Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Patient care in times of change examined at 30th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Conference

24 February 2011
Healthcare planners will need to consider radical changes and redesign of patient services to achieve cost efficiencies as pressure on healthcare funding increases according to Professor Paul Trueman, Professor of Health Economics and Director of Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University who spoke at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) annual Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery Conference.

Approximately 200 nurses and midwives attended RCSI's 30th annual international conference entitled, ‘Promoting Patient Centred Care in Times of Change - the Challenge for Nurses and Midwives' which took place on 23rd and 24th February 2011. Speakers from North America, Australia, The Middle East and across Europe will give global perspectives on the challenges currently facing the nursing and midwifery professions.

Professor Trueman, who delivered the keynote address, spoke about the increasing role of Health Economics in the planning and delivery of modern healthcare and the key role that nurses have to play in evaluating new treatment pathways and methods of service delivery.

'Healthcare planners will need to look beyond just managing drugs and supplies budgets to achieve efficiencies. Although high calibre patient-centred care is the goal of healthcare providers, it is critical that this patient care is cost effective,' said Professor Trueman.

‘Health Economic research to date has had limited input from the nursing community. As the primary point of contact for many patients, nursing professionals are ideally positioned to identify potential improvements and contribute to cost effectiveness studies in service delivery,' concluded Professor Trueman.

Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children
Ms. Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children delivering the opening address.

The conference was opened by Ms. Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children who gave an opening address on the topic ‘Can Human Rights contribute to public sector reform?' Ms. Logan spoke about how, until now, children have been treated as passive recipients on the receiving end of adult decisions making, even when the decision has a profound effect on the children themselves.  Her talk explored promoting a child-centred and human rights-based approach to bring about positive change to the public sector.

Also addressing the conference was Ms. Bernie Corr, Motor Neurone Disease Clinical Nurse Specialist, Beaumont Hospital, who spoke about research into ‘End of Life Decisions and Advance Care Directives in Motor Neurone Disease', which is the first study of its kind in Ireland.

30th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Conference
Pictured (l-r) are Ms. Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children; Dr Áine Colgan, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery; and Professor Eilis McGovern, President of RCSI.

Advance care directives are specific instructions, prepared in advance, that are intended to direct a person's medical care if he or she becomes unable to do so in the future.

‘The failure to address end-of-life decisions and advance care directives can lead to unplanned interventions, such as individuals being put on a ventilator, in patients with Motor Neurone Disease. End of life issues should be discussed early in the disease process and initiated by healthcare professionals. Family consensus on end-of-life decisions is of utmost importance,' said Ms. Corr.   

‘Our study also found that there was ambivalence regarding legalising advance care directives amongst patients, their carers and healthcare professionals and that these study participant's had a preference for disease specific advance care directives. There is a need for increased public information and awareness in this area,' continued Ms Corr. 

30th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Conference
Ms. Edna Woolhead, Vice-Dean of the Board of Faculty Nursing and Midwifery; Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of Department, Faculty of Nusing and Midwifery; Professor Eilis McGovern, President of RCSI;  Ms. Marie Keane, Deputy CEO, Beaumont Hospital, who was awarded an Honorary Fellowship; and Dr Áine Colgan, Dean of the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery.

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the Faculty and School of Nursing and Midwifery at RCSI said: ‘Experts in the field of nursing and midwifery from across the world are addressing today's conference. This year marks our 30th annual international conference which is the longest established nursing conference of its kind in Europe. It's an exciting opportunity for Irish and international healthcare professionals to come together and discuss the very latest global research, knowledge and thinking and work together to optimise our healthcare systems. It is encouraging to see an increasing number of Irish nurses and midwives presenting each year which is a positive indication for the future of the profession in Ireland.'