#WhyWeDoResearch

This afternoon, seeking a break from a concentrated effort working with COCAPP data with the aim of saying something useful about how and why care coordinators coordinate care, I drifted into a Health and Care Research Wales chat on public involvement in research. One of the hashtags being used for this discussion was #WhyWeDoResearch. This initiative now has its own website, which can be found here. In the context of health care, the #WhyWeDoResearch campaign exists:

to raise research awareness and opportunities to staff, patients and the public, and to start a conversation about research between all involved. 

A cause worth supporting. And, to nudge the effort along, here is a short video launched today by Health and Care Research Wales explaining what research is:

 

 

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Mental health awareness week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 has the theme of ‘surviving or thriving’, this also being the title of a new report from the Mental Health Foundation. Included in this document is a summary of research completed by NatCen, on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation, into the prevalence of mental health problems across the population and into the activities that people do to manage these.

Here’s a snip from the report, summarising the self-reported difficulties experienced by the 2,290 people who took part:

MHF thriving

Extracted from Surviving or thriving

Using their NatCen data the Mental Health Foundation goes on to highlight major health inequalities. Almost three quarters of those on the lowest household income report experience of mental health difficulties, compared to six in ten of the wealthiest. A large majority of unemployed people responding reported experience of mental health problems, with women and younger people also particularly affected.

These findings are broadly in line with those reported in the most recent Mental Health and Wellbeing in England Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, the data for which was collected in 2014. This is the latest in a series of studies dating back to 1993, involving (in the 2014 iteration) a sample of some 7,500 people. In the case of Surviving or thriving, the new (to me, at any rate) detail is the reporting of what actions people take to help themselves with their difficulties. Here’s another snip:

Surviving 2

Extracted from Surviving or thriving

Family and friends, outdoor physical activity and hobbies look to be the three most-used strategies. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, and am reminded of the value placed in relationships with others by people taking part in COCAPP.

Elsewhere during Mental Health Awareness Week, The Guardian has published a number of pieces including this one on the shortage of mental health nurses and this one on Hafal‘s Gellinudd Recovery Centre (about which I previously blogged here). Coincidentally, this is also the month that the full and final report from COCAPP-A has been accepted for publication: well done Alan Simpson for leading this work. This mighty tome, reporting from our cross-national study into care planning and coordination in acute mental health inpatient settings, has now proceeded to the production arm of the NIHR and is scheduled to appear in gold open access form towards the end of the year. In the meantime, work is progressing to produce papers for journals. More on these to follow in due course.

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PhD opportunity

KESS2With Nicola Evans and Rebecca Playle I’m on the look-out for someone to begin a full-time PhD in the autumn, investigating the interventions and processes that promote young people’s connection to their education, friends and families during inpatient mental health care. This is a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS2), which is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) West Wales and the Valleys programme. It has also been developed in collaboration with Cwm Taf University Health Board which is making a contribution to the award.

For those interested, the studentship has been explicitly designed to build on our RiSC evidence synthesis, about which I have previously written here, here and here. We found significant knowledge gaps in this previous project, which we’re now anticipating this PhD will begin to fill.

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#MHNAUK Lecturer wanted

The clock is winding down on the call for abstracts for the 23rd International Mental Health Nursing Research conference, taking place in Cardiff on September 14th-15th. As readers of the relaunched website of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK will know, nominations are currently being sought for the inaugural MHNAUK Lecturer. Reflecting the work of MHNAUK the Lecture will:

[…] be delivered by a mental health nurse in, or out of, the UK who in the opinion of the MHNR committee, the Chair and the Vice Chair of MHNAUK has made a significant contribution to the promotion and enhancement of mental health nursing education, research, policy and/or practice.

Perhaps, over the coming bank holiday weekend, readers of this blog might give some thought about possible nominees? We’re welcoming self-nominations, and nominations coming from others.

As always, spread the word!

 

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#MHNAUK meets at the University of Hertfordshire

MHNAUK met on March 31st at the University of Hertfordshire, hosted by Greg Rooney and chaired by Steven Pryjmachuk. Anne Trotter from the NMC was welcomed for a detailed discussion on the development of new standards for pre-registration nursing, and on the NMC’s wider work to create a framework for education of which this is […]

via #MHNAUK meets at the University of Hertfordshire  — MHNAUK

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Research ideas wanted

There are lots of reasons why researchers should collaborate with people with experience of using health and social care services. For an insight into public and patient involvement in research, from the perspectives of all involved, check out this repository of Healthtalk videos

For some years I have been a member of the National Centre for Mental Health Service User and Carer Research Partnership (SUCRP). Much as the Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research (SUGAR) based at City University London has been doing, SUCRP is now creating opportunities for mental health researchers to secure service users’ and carers’ views on their ideas and project proposals. Slots are available, right now, and information (including on how to book in) can be found in the flyer below:

This is an excellent initiative, which needs publicising and support. Spread the word. 

 

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Safe staffing (again)

safe staffingJust over a year ago I posted a short piece on this site on safe staffing, particularly noting the work of Shaun Lintern and John Baker in alerting people to the importance of this in the mental health nursing context. Since then, the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 has passed into law, and the Welsh Government has opened this consultation on its draft statutory guidance for Local Health Boards and NHS Trusts. My colleague Aled Jones is coordinating a School of Healthcare Sciences response.

Here in Wales, the duty to calculate nurse staffing levels is currently limited to adult acute medical and surgical inpatient wards. In each NHS organisation with responsibilities in these fields, the Government’s draft document refers to the appointment of a ‘designated person’ with the job of calculating nurse staffing levels using three elements:

  • professional judgement;
  • use of an evidence-based workforce planning tool; and
  • a consideration of the extent to which patients’ wellbeing is sensitive to nursing care.

Making these calculations, I can only imagine, will be a mighty challenging task requiring in-depth understanding of individual wards, the characteristics of patients admitted, and use of a tool which has (so far as I understand it) yet to be finalised.

Meanwhile, via John Baker I learn today of this new publication by NHS Improvement on safe, sustainable and productive staffing in mental health services. This is not about safe nursing staffing, but is about interprofessional staffing in specialist mental health services. Here I read of expectations around right staff, right skills and right place, right time and also spot a rapid review of the relevant literature. This begins with the understated observation that, ‘the issue of safe and sustainable staffing in mental health is complex and research is lacking’. I should say so. The time is ripe, I think, for some serious independent studies in this area.

 

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