We encourage the open exchange of ideas within an environment that promotes research of the highest quality and integrity. This approach has been crucial in ensuring our research remains relevant to the needs of service users and policy makers, and brings with it real impact for health and social care services.
Partnerships with a variety of cognate disciplines, including nursing, midwifery, allied health professions, health economics, social policy and healthcare management amongst others, have demonstrated or are working towards benefits in a variety of different ways.
Recent influences of our research
Medical Management and Infant Feeding
Work on infant feeding was adopted by the NICE guidelines for intrapartum care (2007). We were the first group to identify a dose-response relationship between epidural fentanyl and chances of breastfeeding. Accordingly, high doses are no longer administered, and NICE recommends a maximum of 100 micrograms. Implementing this change will allow some 20-40,000 more babies breastfed every year in the UK. Recent work, which has received considerable media coverage, has highlighted another association between infant feeding and drugs in labour, which, with further research could increase the numbers of women breastfeeding.
Improving the Delivery of Care – Cardiac Services
Through work with healthcare professionals in South Wales, our health informatics team have developed technology, the first of its kind in the UK, to support the delivery of care to patients with suspected cardiac problems. By speeding up the diagnosis process, and through the reduction of waiting times, the service is better able to respond to patients needs by enabling patients to see a cardiologist within weeks of visiting their GP with symptoms of chest pain or heart failure. The system has since received a National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare award for innovation in healthcare.
Working Time, Health and Safety
A report was commissioned by the International Labour Organization* for the first international policy discussion since 1994 to consider the revision of international standards on hours of work and the development of policy for advancing decent working conditions. The report looked at how the design of work schedules influences outcomes such as fatigue, accident risk, stress and physical illness among employees. It focussed on working time arrangements (e.g. shift patterns, flexible working time arrangements, the number of hours of work per day and per week). The report has informed policy development nationally and internationally.
* ‘The UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights.’
Improving Quality of Life for Vulnerable Groups
Quality of life outcome measures produced by our Social Work and Social Care researchers have proved to be highly sought after. Measures such as QuiLL (Quality of Life in Later Life), MANSA (Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life) and the Lanchashire Quality of Life profile are currently being used throughout the UK and even internationally.
Such is the value of MANSA and QuiLL that they are now used extensively in service evaluations in the UK, and are considered a examples of good practice by the Centre for Policy on Ageing. While internationally they have been adopted in Australia where routine outcome measurement is mandatory. Their translation into other languages including Braille is also underway!