Newcastle University student projects within NCMD to improve patient care

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A group of Newcastle University students are working on various projects within the NCMD to improve patient care.

Zoe Hobro-Orluta is part of a feasibility study aiming to help develop the capability for the inpatient psychiatric units to deliver cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia (CBTi). It is hoped that management of sleep disturbance on the wards improves as a whole with this study and that, in the future, staff will be better able to identify sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Restless Legs Syndrome. Zoe is working with a team that includes Dr Carolyn John, lead inpatient clinical psychologist in NTW trust and neurologist and sleep expert, Dr Kirstie Anderson.

Morgan Irving has joined Team Lithium, who aim to better understand the effects of lithium on the brain so it can be used to its full efficacy in the treatment of people with bipolar disorder. Morgan is working on the current BLISS Study which is using novel Li-MRI to identify early predictors of good response to Lithium treatment. She is also involved in the set-up of R-LiNK: an international initiative spread across 15 centres in Europe to understand early biomarkers of Lithium response.

Sophie Langdon is creating an algorithm for the development of e-pathways that will lead clinical decision making for professionals working with patients with bipolar disorder. Talking about the project Sophie said, "It’s really important that patients always have access to the best available treatment and these pathways should improve the experience for patients across the trust."

Esther Matupi is working with the Regional Affective Disorder Service (RADS), exploring the use of an app-based cognitive dysfunction tool called THINC-it in depression and other mood disorders. The work will include validating the tool against other cognitive dysfunction batteries to determine its use for tracking patients' progress within the service.

Dannielle McKenna and Hannah Murphy are investigating the use of the Mental Health Act since its introduction in 1983 via various projects. They are analysing police custody data for those referred to liaison and diversion service in Newcastle, in order to see the effects of a recently introduced screening tool. They which they plan to present this data at the Forensic/Police liaison CPD Event 2017. They are also involved in planning a study to collect service user feedback on the Street Triage service in the hope to improve future service-user experience.