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Liver disease framework launched

A new framework has been launched today (12 February 2013) to help nursing staff better identify the symptoms of liver disease.

“This framework sets out professional standards for nurses who care for liver disease patients,” said Janet Davies, director of nursing and service delivery at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

'Extremely useful'

Davies said guidelines will be “extremely useful” for all nursing staff as it demonstrates “the wide ranging influence that nurses have on patient health”.

Including information on preventative work to help patients make healthier lifestyle choices by spotting symptoms early, the framework is part of a national campaign to address liver disease.

Identifying those at risk

Launched by the RCN and NHS Liver Care, the framework will help nurses identify those most at risk.

Beverly Matthews, NHS Liver Care director said: “Everyone in the NHS can help to prevent people from dying prematurely from liver disease, a key national priority in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

“This framework is suitable for all healthcare professionals who care for liver patients, to support them in identifying those most at risk and providing high quality, effective care.”

'Empowering' nurses

The three main disease risk factors are alcohol use, viral hepatitis and non fatty liver disease due to obesity.

Davies believes the role nurses play at a community level could help fight the spread of the disease.

She said: “Liver disease is becoming so widespread it will soon be relevant to all nurses, who can play a role in prevention because they can work with patients to encourage healthier lifestyles.”

British Liver Trust chief executive Andrew Langford agreed. He said: “By empowering nurses with this well thought out framework, patients will inevitably benefit from better care, treatment and support.”