Tag: Health Services and Delivery Research Programme

Introducing the MENLOC study

menloc logo 5A big part of my work this year is this recently funded evidence synthesis in the area of end of life care for people with severe mental illness. This is a cross-university study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery (HS&DR) Research Programme, which also features service user researchers and a stakeholder advisory group populated by people with experience in both the mental health and end of life care fields.

Here, from our protocol, is a summary of what we’re up to:

The aim of this project is to synthesise relevant research and other appropriate evidence relating to the organisation, provision and receipt of end of life care for people with severe mental illness (including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychoses, major depression and personality disorder) who have an additional diagnosis of advanced, incurable, cancer and/or end-stage lung, heart, renal or liver failure and who are likely to die within the next 12 months.

Outputs from the project will be tailored to stakeholders, and clear implications will be drawn for the future commissioning, organisation, management and provision of clinical care. Recommendations will be made for future data-generating studies designed to inform service and practice improvements, guidance and policy.

In this context, summary objectives are to:

  1. locate, appraise and synthesise relevant research;
  2. locate and synthesise policy, guidance, case reports and other grey and non-research literature;
  3. produce outputs with clear implications for service commissioning, organisation and provision;
  4. make recommendations for future research designed to inform service improvements, guidance and policy.

This review will be conducted according to the guidance developed by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) and will be reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement recommendations. Reflecting Evidence for Policy and Practice Information (EPPI) Centre principles, opportunities will also be embedded into the project to maximise stakeholder engagement for the purposes of both shaping its focus and maximising its reach and impact.

Searches will be developed initially using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and text words across health, social care and psychology databases from their inception. In consultation with a stakeholder advisory group, supplementary methods will be developed to identify additional material including policies, reports, expert opinion pieces and case studies. All English language items relating to the provision and receipt of end of life care for people with severe mental illness and an additional diagnosis of advanced, incurable, cancer and/or end-stage lung, heart, renal or liver failure will be included. All included citations will be assessed for quality using tools developed by the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP), or alternatives as necessary if suitable CASP tools are not available. Data will be extracted into tables, and subjected to meta-analyses where possible or thematic synthesis with help from NVivo. Strength of synthesised findings will be reported where possible using GRADE and CerQual.

Information derived from the processes described above will be drawn on in an accessibly written summary. Uniquely, this synthesis will comprehensively bring together evidence on factors facilitating and hindering high-quality end of life care for people with severe mental illness, who have an additional diagnosis of advanced, incurable, cancer and/or end-stage lung, heart, renal or liver failure, and evidence relating to services, processes, interventions, views and experiences. Implications will be stated for the improvement of relevant NHS and third sector care and recommendations will be made for future research.

menlocRight now, having convened a first advisory group meeting, we’re busy searching and sifting for evidence mostly through reviewing citations identified in a series of comprehensive database searches. I’ll be posting more here as the study progresses, but for the detail a good place to go is here for the published protocol.

Mid-May catch-up post

RiSC front pageWork on the RiSC and COCAPP studies means that, of necessity, I’ve had to let this blog site (and pretty much everything else) take something of a back seat in recent weeks. The picture on the left is a screen shot of the RiSC study final report, which is now perilously close to completion. Once submitted to the funding body (the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme) it will be peer reviewed, and once accepted for the NIHR Journals Library progress through an editorial process before (hopefully sometime before the end of this year) appearing online.

Elsewhere, I see that the call for abstracts for this year’s NPNR conference remains open for a little while yet, as this tweet from Laura Benfield who works for the RCN Events team indicates:

I’m pleased to say that both the RiSC and COCAPP teams have already submitted abstracts. The conference will again be at Warwick University, and promises to a special affair. Here’s a snip from the event’s website:

This year is the 20th international NPNR conference and it’s going to be a celebration.

We wish to celebrate and promote some of the outstanding mental health nursing research that shapes mental health policy and nursing practice across the world. We will also acknowledge some of the best psychiatric and mental health nursing research that helped create the strong foundation for our work today. And we will invite delegates to look ahead to map out the future for mental health nursing research, education and practice.

