Critical thinking – the foundation of good nursing practice

There are lots of ‘trendy’ words in each work environment but one of the most important concepts which appears to be increasingly missing particularly in aged care nursing is that of critical thinking and reflective practice. Critical thinking is the core foundation of good nursing practice.

It is essential to evaluate what is occurring clinically for those in care and regularly reviewing what is being done for each individual resident along with what else needs to be done in order to provide the best care. The skills of critical thinking may not be instinctive for example for those nurses coming from a schooling system which promotes ‘rote’ learning and deters from challenging senior staff.  To question another may be seen in some settings as disrespectful however in the field of clinical care, to challenge and question is essential.  The attributes of those who critically think and reflect on nursing practice and care outcomes use evidence-based practice (EBP) guidelines including current EBP policies and procedures to form decisions.

Some of the skills of critical thinking are more important than others and certainly the ability to reflect while communicating with other members of the team is essential to safe and person centred care.  The nurse who has developed critical thinking skills is able to interpret, understand and explain the meaning of information. This can be event based or data based eg; reading lab result forms. Investigating possible interventions based on the information at hand and analysing which will achieve a desired outcome is also part of reflecting and critically evaluating a clinical scenario.  Assessing the value of information to determine it’s relevance, reliability and credibility in relation to a particular clinical presentation is also necessary.

There are potential barriers to optimising clinical outcomes by clinical staff when a pre-determined bias or fixed mind-set are applied to a set of data or resident clinical presentation. It’s only in the bringing together of information through evaluation, analysis, communicating, referencing EBP guidelines and a growth mind-set that care can be optimised.

Click here to read more on critical thinking.

 

 

Diabetic diets – clinically appropriate in aged care or not?

When balancing the clinical needs, requests and preferences of each resident in-conjunction with their right to choose, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration.  We all recognise that theory and practice can change over time so when I asked Liz Beaglehole (Registered Dietitian) her professional view on this topic is, she offered the following:

 

The recommendation for older adults with diabetes in aged care facilities with stable diabetes is to provide an unrestrictive diet as much as possible. The notion of a ‘diabetic diet’ is outdated due to the increased risk of hypos and unwanted weight loss.

 

This is very individual however, a frail 80 year old woman with diabetes will likely have no diet restrictions however an obese 70 year old who may be otherwise stable would benefit from a more restrictive diet.  Advice from a dietitian for individuals is recommended.

 

Overall, guidance from the resident about their wants is probably what determines the diet provided. This may be in accordance with recommendations or not.

 

Generally, the medications should be fitted to the usual eating pattern of the resident.  In aged care facilities there are regular meals and generally balanced carbohydrates over the main meals (assuming good food intake) so usually this is fine.  If someone has a reduced food intake, and is on insulin then a unrestrictive diet would be best.

 

For my menu planning I tend not to plan any special diabetic options on the cycle menus.  I may include a low fat / low sugar dessert option if sites request, but generally my philosophy for aged care is not to restrict foods!

 

Liz is involved with a PEN (practiced based evidence in nutrition) review of the question ‘Do institutionalized, older adults (65 years of age or older) who closely follow a diet prescription have better control of their chronic disease (e.g. diabetes) than those who do not?‘ This is due by the end of March so further practice updates from this review may be available then.  Liz noted that generally the evidence suggests there are no benefits with a prescriptive diet vs a more liberal one.

This article was kindly contributed by Liz Beaglehole NZRD (Canterbury Dietitians).

Aged Care Managers and Nurses Study Days

April 12th and 13th, 2018 – Christchurch

Presenters: 

 

Gillian Robinson – Bachelor of Nursing, Registered Nurse, Lead Auditor, Management Consultant, Author
Liz Beaglehole – New Zealand Registered Dietitian, with a Post-graduate Diploma in Dietetics (with distinction), Canterbury Dietitians.
Ben HarrisMedical Laboratory Scientist, Honorary Lecturer for the University of Otago

Incorporating clinical and management topics, these study days are designed to provide the opportunity to learn together and gain a greater understanding of each others roles and aged care industry expectations. Gain your professional development hours by joining your colleagues for two fun days of learning.

