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Clinical Simulation Sessions during COVID19 – setting up the ‘Simbulance’ at St James’ Manchester

As we described in a previous blog, the biggest change to our practical sessions has been student numbers. Luke Hinchliffe, Simulation and Skills Support Assistant based at St James’ Manchester demonstrates how he cleans the ‘simulation ambulance’ before and after every session.

Luke says, in the past there would be maybe 4 or 5 students alongside the tutor in the back of the ambulance but now, due to social distancing guidelines, we can only allow 2 students at a time and they will have to wear full PPE due to the small space although the lab itself is quite large and is well ventilated.

Find out more about our facility at St James’ Manchester here

Clinical Skills Sessions during COVID19

As the staff and students begin to trickle back to a ‘new normal’ way teaching and learning, I met with Beth Spencer, one of our Clinical Skills Support Co-ordinators to find out how setting up and breaking down sessions has changed as new COVID measures are introduced.

Beth explains that the biggest challenge is the decrease in the number of students able to practice skills at any one time. ‘We would regularly have 10 to 20 students per session but now we can only accommodate a maximum of 6 around any workstation’

Other changes include the following:

  • All staff, students and visitors are asked to wash their hands upon entering the building and are encouraged to use the hand sanitisers located throughout.
  • The doors all remain open to avoid touching the handles.
  • The windows remain open to provide ventilation, however there is air conditioning units in all rooms which provide freshly circulate air from outside.
  • All staff and students must wear PPE which is provided upon entering the room, this includes a disposable apron, gloves and face mask. All PPE equipment is disposed of and students wash their hands before leaving the room.
  • Students only bring the equipment needed for the session, all other belongings are left in lockers.
  • The surfaces and all equipment are fully sanitised before and after each session. Alongside Facilities Management staff who regularly clean the building throughout the day.
  • The room is then aired for an hour after each session and before the next group of students are allowed in.
  • To further help with social distancing, each floor of the building is on staggered start times so traffic on the corridors and in communal areas is kept to a minimum.

Watch as Beth demonstrates setting up equipment for day to day clinical skills sessions such as venepuncture, injection technique, cannulation and catheterisation in the clinical skills labs.

Celebrating Healthcare Simulation Week 14th – 18th September at Edge Hill University

Simulation is a practice learning technique used at Edge Hill University to enhance the confidence and skills of our Health and Social Care students. It is a technique which aims to replicate ‘real-life’ patient scenarios, providing a safe space in which students can work together and demonstrate their skills in an immersive and controlled environment.

Simulation and Skills Education is based within our Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre at our Ormskirk Campus, alongside St James’ in Manchester City Centre and facilities at Alder Hey’s Institute in the Park. You can learn more about our Simulation and Skills Education facilities below:

Alder Hey Institute in the Park

Healthcare Simulation Week was created to celebrate the work of global professionals who use simulation and to raise awareness nationwide about how healthcare simulation is leading to safer patient care.

You can follow along with Healthcare Simulation Week 2020 at Edge Hill University on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels linked below.

Don’t forget to check out the full Healthcare Simulation Week campaign too, by following @HcSimWeek and #HcSimWeek20 on Twitter!

Facebook 👉

Twitter 👉

Instagram 👉

Dr Tsang presents in Italy

Congratulations to Dr Catherine Tsang, who was invited to chair session 1 on “Cocoa Polyphenols and Health” and present her research on the “Effect of Cocoa Polyphenols on Glucocorticoids and markers of Stress” at the International Society of Cocoa and Chocolate in Health and Medicine 3rd International Congress from the 5-6th December 2019 in Modica, Italy.

The research Catherine has presented is from a recent publication in May 2019 in the journal “Antioxidants”, which involved research at Edge Hill University with an Undergraduate nutrition student funded by the Nutrition Society Internship Award in the summer of 2018.

Royal Society of Medicine Fellow

Dr Catherine Tsang is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) and also a council board member of the RSM Food and Health forum.

As a council member, Catherine has been involved in planning and developing a series of upcoming conferences all taking place at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The next conference will take place in February 2020 around food fortification, followed by a conference in June 2020 around nutrition training in medical curricula.

Dr Tsang has also been invited to contribute to articles on both topics for publication in the Royal Society of Medicine journal – Congratulations!

