Study aims to optimise care for those hospitalised with COVID-19

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Southampton nurses part of the national COVID-NURSE study will assess new approaches to caring for COVID-19 patients, to inform new guidelines.

Evidence-based nursing

COVID-19 has presented huge care challenges for nurses, from communicating with patients while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), to supporting their mental and emotional wellbeing in the absence of friends and relatives.

Yet they have also risen to these challenges, coming up with innovative solutions that mean they can continue to provide the best care possible. The COVID-NURSE study aims to assess these developments, identifying which approaches are most effective to inform best practice guidance.

This will allow nurses to care for those with COVID-19 using tried and tested innovations that have been shown to be effective.

Southampton’s nursing innovations

Over the next few weeks a COVID-19 nursing team at University Hospital Southampton will assess various approaches that could help to improve the patients’ health and wellbeing during their stay.

That includes the addition of a “6th Vital Sign” to the remaining 5 (respiration rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature). This will be focused on the monitoring of the patients’ mental health and well-being. Three main questions will be asked: “how are you feeling today?”, “why are you feeling like that?” and “what can we do to support you?” The nurses involved in the study believe that building this into their routine could be a ‘game changer’ moving forward in patient care.

An assessment of discussions helping assess and support the nursing team’s mental health as part of daily team meetings is also part of the study, reflecting the impact of COVID care on nursing teams and its importance to morale.

Elsewhere, building communication into daily care routines is the focus of a nominated family link nurse innovation. They will take responsibility in the team for establishing contact between patients and their loved ones, and making sure patients are given the option of a virtual visit every breakfast and lunch time. Again, there are staff-focussed communication innovations on test as well, including a new section in medical notes for communication between medical/nursing staff and relatives, allowing them to quickly refer back to previous conversations and keep tracks of updates.

Posted on Friday 19 March 2021