First-of-a-kind care home study reduces need for medication

First-of-a-kind care home study reduces need for medication

Residents and colleagues from Cameron House Care Home in Bury have been involved in a unique research study with The University of Salford and body positioning equipment specialists, Simple Stuff Works

 The study set out to see if night time positioning products could benefit adults with health conditions such as Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and dementia, which mean they often spend long periods of time lay down in one position. This can cause problems with breathing, digestion, circulation and negatively affect mood. 

Helping to alleviate these side-affects, the night-time positioning equipment uses specially designed pillows and support systems to take pressure off the body, make sleeping more comfortable and prevent residents rolling into harmful positions.

The study involved 12 residents and looked at factors such as pain levels, sleep quality, choke risk, skin health, oxygen levels in the blood, food and drink intake and overall mood. A personal prescription for the night time positioning equipment was then made for each resident over a duration of 12 weeks. All colleagues at Cameron House helped to support the study, with five completing equipment training.

The results showed significant improvements to residents’ quality of life, including improved sleep for most (70%) of the participants. Almost two thirds (60%) reported less pain and the remaining 40% had no pain, including a resident amputee who no longer experienced phantom pain in his leg by the end of the study. 

Pain medication (Analgesia) was reduced or discontinued in 40% of the participants, while Asthma medication was also discontinued for one participant by the end of the study. 20% also saw a reduction in laxative medication.

Depression was decreased by almost a third (30%), with colleagues reporting more social engagement in the day amongst the residents involved, such as taking part in activities and games and better interactions when relatives came to visit.

Food and fluid intake was also improved with 50% of the residents gaining weight which is beneficial to people suffering from a deteriorating condition. Choke risk was also reduced by half (50%), including one participant who started the study requiring continuous assisted feeding while seated/lying in bed, but by week twelve he was able to sit unaided and feed himself bacon on toast and drink a cup of tea.

Lead nurse at Cameron House, Craig Priestly said: “The study was a fantastic success benefiting residents and colleagues and further integrating the home with the community. We put residents at the heart of everything we do at Four Seasons Health Care and valuable research such as this helps to improve future care practice and give residents a better quality of life.” 

Melanie Stephens, Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing at Salford University added: “The training had a positive impact on staff at the home, highlighted in their confidence and ability to apply their new knowledge and skills in recognising postural requirements of new residents to the home.”

Carol Bartley, lecturer in Occupational Therapy from the University of Salford, added: “Many health professionals use this equipment and have been calling for research into the effect it has on adults with complex needs, but this is the first time that any serious analysis has been carried out. We’ve found the effects have been considerable across a wide range of factors.”

Although similar studies have been carried out with children, this is the first of its kind with adults. Melanie and Carol are now calling for more research to be carried out into the effects of the equipment on a wider group including younger adults.

Anna Waugh from Simple Stuff Works commented on the study: “We’re very proud to have been involved with the research project at Cameron House and were hopeful that our equipment would provide comfort and support for residents in the study. It was simply wonderful to receive the feedback from the team that the project was so successful.

“The dedication from the team at Cameron House towards improving residents’ quality of life was clear to see. It will be great to see how many more people we can support by working together in the future.”

Find out more in the video below:  

Date published: 17 October 2018

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