Claire presents RIF project findings in Berlin

Congratulations to Lecturer in Nutrition and Health, Dr Claire Blennerhassett who visited Berlin earlier this year to present the findings of a RIF project in collaboration with Dr Michael Richards and Dr Fiona Hallet, entitled ‘Parents perceptions of the challenges and barriers to implementing a parent led intervention for food selectivity in children with Autism’.

As a result of a successful application to the Student Opportunity Fund, BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health Student, Elizabeth Edge was involved in producing the abstract, which was accepted and has been acknowledged in the authors of the poster.

Euromed Collaboration

Congratulations to Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition and Health, Dr Catherine Tsang, who has established a new collaboration with Euromed – an International nutraceutical company based in Barcelona.

Euromed are providing their food extracts of pomegranate for research projects at Edge Hill University, looking at the potential anti-adipogenic (I.e. anti obesity) effects of pomegranate polyphenols in a cell culture preadipocyte model system. In addition, the collaboration will also investigate aspects of their effect on memory and cognitive function in humans. This will involve cross faculty work with Edge Hill Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Learn more about Euromed at:

Life with a child with complex needs

My name is Jill and I’m mum to Noah who is 8 years old. He was born with a rare type of interstitial lung disease and following lots of investigations, Noah had a tracheostomy and was put on a 24/7 ventilator with oxygen. He is now only on the ventilator when he is asleep or is poorly which is good. Noah is also now under investigation with the euro team and a clinical geneticist, as they think Noah has further gene abnormalities and some brain damage. I also have another son Oscar who is 6 and is well.

I’ve broken down a few key areas to illustrate some main points:

Diagnosis – children like Noah often have a lot going on, they don’t fit into a ‘box’ and so no one really knows what to suggest – everything is trial and error. There are always further investigations and always other theories which sometimes are investigated and you build your hopes up for an answer, and often there isn’t one. This is really draining and exhausting to think that you’re getting somewhere and actually you’re back to square one.

I am a member of a couple of forums for parents of children with life limiting illnesses and a really common theme is that parents don’t truly feel understood by the general population. The only people that can truly know the horror of life in hospital where literally life is on the line and the medical traumas that we endure at home are people that have lived it – other people who have similar complicated children. Even other family members are often not told what is happening or that there are hospital appointments because everyone wants to say the right thing but there is no right thing to say, and then they try to understand and say something relevant but it ends up being something like ‘ have you ever thought that it might be to do with Hayfever’ and obviously it’s not, but I suppose they don’t know what else to talk about – so it’s better left unsaid.. which actually leads you into feeling more isolated.

Carers – We have a big care package for Noah. Every night overnight and during the daytime at school. I need these carers. I hate having people in the house, those that I wouldn’t choose as my friends ordinarily. I hate having to be fully dressed all the time in my own home because I don’t want carers seeing me with little on. I hate that sometimes I have nothing in common with them and we’ll sit around the kitchen table and actually have nothing to say. Imagine that – when you just want to sit and have your toast but you feel that you need to make conversation but there’s nothing at all to link the two of you. On the other hand carers have a huge impact on the lives of the boys – carers have this job to do but this is our life – a carer leaves and they ask ‘does she not like us any more, when can she come back, why did she leave? It’s such a hard balance. Also many carers find it difficult to include Oscar, my youngest, which leaves him feeling left out and sad. He is always saying that people don’t care about him. Even without carers I have be in the same room as Noah, and Oscar often has to fend for himself – he says it’s not fair – I agree with him – he’s drawn the short straw in many ways.

We’re ruled by time with carers – they always need to finish a shift on time which often cuts our plans short. We have to move mountains to get extra cover if my partner and I want an evening out together. When a shift goes down, I spend most of the day running around contacting people to see what shifts could be rearranged / who is working / free etc. I shouldn’t have to do this, it’s the job of our agency, however I do it quicker as it’s in my best interest to find a solution.

Competencies – they have to be done but Noah hates it – he gets scared when there is someone new practising on him. It’s not nice. Also on competencies days, there’s often 3 medical people around at the same time when I’m trying my best to get the boys ready for their day.

Professionals – some are great, and others are not. I deal with 54 professionals / departments and juggle them all along with running a house and running a company. I know what is happening with every aspect of Noah’s care, whether it be an issue with the EHC at school or the orthotics in his shoes, or that we have to do a sleep study at home. Fifty-four avenues of professionals that are great at their jobs but have no idea what’s going on with each other. This adds time pressure on the MDT / Team around the child, and meetings become less attended which is frustrating. When we were newly out of hospital, everything was very dramatic and unstable with Noah and around twenty people turned up to discuss his treatment and his care – as time has gone on, less and less people attend but Noah is still as sick, still the same diagnosis, still has emergencies.

