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BACKGROUND - Fall-related injuries, a major public health problem in long-term care, may be reduced by interventions that improve safety practices. Previous studies have shown that safety practice interventions can reduce falls; however, in long-term care these have relied heavily on external funding and staff. The aim of this study was to test whether a training program in safety practices for staff could reduce fall-related injuries in long-term care facilities.
METHODS - A cluster randomization clinical trial with 112 qualifying facilities and 10,558 study residents 65 years or older and not bedridden. The intervention was an intensive 2-day safety training program with 12-month follow-up. The training program targeted living space and personal safety; wheelchairs, canes, and walkers; psychotropic medication use; and transferring and ambulation. The main outcome measure was serious fall-related injuries during the follow-up period.
RESULTS - There was no difference in injury occurrence between the intervention and control facilities (adjusted rate ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-1.16). For residents with a prior fall in facilities with the best program compliance, there was a nonsignificant trend toward fewer injuries in the intervention group (adjusted rate ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-1.10).
CONCLUSION - More intensive interventions are required to prevent fall-related injuries in long-term care facilities.
PURPOSE - To identify variations in practices used by nurses for pediatric patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) receiving chronic blood transfusion therapy for strokes.
DATA SOURCES - Descriptive study of a convenience sample of 11 nurses who care for children with SCD from nine institutions completed a closed-ended questionnaire consisting of 37 items. Responses reflected practice experience with a total of 189 transfused patients with SCD.
CONCLUSIONS - A wide range of nursing practices exists for blood transfusion therapy for children with SCD and strokes. Manual partial exchange transfusion (66%) was the most commonly used method for blood transfusion in children with strokes reported among the nurses surveyed. Simple transfusions and erythrocytapheresis account for 21% and 13% of the practices reported. Opportunities exist to establish evidence-based nursing care guidelines to improve the care of children with strokes receiving blood transfusion therapy.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE - A wide range of local standard care guidelines for blood transfusion therapy exists. The results of this survey indicate that partial manual exchange transfusion is the most commonly used method of chronic blood transfusion therapy in children with SCD and stroke despite the fact that the magnitude of benefit in comparison with simple transfusion has not been established. Factors such as peripheral venous access, compliance with current chelation regimen, and the presence of antibodies are important considerations in the choice of method.
Health in older adults can best be measured in terms of functional status. Skeletal muscle strength has been reported to be a determinant of functional status in older individuals. Two major contributors to the decline in muscle function as a person ages are disuse and physical inactivity. Declining muscle function through a loss of muscular strength may decrease functional independence and mobility and increase the risk for falls and injuries, physical frailty, and disability. Older individuals lacking an appropriate amount of muscular strength may not be able to perform various activities of daily living, which are important indicators of independence.
Nutrition and aging are inseparably connected as eating patterns affect the progress of many degenerative diseases associated with aging. In turn, the nutritional status of the elderly, particularly minority elders (the most rapidly growing segment of the population in the United States), may be adversely affected by a number of factors associated either directly or indirectly with aging. Because reducing morbidity through health promotion and disease prevention could both improve the quality of elderly life and lessen the burden on the health care system, it would seem reasonable that such efforts, including nutrition education, in minority elderly would be of benefit. The extent of the potential value of such preventive programs, however, remains uncertain, and the task of determining nutrient needs of the elderly difficult. Special studies are required to describe the association of nutrition-related factors with chronic diseases, particularly those prevalent in minority elders.
A statistical quality-control process was used to assess how well incontinence management procedures were being implemented by indigenous nursing staff in four nursing homes. Eighty-one incontinent patients were treated with the prompted-voiding toileting procedure. Thirty-six of these patients proved responsive to the toileting procedures, and nursing home staff was instructed to maintain the toileting program for these responsive patients. The first part of the quality-control model involved setting job standards specifying how dry the patients should be if toileted on a 2-hour schedule. Second, a job-monitoring control chart was used to continuously assess how well the job standards were being met. The remaining forty-five patients, who were unresponsive to the toileting protocol, were managed with a 2-hour changing schedule. Job standards specifying how wet (volume) the patient would be if changed on a two-hour basis were set. Control-chart monitoring of these patients urine output assessed how well the changing procedures were being implemented. Incontinence care in nursing homes is difficult to supervise because of problems in measuring how consistently nursing aides change or toilet patients. This paper describes a management system for effective incontinence care.