are linked to better choice of prophylaxis and fewer blood clots in veins. Clots in deep leg veins or the lungs are common when people are bedbound in hospital. This updated Cochrane review assessed interventions aiming to increase the use of appropriate preventive measures such as anti-clotting drugs or mechanical measures, including stockings, f...
NIHR Signal Routine engagement in end of life planning can improve health outcomes for people with heart failure
Interventions that encourage healthcare professionals to engage in advance care planning with heart failure patients can work more effectively than stand-alone training activities in improving health outcomes. Approaches that involve patients to change clinicians’ professional practice behaviours, the use of reminder systems and educational meetings may offer the best potential. There is no cure for heart failure, and palliative care is known to help this patient group. Advance care plann...
NIHR Signal Pulmonary rehabilitation may modestly improve anxiety and depression in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) improves psychological symptoms modestly, compared with no intervention. Depression improves by about 2.5 points, and anxiety by 2.2 points on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (range 0 to 21). This review of 10 trials is the first to show that pulmonary rehabilitation – already known to improve quality of life and exercise capacity - may also improve anxiety and depression, which are common in people with C...
NIHR Signal Insights into the transfer between children’s and adults’ services for young people with selected long-term conditions
How young people with type 1 diabetes, autistic spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy experience the transition to adult services depends on their condition and locality. Adult and children’s services need to work together to ensure they are offering young people the sources of support and resilience they need. This NIHR-funded study found that children with type 1 diabetes were more likely to receive help shown to aid transition. For example, around two-thirds said they had met a member o...
NIHR Signal National quality improvement programmes need time and resources to have an impact
A large trial assessing the effectiveness of a UK-wide quality improvement programme did not show any difference in patient outcomes. However, the likely reasons for this were carefully investigated and provide some useful insights on implementation. Several (37) quality improvement components were included in the ambitious package designed to reduce variation in care and improve outcomes for adults undergoing emergency abdominal surgery. There was no difference in survival at 30 days, length o...
NIHR Signal Steps to better understanding resistant behaviours and the culture of bedside dementia care in hospitals
High levels of resistance to care by people with dementia can be exacerbated by responses by staff on the wards. This study sought to understand the interactions and culture underlying care by closely observing and documenting what was actually happening on ten wards in five UK hospitals, and through interviews with carers and families. This in-depth study confirmed that people living with dementia are often resistant to care in acute hospital settings. Behaviour included wandering in wards, pu...
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