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Thursday, 29 January 2015

What are incident reports telling us? Australian study

This report published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care compared reported medical errors in two Australian hospitals. It revealed that only a small number of clinically important prescribing errors were captured in the incident systems, with some 78.1% going undetected.

The authors of the paper, "What are incident reports telling us? A comparative study at two Australian hospitals of medication errors identified at audit, detected by staff and reported to an incident system", conclude that there are inaccuracies inherent in the practice of using incident frequency to compare patient risk or quality performance within or across hospitals. They suggest that there are new approaches, such as data mining, which are needed to support better control of medication errors.

Westbrook JI, Li L, Lehnbom EC, Baysari MT, Braithwaite J, Burke R, I International Journal for Quality in Health Care. First published online, January 2015. ttp://

NICE Guideline for safe staffing of Emergency Departments

Draft guidelines for Safe staffing for nursing in A&E Departments have been released for consultation by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK. The aim is to ensure that A&E departments have the capacity to provide all necessary emergency care, including specialist input for children, older people or those with mental health needs.

The guidelines recommend minimum ratios based on the seriousness of a patient's condition and/or the level of care needed. For example, they recommend two registered nurses to one patient in cases of major trauma or cardiac arrest and one registered nurse to four cubicles in either 'majors' or 'minors'.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mental Health in Rural and Remote Australia

The latest Fact Sheets from the Alliance are on Mental Health in Rural and Remote Australia and a Rural Mental Health Help Sheet. Together they present an overview of mental health in rural and remote Australia, and a guide to support services.

The Fact Sheet on mental health points out that, despite a similar prevalence of mental illness in urban and country areas, the lack of access to mental health services and a reluctance to seek help contribute to the fact that rates of self-harm and suicide increase with remoteness.

Minister downplays idea of national royal commission into domestic violence

Abbott government minister Michaelia Cash has downplayed the idea of holding a national royal commission into domestic violence, arguing that the Coalition has already "accepted" that it was a problem and practical solutions were needed instead.

Senator Cash said that the federal and state governments and the community needed to concentrate instead on the "practical steps" that can address domestic violence. See more below:

Consigning Fetal alcohol scourge to history

In childhood, Tristan McCarthy, 15 years, was diagnosed with Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). With brother Sebastian and sister Rani, he is among a generation whose physical and behavioural deficits - including abnormal facial features and intellectual disability - alerted their community to a sinister wave sweeping the Kimberley, Western Australia.

Ms Oscar and fellow community leaders have pioneered strategies to 'make FASD history'. They have created an early childhood centre around FASD children's needs as well as a therapeutic program, and a mobile Marulu Unit team delivers messages about preventive maternal and child care.

Please see more at the following link:

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Life story on an Ipad promotes wellbeing for people with dementia

A Perth-based occupational therapist has developed a new app for people with dementia that can record their life stories and be used as a tool to guide person-centred care.

The My Life Story app allows users to create a photo slideshow accompanied by music and voice recordings and loaded onto touchscreen devices like the iPad.

Creator Genevieve Major said it was not only aimed at promoting positive experiences and feelings of wellbeing for people with dementia, but also for carers and nurses as a reminiscing tool when the person enters residential aged care. Ms Major said the use of stories and reminiscing to improve mood was well researched and widely used by occupational and other therapists, but it was under-utilised in institutional care.

The My Life Story app is available on the iTunes store for $9.99. Ms Major is marketing it through word of mouth and her networks of dementia care service providers, memory clinics, community centres and nursing homes.

About the app.

Providing care after stillbirth

6 babies are stillborn in Australia every day. The Stillbirth Foundation Australia has funded a research project of the Joanna Briggs Institute. The objective of this review was to identify effective, meaningful and/or appropriate non- pharmacological, psychosocial supportive care interventions and strategies for families to improve their psychological well-being following stillbirth.