Whilst my head has been somewhere else I see that the Department of Health has now published Positive and Proactive Care: reducing the need for restrictive interventions (something which members of Mental Health Nurse Academics contributed to) and that, yesterday, it was announced that NICE is about to step into the debate on nursing numbers. Here’s how The Guardian reported this:

Nurses in hospitals should not have to look after more than eight patients each at any one time, the body that sets NHS standards will urge next week in a move that will add to pressure to end what critics claim is dangerous understaffing.

Responding to concerns about standards of patient care in the aftermath of the Mid Staffs scandal, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) will warn that registered nurses’ workloads should not exceed that number because patients’ safety could be put at risk.

The regulator’s intervention will intensify the pressure on hospitals, growing numbers of which are in financial difficulty, to hire more staff to tackle shortages even though many have little spare money. Campaigners on the subject believe at least 20,000 extra nurses are urgently needed at a cost of about £700m.

This looks to be a very important intervention indeed, with all sorts of potential implications. It will be interesting to see how policymakers respond. I also wonder how this debate will play out in the context of community health care, and whether we might expect some kind of consideration of caseload sizes. This is a fiendishly difficult area, and is far more complex than simply saying that (for example) ‘each community mental health nurse should have a caseload of no more than x‘.

I also see that Community Care has been continuing to highlight the extraordinary pressures facing people working in, and using, the mental health system. Austerity is very harmful, and Community Care is drawing necessary attention to the problems of lack of beds, funding cuts and retractions in community services.

Before I get my head back down into report-writing here’s a final plug, this time to a piece Michael Coffey has written over on the MHNAUK blog:

As we roll up to the end of April and summer is just around the corner the planning of our next meeting is starting to fall into some sort of shape. MHNAUK meetings usually take the form of morning presentations and afternoon group business items. After a meeting devoted to group strategy and plans in Cardiff in the Spring of 2013 we have attempted to get work done in our meetings and be much more strategic in terms of themes for presentations and outputs arising from these. This has meant that in the past year we have focused on dementia care and produced a position paper from this and in subsequent meetings we have discussed restrictive practices and physical health care in mental health which will result in further position papers.
For our coming meeting this June we are currently discussing ideas around the history of mental health nursing as one possible theme alongside plans to further our relationships with the mental health nurse consultants group. In addition we will revisit our plans for future themes so that we keep the focus firmly on supporting education and research in our field. Agendas are never truly fully complete and over the next few weeks new items will arise and suggestions will arrive that members feel we must discuss. This is as it should be and I welcome this as evidence of the vitality of the wider group, anyone fancy discussing yet another review of nurse education for instance?

Michael Coffey
Chair of MHNAUK

Welcome meeting for the RiSC project

Yesterday brought a there-and-back trip to Southampton, with esteemed colleagues Nicola Evans and Deborah Edwards, for an NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme welcome meeting for our RiSC project. This was an opportunity to meet with other funded researchers (and very interesting they were, too) and to learn more about how the HS&DR Programme works with investigators over the lifetime of projects and beyond. We also had the chance to present our study, and to field questions from the floor.

On its website the HS&DR Programme says that it:

aims to produce rigorous and relevant evidence on the quality, access and organisation of health services, including costs and outcomes. The programme will enhance the strategic focus on research that matters to the NHS including research on implementation and a range of knowledge mobilisation initiatives. It will be keen to support ambitious evaluative research to improve health services.

And that it:

aims to support a range of types of research including evidence synthesis and primary research. This includes large scale studies of national importance. This means primary research projects which:

  • Address an issue of major strategic importance to the NHS, with the cost in line with the significance of the problem to be investigated
  • Are likely to lead to changes in practice that will have a significant impact on a large number of patients across the UK
  • Aim to fill a clear ‘evidence gap’, and are likely to generate new knowledge of direct relevance to the NHS
  • Have the potential for findings to be applied to other conditions or situations outside the immediate area of research
  • Bring together a team with strong expertise and track record across the full range of relevant disciplines
  • Will be carried out across more than one research site.

A search through the programme’s portfolio of projects turns up a raft of studies of national and international significance, including work (ongoing and completed) led by or involving nurses. Well worth a look, in my view…