QNI News

Education & Societies

Making men better

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has announced a new project funding opportunity for nurses working in the community and primary care.

The new funding stream starts in 2017 and is specifically for projects that help improve men’s health. The deadline is 24 November 2016, projects will commence in March 2017 and last for 12 months. Funding of up to £5000 is available for up to 10 projects, along with a year-long programme of professional support from the QNI.

The programme is open to all nurses who work with male clients of any age. Full guidance and the application form are on the QNI’s website, and nurses who wish to discuss their ideas in advance are encouraged to contact the QNI.

Anne Pearson, the QNI’s Director of Programmes commented:

The Men’s Health Forum states that On average, more than one in five men is still dying between the ages 16 and 65, and more than two in five before the age of 75 – with death rates amongst men in the poorest areas of the country being even worse. Key areas of concern are heart disease, obesity, cancer, suicide, diabetes and poor lifestyle choices (Men’s Health manifesto 2014)

This is an opportunity for all nurses working across specialities including School Nurses, District Nurses, General Practice Nurses, Health Visitors and many others to consider developing a new initiative to support male clients.

The new funding programme is part of the QNI’s Fund for Innovation and Leadership programme, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. Since 1990 the QNI has helped hundreds of nurses turn innovative ideas into reality, benefiting thousands of patients and improving nursing practice in diverse fields of healthcare.

The application guidance and application form can be seen at: http://www.qni.org.uk/for_nurses/project_funding/apply_for_funding_2017

Too many patients, not enough time?

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has published a discussion document on safe caseloads in the District Nursing service.

The document summarises the challenges in managing safe caseloads in the District Nursing service and points to specific actions the QNI believes are necessary to improve and safeguard the future quality of services. It is considered that significant work is required to establish recognised principles of safe caseloads, prediction of patient demand, and the desired clinical outcomes.

The issue of safe caseloads is one that has become increasingly prominent in recent years, as District Nurse teams have seen staff capacity reduced and skill mix become more diluted, at the same time as more care is moved into the community setting. Despite this, there is a lack of robust data about how to measure and predict what a ‘safe caseload’ actually is, which has led to uncertainty among commissioners, service providers and team leaders.

This is something that was clearly articulated in the report, ‘Understanding quality in district nursing services’ published by the King’s Fund on 1 September. The King’s Fund report references previous research by the QNI in this area and the report’s findings are strongly endorsed by the QNI.

The new QNI document provides a thematic overview of the issues that should be taken into account when determining a safe caseload. These include: patient need; complexity of care required; rate of hospital discharge; skill mix within the team; capacity of other health and social care services; use of technology; and local geographic factors such as housing.

Dr Crystal Oldman, QNI chief executive commented:

‘The issue of safe caseloads is one that has been of growing concern to District Nurses in recent years and we receive more questions on this subject than almost any other. This is against a background of overstretched services that are struggling to cope with the number of patients being referred to them for the expert care that they provide.

‘Frequently these are patients with complex long term conditions, who need specialist healthcare in the community for them to be able to live with dignity in their own homes.

‘There is now general recognition among policy makers, commissioners and service planners that we need a stronger framework of principles and measures in order to meet individual and population need. The QNI is committed to excellent care for all patients, families and carers in their homes and communities and understanding all the elements on which a well-resourced District Nursing service can be built and managed is critical to this.

It is intended that this paper will be the catalyst for a wider discussion on safe caseloads in the District Nursing service and the QNI welcomes feedback on the issues covered in the paper.’

The document can be viewed at: http://www.qni.org.uk/docs/Understanding_Safe_Caseloads_in_District_Nursing_Service.pdf