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NIHR Signal Guided online interventions can help people recover from depression
Internet-based interventions combined with remote professional support can improve outcomes for people with depression. Those receiving the intervention show better initial response to treatment and higher recovery rates compared with control groups who are either waiting for treatment or receiving less support. This meta-analysis shows people using guided internet therapy are over twice as likely to respond to treatment and achieve remission. This finding reinforces current NICE guidance which...
NIHR Signal Supporting families of those in intensive care improved family satisfaction but didn’t reduce family distress
A multicomponent support intervention for family members of patients in intensive care didn’t reduce their anxiety, depression or distress around the overall experience. However, it increased satisfaction with the quality of staff communication and delivery of care. Family members of critically unwell patients on intensive care often need to be involved in care decisions. Yet they may feel unsupported and bewildered in the process. This intervention, delivered in five US intensive care un...
NIHR Signal Self-monitoring of blood glucose provides no important benefit for most people with type 2 diabetes
Patients with type 2 diabetes who monitor their blood glucose themselves may see small, short-term improvements in blood sugar control. This is not enough to be clinically important or outweigh the costs and personal inconvenience of long-term self-testing. Self-monitoring is a well-established strategy for type 1 diabetes and for people with type 2 who need insulin. The benefit for all people with type 2 is debatable. This review pooled 24 randomised controlled trials comparing self-monitoring...
NIHR Signal No benefit from monitoring antiepileptic drug levels in pregnancy
Regular monitoring of antiepileptic drug levels in pregnant women with epilepsy does not improve seizure control compared with clinical features-based monitoring. This NIHR-funded study was conducted across 50 UK hospitals and is the largest randomised trial in pregnant women with epilepsy. Just over 260 pregnant women with unstable antiepileptic drug levels were assigned to ongoing monthly blood checks or clinical features monitoring. There were no differences in seizures or other pregnancy ou...
NIHR Signal Routine measurement of grip strength can help assess frailty in hospital
Training clinical staff to routinely measure grip strength can help identify frail older hospital inpatients. This could help tailor their care. This NIHR-funded study was conducted across five acute medical wards in one hospital in England over a nine-month period. Nursing staff were trained to measure grip strength of people aged over 80 years. They were instructed to assess if those with low grip required nutritional supplements and to refer them to physiotherapy for consideration of strengt...
NIHR Signal Ethanol locks in catheters for dialysis may prevent sepsis
In patients with tunnelled central venous catheters used for dialysis, ethanol locks may reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections when compared with other locks, mainly saline. There was no increase in the risk of catheter blockage with ethanol locks in this study. Long-term catheters carry a risk of bloodstream infection. ‘Locks’ are the small amount of fluid left inside a long intravenous catheter between uses to reduce the risk of blockage with clotted blood and ideally als...
NIHR Signal General hospital care for children with learning disabilities has scope for improvement
Less than half of NHS staff surveyed said they were routinely informed that a child has learning disabilities through a dedicated flagging system on admission. Many general hospital staff lack confidence and organisational support in providing care for children and young people with learning disabilities. In an NIHR national hospital staff-awareness survey, staff were uncertain or unaware of local policy and practice. Only half of the children’s hospitals had a learning disability nurse, ...
NIHR Signal People take prescribed statins more reliably after discussing their advantages and disadvantages
Patients want to know more about how statins work, the reasons for prescribing them and their possible side effects. Statins lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of recurrent stroke or heart attack. They also help prevent cardiovascular disease developing in people at high risk. At a population, level statins reduce the overall incidence of cardiovascular disease for people at moderate risk, but the benefits for an individual are less clear-cut. This review found that people are happy to take...
NIHR Signal Text messages improve diabetes self-management and blood sugar control
In adults with poorly controlled diabetes, text messages offering advice and support can improve self-management and blood sugar control. This trial included 366 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in New Zealand. An automated system delivered individually tailored text messages to participants over a nine-month period to support self-management of blood sugar. The control group received usual care, comparable to that in the UK. The text message group had a small reduction in blood sugar lev...
NIHR Signal Daily low-dose antibiotics halve urinary tract infections in people who self-catheterise
People who perform clean intermittent self-catheterisation can reduce symptomatic urinary tract infections from two per year to one by taking daily low-dose antibiotics. This NIHR-funded trial randomised 404 adults in the UK who perform the procedure for a variety of reasons to either daily oral low-dose antibiotics or no prophylaxis. All had a recent history of urinary tract infection. Although prophylactic antibiotics halved infection rates, it increased antimicrobial resistance compared wit...
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