Topics include:

Day One – Thursday 12th April – 9.00am to 4.30pm

  • Age-related Residential Care (ARRC) – understanding the DHB funding service specifications
  • Quality and Risk Management – striving and achieving excellence
  • Clinical Leadership – how to lead the clinical team effectively
  • Clinical Documentation – What, when, how and why to document
  • Clinical Assessment and Care Planning – bringing it all together for better resident outcomes
  • Microbiome – why understanding this is so important
  • Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDROs) – the current and pending impact

Day two – Friday 13th April (9.00am start, finish approximately 1.00pm) 

  • Urinary Tract Infections – to dip or not?!
  • Norovirus and Influenza – latest updates
  • Food Safety – Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Question and Answer session

Attendees will supply their own lunch.  Morning and afternoon tea will be provided.

Venue: Chapel Street Centre, Cnr Harewood Road and Chapel Street, Papanui, Christchurch.   (Easy access from the airport)

Numbers will be limited so register today.

To register – email gill@agedcarecompliance.com and supply the names and designations of each staff member attending, and confirmation if they will be attending day one or day two or both days?

 

The attendance fee for this content filled education is $155 (plus GST per attendee to cover both days), $85.00 plus GST per attendee to cover either day one or day  two.

We will respond with confirmation of registrations. Certificates of attendance will be provided.

Moving  and Handling People – Good Practice Guidelines – December 2017

The Draft Moving and Handling guidelines are currently being finalised with the view to be implemented from December 2017.  Developed by Worksafe, they cover Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) duties and risk management for PCBUs in the health care industry and supersede the 2012 guidelines.  There are a range of factors noted in these which need to be taken into consideration for those building new facilities or doing refurbishment of existing facilities. There is also a raft of information on Bariatric Care which is an increasing part of the services being provided in residential care.

The draft guidelines include the following:

Please note that there is not a complete consensus on the criteria for classifying a person as bariatric based on weight or Body Mass Index (BMI). However some examples include those people:

– with a body weight greater than 140 kilograms.

– with a BMI greater than 40 (severely obese), or a BMI greater than 35 (obese) with co‑morbidities.

– with restricted mobility, or is immobile, owing to their size in terms of height and girth.

– whose weight exceeds, or appears to exceed, the identified safe working loads (SWLs).

Health risks for bariatric clients

People who have been bariatric for a considerable time face chronic and serious health conditions, many of which should be considered before moving or handling them. Health conditions to take into account include:

– skin excoriation

– rashes or ulcers in the deep tissue folds of the perineum, breast, legs and abdominal areas

– fungal infection

– bodily congestion, including causing the leaking of fluid from pores throughout the body, a state called diaphoresis, which makes the skin even more vulnerable to infections and tearing

– diabetes

– respiratory problems

– added stress to the joints, which may result in osteoarthritis.

Planning for bariatric clients:

The planning process for bariatric clients in order to reduce moving and handling risks should include:

– admission planning

– client assessment

– communication

– room preparation

– mobilisation plan

– equipment needs

– space and facility design considerations

– planning for discharge.

Facility and equipment needs for bariatric clients

Health care and other facilities providing care for bariatric clients need to provide adequate spaces for these clients. Some considerations could include:

– ramps and handrails at entrances

– bariatric wheelchairs

– that the facility’s main entrance has sufficient clearance

– adequate door clearance and weight capacity in lifts

It must be remembered that the above comes from a draft but as drafts often end up being very close to the finished document, I felt it timely to share this information. To read more on Health and Safety in the Workplace go here

Clinical online tools for Aged Residential Care

HCSL are pleased to announce that from January 2018, you will be able to access clinical online tools for:

  • Initial assessment and initial care plan.
  • Short term care plans (and evaluations)
  • Long term care planning (and evaluations)
  • Progress notes
  • Restraint/ Enabler restraint management (and evaluations)

All mobile device compatible so you can be with your residents rather than stuck in the office!

HCSL bringing cost effective, specifically designed tools for the New Zealand residential care sector.  The Corporates have their tools, why shouldn’t you have the same advantage?!

 

To find out more and get a no obligation free quote for use contact us here.

 

Clinical Assessment Recognises Subtle Changes

Our eyes see what is familiar and what they expect to see.  Are we good at picking up subtle changes through your assessment processes and acting on them appropriately?  The ability to see the less than obvious is essential when responsible for clinical assessment as you won’t act on those things you haven’t noticed.

On the 5th July I presented a full day seminar on a range of topics to Nurses working in aged care.  During the day I made what should have been an obvious change but I have no doubt it wasn’t noticed by all.  In the morning I wore a dress with a white jacket. In the afternoon I’d changed the dress for one of a different colour and pattern but retained the white jacket.  I made the change during the lunch break.