-Jill, Service User and Carer

Carer vs Caring or a Caring Carer?

I am a non-professional carer for my daughter, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Do you know that the dictionary definition of the word ‘caring’ when used as an adjective is: “feeling or showing care and compassion?” It’s also used by health and social professionals to describe a person or function. For example, nursing is a caring job. On the other hand, when used as a noun, ‘caring’ directly relates to the: “practice or profession of providing social or medical care.”

The problem I discovered is the fact that the “provision of social or medical care” significantly outdistanced the “care and compassion model.” This is because it’s based on the premise that an illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or addiction could / should / will be “cured” purely by medical intervention, which can only be delivered by a professional Carer. Sadly, experience shows that simply targeting the medical condition in isolation and taking no account whatsoever of my daughter’s holistic needs often left her with low expectations, limited choices and diminished control over her own life. 

The “showing care and compassion” model, suggests that it’s not really the illness, impairment or difference at the heart of the problem. It’s the way that society organises itself to artificially create both physical and attitudinal barriers. This is all too often enhanced by the deliberate enforcement of poorly written, outdated, entrenched and often harmful, rules, policies, processes and procedures.  

The role of non-professional carer is open to anyone, from children through to the adults. All those who look after a family member, partner or friend who needs help and cannot cope without their support. It’s rarely a formal career choice, however, on the plus side, age and lack of qualification is no barrier! Mind you, there must be no throwing a sickie, no going home early, no time-out for holidays, what’s more – there’s no pay! 

Unfortunately, such a role is rarely recognised by health professionals. A recent Carers survey showed that over 70% of the 2,000+ carers involved came into direct contact with GPs, doctors and nursing staff during their journey. Yet the health professionals only acknowledged 11% as carers, whilst GPs only recognised 7%.

My experience as a non-professional shows that caring for someone outside of the hospital environment is a twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week commitment! It’s a role that doesn’t simply administer medications, enforce the inflexibility of “protected” mealtimes and the imposition of rigid house rules to treat the condition. 

So, my request to all health professionals, including GP’s, doctors, nurses and students is to recognise and embrace the issues holistically. Being a ‘caring carer’ involves all aspects of communication, information, inclusivity, flexibility, respect, dignity, compassion, connection, availability, as well recognition as a medical expert for the person you care for. That’s the definition of a “caring carer!”

-Allen Bewley, Service User and Carer

Mega Evento Nutriçâo 2019

Dr Julie Abayomi is the new Associate Head of Applied Health and Social Care, who started work at Edge Hill University in June 2019. Dr Margaret Charnley is an Associate Tutor for the nutrition programmes. This August they were lucky enough to be awarded funding from UK The Nutrition Society, to travel to Brazil and attend Mega Evento Nutricao 2019 in Sao Paolo.

‘We were greeted on arrival at Guarulhos airport by the Mega Evento organisers, Cláudio and his wife Sibele, with our workshop scheduled for the following day (Thursday 22nd August). Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, from Cláudio, to the interpreter Marco and the students who attended our sessions.  In the morning we presented a comparison of UK guidelines and Brazilian recommendations on maternal nutrition with guidance to the additional dietary requirements of vulnerable pregnant women. We also held a prize draw, to win 2 editions of the Nutrition Society Human Nutrition textbook, translated into Portuguese, the lucky prize winners were happy to pose for a photograph. In the afternoon we presented our research papers on the experiences and perceptions of midwives in delivering weight management and healthy eating advice to pregnant women with obesity and a Public Patient Involvement investigation into healthy eating and weight management advice during pregnancy, these were both positively received, generating lots of interesting questions.

On Friday (23rdAugust), we visited Sao Paolo University (, specifically their midwifery department (Obstetriz). This is the only midwifery programme for the whole of Brazil and it has been running since 2005. To date they have trained 388 midwives for a population of over 210,000,000 people, so plenty of work to be done. We met with the programme leader Professor Claudia Medeiros de Castro and nutritionist Dr Anna Karenina Azevedo Martins. We presented an overview of our research to staff and students; with lots of interesting discussion afterwards. Hopefully a very successful international collaboration will result from our visit. We would like to thank the Nutrition Society for their help, support and funding to allow this visit to be possible.’

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