The Health News – 27 July 2016

Overview:
• New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner has defended her handling of an error in a Sydney hospital that led to the death of a newborn baby and left another with severe disabilities. Ms Skinner said both the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital and gas company BOC were responsible for checking the gas line, which administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen to the babies.

• At present, up to 30 per cent of dementia patients are given the medication to control aggressiveness and agitation. Tiffany Jessop, from the University’s Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, said the key to stopping the use of drugs was knowing more about the patient.

• Crucial opportunities to manage bipolar disorder are being missed because patients are waiting, on average of six years, to disclose their symptoms, a new study has shown. The study’s author Professor Matthew Large said the stigmatism attached to mental illness and limits to access for existing treatments were some of the factors that stopped people getting early treatment.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  27th of July 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-26/nsw-baby-death-health-minister-jillian-skinner-profoundly-sorry/7660274

New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner has defended her handling of an error in a Sydney hospital that led to the death of a newborn baby and left another with “severe disabilities”.

Ms Skinner said both the Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital and gas company BOC were responsible for checking the gas line, which administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen to the babies.

She said it was usually up to an anaesthetist to provide the final sign-off on the administration of the gas, and several investigations were underway to determine what went wrong.

The incidents happened in June and July — less than six months after revelations of another scandal at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, where dozens of patients were given incorrect chemotherapy dosages from 2012.

However, Ms Skinner said she would not be resigning over the errors  …

The mother of the baby who died, … told Channel Nine that coming home without her baby was devastating.

“I held my baby. They [brought] him to me at the hospital,” she said.

“I said ‘I want to see him.’

“[I was] just looking at him, shaking. ‘My son, wake up,’ I would tell him. ‘Wake up, wake up. What did they do to you?’

BOC Limited said it was saddened by the incident, and it was important to identify the “exact cause” of the tragedy.

“We deeply regret that these families are suffering pain and sorrow,” the statement said.

The State Opposition called for an independent investigation.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-26/most-dementia-sufferers-in-nursing-homes-dont-need-drugs-study/7654188

Three out of four nursing home residents with dementia who are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs may not need them to stay calm, a new study has found.

At present, up to 30 per cent of dementia patients are given the medication to control aggressiveness and agitation.

Studies show taking the drugs long-term increases the risk of confusion, dizziness, over-sedation, falls and death.

Now a project from the University of New South Wales has tested whether behaviour could be controlled without drugs.

As part of the project, nurses and residential care facility managers were given expert training in identifying and preventing the causes of aggression.

They then passed the training onto other residential care staff and collaborated with families and other health professionals.

Tiffany Jessop, from the University’s Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, said the key to stopping the use of drugs was knowing more about the patient.

Of the 140 patients from greater Sydney who underwent the trial, 75 per cent were able to cease taking anti-psychotic drugs and remained drug free for six months after the change in treatment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-26/bipolar-patients-take-years-to-seek-treatment/7659648

Crucial opportunities to manage bipolar disorder are being missed because patients are waiting, on average of six years, to disclose their symptoms, a new study has shown.

The joint University of New South Wales and Italian study analysed data from 27 studies, involving more than 9,000 bipolar disorder patients.

The study’s author Professor Matthew Large said it often took years for people to present with the illness.

“If you look at a population of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they believe … that the first signs and onset of their illness was on average six years earlier than the time at which they were receiving treatment, or diagnosed, or admitted to hospital,” he said.

Professor Large said the stigmatism attached to mental illness and limits to access for existing treatments were some of the factors that stopped people getting early treatment.

He said the symptoms of bipolar disorder were also common in other mental illnesses, making diagnosis more difficult, or masked by substance abuse.

Professor Large said the delay in reporting symptoms of bipolar was often more pronounced in young people.

He said parents and doctors might overlook the warning signs, dismissing them as teenage moodiness.

 

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