• A pilot project using computer tablets to help elderly Indigenous people keep track of their health has been hailed a success.
• A ruling of unsatisfactory professional conduct has been made over an Orange midwife’s care for a woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby.
• Having friends who use social media to show off their “boozy” social lives can impact young people’s drinking habits, research from the University of Sydney has found.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A pilot project using computer tablets to help elderly Indigenous people keep track of their health has been hailed a success.
Under the Commonwealth funded trial, 111 Indigenous patients over the age of 50 were given tablets and smartphones to help monitor their chronic disease symptoms at home.
The 18-month trial was conducted in four locations in New South Wales and Queensland, including Toowoomba in the state’s south.
Professor Colleen Cartwright was asked to evaluate the project.
She said patients were able to send their readings to a nurse in real-time who could then call for extra help if required.
“She would then use her knowledge of people to decide what action to take and then another man … [might] look at his blood glucose [and say] I’ve got to send the ambulance now,” she said.
“The nurse didn’t have to try and get around to everyone’s house every day, people were monitored and protected.”
She said the trial reduced the costs of hospital[s] and doctor visits and also dispelled the myth that older people and technology did not mix.
“Most of these people with a couple of training sessions are quite competent to use the equipment,” she said.
Professor Cartwright will present her findings at the National Rural Health Conference in Darwin today.
A ruling of unsatisfactory professional conduct has been made over an Orange midwife’s care for a woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby.
The Health Care Complaints Commission made a complaint of ‘unsatisfactory professional conduct’.
The state’s Nursing and Midwifery Professional Standards Committee has cautioned and reprimanded Frances Maree Bull.
The HCCC complained that in December 2012, at the Orange Hospital, Ms Bull inaccurately assessed and interpreted data on a baby’s heart-rate.
It also found Ms Bull didn’t properly escalate care for the baby’s mother and provided the woman with morphine and a drip without authorisation.
The baby was stillborn.
The Committee said Ms Bull could offer no explanation as to why she didn’t seek authorisation for the morphine and found the action was significantly below the standard expected.
Ms Bull was cautioned by the HCCC for one failure to escalate care, formally reprimanding her for the remaining actions.
The Committee says since the incident Ms Bull has participated in ‘performance improvement’ processes and done extra training.
Its ruling says while Ms Bull’s actions fell below the professional standards expected, she continues to be a good midwife, is respected by colleagues and has the necessary training and experience.
Having friends who use social media to show off their “boozy” social lives can impact young people’s drinking habits, research from the University of Sydney has found.
According to the study, Facebook profiles that portray excessive alcohol use exacerbate drinking habits in young people, but when these misperceptions are corrected, drinking is reduced by up to 50 per cent.
“Peer influence has been shown to be one of the leading motivations for young people drinking,” Dr Bradley Ridout, a psychologist and the lead researcher on the study, said.
“If we can use social media to counter this misinformation, it’s very exciting.”
The researchers targeted a group of first-year university students they identified as “risky drinkers”, and used Facebook to privately message them, comparing the individual’s drinking habits to their classmates, and pointing out incorrect assumptions about their friends’ drinking levels.
The results surprised the researchers, who said those who received feedback halved their drinking from 40 to 20 drinks per month.
The Facebook intervention saw changes that were still sustained three months later.
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