Caring for patients with neurological conditions
What is neuroscience nursing?
Neuroscience nurses care for people with a variety of neurological conditions and disorders across the lifespan and in all health care settings. There are many specialities encompassed within this field of practice including (but not limited to) the following:
- neurotrauma, e.g. brain and spinal cord injury
- Neuroscience critical/intensive care
- long-term neurological conditions, e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy
- life-limiting neurological conditions, e.g. motor neurone disease, Huntingdon’s disease.
Understanding long-term neurological conditions
Most people with long-term neurological conditions live active and fulfilling lives and are cared for out of hospital, but may require admission to hospital for reasons that may or may not be related to their disorder. Many people will be supported by a specialist nurse and nursing team during their hospital stay, but since the publication of the National Service Framework: long term conditions (DH 2005) it has been recognised that when people are admitted to hospital for reasons other than their neurological condition, their neurological needs are not always met.
The RCN believes that caring for people with a neurological condition is everyone’s responsibility and nurses and health care professionals need to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to be able to meet their needs. To this end the RCN, through the Neuroscience Forum, has been working on developing learning materials to facilitate the professional development of the nursing workforce, and we work in collaboration with the MND Association to enhance the care provided to people with motor neurone disease.
RCN members with an interest in caring for people with neurological conditions may join the Neuroscience Forum to both take advantage of and contribute to the development of the RCN professional offer in this specialism. The Neuroscience Forum also runs a Facebook group as a place where you can get involved in honest and open discussions on the issues that affect you and your field of practice.
Related to overview of neuroscience nursing:
Professional lead for overview of neuroscience nursing:
- NICE, 8 January 2021. NICE has published the Suspected neurological conditions quality standard. This quality standard covers assessing and referring children (under 16) and adults (16 and over) who have symptoms or signs associated with neurological conditions. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.
- NHS England, 16 August 2019. Improved NHS care for Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease to save 2,500 hospital trips