When I entered the room after the lunch break three people commented straight away.  I saw a small number of puzzled looks but those nurses didn’t say anything.  Others didn’t seem to notice and didn’t make comment.  We had three distinct groups.  Those that notice and comment, those that notice but don’t comment and those that don’t notice and therefore don’t comment!  Which are the nurses you’d feel safest with if it came to performing a clinical assessment on you on an ongoing basis day after day?  Which differences would they notice and which wouldn’t get a second glance. Which changes would be commented on?

We need a mix of ‘detail’ thinkers and ‘big picture’ thinkers to see everything that occurs.  Equally these two groups of people can complement each other.  Working separately they will each only see part of what needs managing.  Some over think and others don’t seem to think or reflect.  Awareness of how the members of your nursing team work and think could be important in supporting you to minimise risk resulting from subtle changes occurring which may not have been addressed.

It may be beneficial to review personality types to see how your team are working separately or collectively to ensure the best outcome for residents in their care. This increased recognition of each others natural thinking styles may also enhance the ability of the team to understand each other and consciously support others differences.  There are a raft of profiling tests however Myers Briggs has been around as a validated tool for a long time and may be a useful one for you and your team.

What subtle changes are occurring with your residents that you haven’t noticed?  Did you see the white dress in the morning change to a black one in the afternoon? If not, what else are you not seeing that could expose someone to risk?  Are any of your team seeing things but not saying anything because they don’t recognise it’s their responsibility or think someone else has commented?

Weight management goals in care planning

When care planning, the goals or objectives developed for each aspect of care need to be measurable.  This ensures you’re able to evaluate progress and determine whether the goal has been met or not.  The concern is making sure an appropriate goal is set.  While we look at this from a clinical perspective, we must always remember the resident as the central focus and director where they are able to provide input into what the care plan relays.  People have choice within their capacity and sometimes as nurses, we may not agree with a choice made by our patients / residents in aged care.

When guiding weight management goals from a clinical perspective, Liz Beaglehole, Registered Dietitian has offered the below guide.

Ideal weight range in the care process

Body mass index is still helpful in determining healthy weights for older adults.  A healthy BMI range for adults over 65 actually shifts upwards as compared to adults. So a healthy BMI for older adults has been found to be BMI – 22 – 27kg/m2. A BMI above 32kg/m2 would suggest obesity, a BMI below 20 suggests underweight, and below 18.5 is malnourished.

To work out the BMI: (weight/height²).  Example case:  height = 1.5m and weight = 45kg

  1. We need the height in metres and the weight in Kg.
  2. The height needs to be squared. So a height of 1.5m = 2.25 when squared.
  3. Then the BMI is the weight in Kg divided by the height²

Example:  weight = 45kg divided by 2.25 = BMI of 20kg/m².  This is regarded as the lower end of ideal body weight and suggests the resident is underweight for optimal health.

An ideal body weight for some who is 1.5m tall would be a BMI range of 22 – 27 so a weight range of min 50kg up to around 60kg.  Basically to work out ideal body weight just enter different weights into the BMI calculation until you get to the BMI of at least 22 and then again to a BMI of around 27.

The ideal body weight may differ to the GOAL weight.  The goal weight may be something that is set when the BMI is outside the ideal range but some weight changes are desirable.  The goal weight is more useful and practical as it considers the weight history of the resident and the ability to achieve changes in weight.  For example, a resident may be underweight with a weight of 42kg (BMI= 18.6) but they have been this weight for the past year.  Ideally they would gain weight to 50kg, but this is unrealistic.  The goal weight therefore becomes either weight stabilisation at 42kg or a slight weight gain to 44kg.  This would still mean the resident is underweight but is realistic in what can be achieved.  If the initial goal weight is achieved, a second goal weight may be identified.  This may be to stabilise weight at 44kg or to gain to 45kg.  etc…

This can work for overweight residents too.  Using the same example height of 1.5m.  Someone who weighs 78kg has a BMI of 34.6, and is obese.  However, realistic weight loss to within the ideal body weight range would suggest the resident would need to lose around 18 – 28kg, which is completely unrealistic and would never be suggested for aged care.  A more realistic GOAL weight would be weight stabilisation and then some weight loss.  5% weight loss can improve many health outcomes and this would be a realistic target.  Weight loss of 5% is still around 4kg, which is possible but still difficult.

Article contributed by: Liz Beaglehole (NZ Registered Dietitian), Canterbury Dietitians