Falls are a relatively common occurrence in older people and can have serious consequences for their health and independence. Many falls are preventable, and the annual review provides an excellent opportunity for practice nurses to consider how long term conditions and medication may 'push' an elderly patient into a fall.
Some patients with advanced kidney disease may prefer not to receive treatment with dialysis. Conservative management describes the care designed to relieve these patients' symptoms and maximise their health during their remaining months or years. By working with local renal and palliative services, practice nurses and other primary healthcare professionals will play a major role in ensuring a good death for kidney patients opting for conservative management.
Approximately 5% of adults aged over 40 years have stable angina, appear on our coronary heart disease (CHD) registers and are recalled at least annually for reviews. People with angina are often prescribed four or more regular items, and it is widely believed that patients are more likely to take their medicines effectively when they agree to their prescription and feel involved in decision-making. The medication review involves patients in prescribing decisions, and supports them in taking their medicines most effectively, so improving health outcomes and satisfaction with their care.
Urea and electrolytes (U&E) are the most commonly requested tests that we send to the laboratory. In fact, U&E are so routine that it is easy to take them for granted, but they are an essential aid to the diagnosis of kidney disease. It is important for practice nurses to understand why and when U&E are ordered, and how to act on the results if kidney problems are suspected.
Deaths from cardiovascular disease have fallen over the last 20 years but people with schizophrenia and bipolar illness have not shared in these benefits. At the end of last year the first National Audit of Schizophrenia highlighted important deficiencies in management. A systematic care pathway, and straightforward screening, treatment and follow-up in primary care could reduce the continuing health inequalities experienced by people with severe mental illness.
Lifestyle modification for people at high cardiovascular risk includes positive changes to their diet. The portfolio diet is a new approach to lowering cholesterol that builds on a conventional cardioprotective diet by including specific foods that are known to target abnormal lipids.
Alcohol forms part of the diet for over 90% of adults in the UK and is unusual in being both a nutrient and a drug. For many of us, alcohol is a safe and pleasurable part of the diet. However, there is growing concern that many people who see themselves as social drinkers are consuming levels that may cause harm. Understanding how to assess safe levels of alcohol consumption and identify strategies for cutting down can help us to advise our patients how to moderate their intake.
Clots are life-saving in the right place at the right time, when they can stop us bleeding to death. But a clot in the wrong place can spell disaster, leading to heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. This article explains why life-threatening clots can develop so quickly, what can be done to prevent them, and how each type of clot is treated.