For Parish Nurses

Parish Nurse Research Update

 Dear Parish Nurses:  The beginning of a new year gives us pause to contemplate how we can fill this new year showing God's love to his children.  Below are some articles that may assist you in this endeavor. 

1.  Powell-Cope, G., Pippins, K. M. and Young, H. M. (2017).  Teaching family caregivers to assist safely with mobility.  AJN: 117 (12), 49-53.  While this article is not research it has valuable information for caregivers.  This article is part of a series of articles in collaboration with AARP focusing on supporting caregivers.  The article contains an informational tear sheet - Information for Family Caregivers - that contains links to instructional videos.  The videos are available in English and Spanish.  If you congregation has an elder population with mobility problems, please consider reading this article and sharing the informational sheet with caregivers.

2.  Long, J. D. and Morris, A. (2017).  Probiotics in preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections. AJN: 117 (12), 69. This article reviewed 13 randomized controlled studies on this subject.  Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) include the common cold, imflammation of the trachea and larynx, rhinosinusitis, and otis media.  In the United States, URTIs are the most common ailments for which people seek medical care resulting in up to 75% of antibiotics prescriptions for treatment.  Antibiotic overuse is a major contributor to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Probiotics are living microorganisms that may improve health by bolstering local and systemic immunity.  Their mechaism of action is thought to occur through enhanced phagocytic capacity and activity, stimulation of higher levels of specific immunoglobulins, and the enhancement of gut barrier frunctions.  They are often consummed  in fermented foods (such as yogurt) or dietary supplements.  Data was collected from 13 studies with a total of 3,720 participants.  It was found that probiotics are effective in reducing the number of participants who experienced episodes of acute URTI by 47% and the duration of episode by about 1.89 days. They also slightly reduced antibiotic use and cold-related school absences.  In older participants, they did not reduce the rate of URTIs but the duration of the infection was decreased.   The authors questioned the results due to overall quality of the evidence, research design limitations and reporting and suggested additional research on the topic.

OK, so the research doesn't show really significant results, but  please consider suggesting to your congregation inclusion of yogurt in their children's food choices.  It is a good source of calcium and can help with URTIs.

3. Darby, M. (2017) Shut up and let the women speak. AJN: 117(12), 72.  This short reflection has nothing to do with research but the message is relevant to all of us.  The author wrote about an experience in another country involving women discussing and making plans to request a medical clinic in their village.  The important lesson is to let the "people" talk about their needs and implement strategies to address the needs - you, as the parish nurse, don't need to insert your opinions or actions into the dialogue.  Let the people take control and plan for ways to meet their own needs.  You only have to assist them in meeting their needs and pose questions that will help that goal. 

4.  McDougall, Jr., G. J. (2017). Assessing and addressing cognitive impairment in the elderly.  American Nurse Today: 12 (2), 14-19. While this is a continuing education article, there is a review of research addressing the issue of cognitive function.  This article contains important information that can be shared with your  members of your congregation dealing with family who are experiencing cognitive deline.   One study supported the idea that brain exercises via computer games may improve memory and attention.  There has been a push in the media that "playing" computer games will stall cognitive decline, but research shows mixed results in this area. The important point was that any improvement "isn't likely to improve an individual's ability to organize and comply with daily medications adherence".   The author suggested that more information will be needed in the future as more of the population reaches the ages most effected by cognitive impairment. 


Andrea M. West