Associate Professor Edoardo Aromataris says that "the findings of the review showed that parents can be comforted by healthcare professionals who are prepared to involve them collaboratively in decision-making, and to provide empathetic, sensitive and respectful care at all times." As a result, 3 publications are now freely available on the Stillbirth Foundation website.

1. Evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals providing care for parents from diagnosis to birth

2. Evidence-based guidance for healthcare professionals providing care for parents immediately after birth

3. Providing care for families who have experienced stillbirth: a comprehensive systematic review

Friday, 23 January 2015

Using the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set to measure returns to sentenced youth justice supervision: stage 2

This is the second of 2 reports presenting measures of returns to sentenced youth justice supervision using data from the Juvenile Justice National Minimum Data Set (JJ NMDS).

This report further examines timeframes for measuring returns and explores the potential for using JJ NMDS data to measure the seriousness of reoffending.

Please see below for more details:

Video-based therapy may help babies at risk of autism

Video-based therapy for families with babies at risk of autism improves infants' engagement, attention and social behaviour, and might reduce their risk chances of developing the condition, suggests a small study.

Researchers say their findings, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, show that using video feedback-based therapy to help parents understand and respond to their baby's early communication style might help modify emerging autism symptoms.

Please see more info at the link below:

Genetic therapy offers hope to people facing fatal diseases

Genetic therapy is being used by Australian doctors in the hope of offering a cure to patients facing rare and fatal diseases, such as the thalassaemia that means Stacey needs a blood transfusion every month.

Please see more details of this article below:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Support for apprehended violence orders

APPREHENDED violence orders (AVOs) are effective says Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service manager Penny Dordoy, despite strong criticism from the community after the death of a Sydney hairdresser.

Ms Dordoy argues AVOs are effective but they need to be used with other services, such as the advocacy service, to ensure the victim was protected, knew her rights and knew where to go for help if there was a problem.  Please see link below for more:

Preventive action needed

The Hunter Institute of Mental Health will be shining a light on one of the issues that affects us all this week - suicide and the prevention of suicide. In many ways, 2014 brought a number of opportunities for us to do things differently and to do things better in suicide prevention. Please see link below for more info:

Australia leads on e-mental health but still vastly underused

Health specialists are raising questions about why Australia is a world leader in developing online mental health services but a laggard in using them.

They say e-mental health programs, which are delivered through phones and computers, are cheap and effective, but that very few Australians use them.

Please see link below for more details:

Smoking cessation and tobacco prevention in Indigenous populations

Smoking cessation and tobacco prevention in Indigenous populations systematically reviews 91 smoking cessation and tobacco prevention studies tailored for Indigenous populations around the world, with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in Australia. We identified several components of effective interventions, including the use of multifaceted programs that simultaneously address the behavioural, psychological and biochemical aspects of addiction, using resources culturally tailored for the needs of individual Indigenous populations. Pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation was effective when combined with culturally tailored behavioural interventions and health professional support, though it is generally underused in clinical practice. From a policy perspective, interventions of greater intensity, with more components, were more likely to be effective than those of lower intensity and shorter duration.

For any new policy it is important to consider community capacity building, development of knowledge, and sustainability of the policy beyond guided implementation. Future research should address how the intervention can be supported into standard practice, policy, or translation into the front-line of clinical care. Investigations are also required to determine the efficacy of emerging therapies (such as e-cigarettes and the use of social media to tackle youth smoking), and under-researched interventions that hold promise based on non-Indigenous studies, such as the use of Champix. We conclude that more methodologically rigorous investigations are required to determine components of the less-successful interventions to aid future policy, practice and research initiatives.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released its Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014 the second in a series tracking worldwide progress in the prevention and control of cancers, lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Non-communicable diseases, which are sometimes called "lifestyle" or "chronic diseases", are caused by common risk factors. The good news is that they can also be prevented by largely shared strategies. Tobacco control, for example, helps reduce cancers, heart disease, stroke and lung diseases – all of which are non-communicable diseases. Improving the diet of populations will help avoid obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart attacks – also all non-communicable disease.