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# Unit 7: Effective Healthcare Practice using Maths

 Unit code J/616/1642 Unit level 4 Credit value 15

Introduction

Numeracy is a fundamental skill in all aspects of healthcare. Healthcare workers need good confidence and skills in measuring, calculating and recording data to support service user outcomes, and improve the quality of care. To work as healthcare practitioners, they need to understand the interrelationship between numeracy, physiology and biochemical processes in the body. The strength of workers’ numeracy skills can significantly affect the health outcomes of individuals they are providing care for. They must appreciate that inaccurate calculations can lead to serious consequences, e.g. incorrect dosages of medicines being administered can have serious adverse and even fatal effects on a patient in their care.

In this unit, students will learn to apply mathematical principles and appreciate the scientific rationale for the information they are collecting and the methods they are using. They must be able to understand the significance of the results they obtain and explain the scientific basis for that significance.

Topics included in this unit include the contextual use of mathematical methods which will include: selecting relevant information for different purposes and the observation and recording of different forms of data, using mathematical methods such as: fractions, decimals, ratio, percentages, averages and unit conversion for different purposes, e.g. in obtaining and analysing physiological readings, medication administration and management. The scientific rationale for the information and methods used include the biochemistry of disease, disorder and lifestyle choices.

The ability to use mathematical methods accurately and the understanding of the scientific rationale for those methods is intrinsic to the caring professions and is a skill that students will need in any area of healthcare that they progress to.

## Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

1      Explain different purposes of mathematical information used in healthcare practice

2      Apply mathematical methods accurately to report on and work to improve individuals’ health status

3      Investigate the scientific rationale of the mathematical methods and information used to predict health outcomes

4      Assess the implications of the use of mathematical methods and scientific rationales for healthcare practice

# Unit 7: Effective Healthcare Practice using Maths

##### LO1 Explain different purposes of mathematical information used in healthcare practice

Types of information

Physiological readings, e.g. temperature, pulse, blood pressure, body mass index.

Laboratory test results, e.g. cholesterol level, blood cell counts, urine analysis

Routine measurements for day-to-day working, e.g. maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, ensuring safe working practices, e.g. risk assessments

Time, e.g. timesheets, supporting patients/clients to maintain their medications regime, managing daily timetables and activities

Reliability and validity of different mathematical information Purposes

Predicting healthcare outcomes Diagnosis of conditions

Monitoring health status, e.g. emergency interventions Maintaining a healthy and safe work environment Supporting efficient delivery of services.

Primary sources

Direct readings or measurements from the service user Laboratory results from samples

Measurements of materials or equipment used, e.g. new technology

Challenges in obtaining primary data

Service user permission

Practical issues when taking readings such as the problems caused by obesity, weak pulse

Cultural issues e.g. objections to practitioners of a different gender Communication barriers

Availability and accessibility of equipment Time constraints

Environmental factors, e.g. space

##### LO2 Apply mathematical methods accurately to report on and work to improve individuals’ health status

Barriers that prevent people applying methods accurately Confidence in applying mathematical methods Preconceptions about the difficulty of maths

Accessing the language used in maths Distraction

Time constraints Environmental factors Personal factors

Training on technology and equipment used

Reporting of data, associated barriers and tools

Drug charts

Physiological measurement charts Interpreting charts

Electronic methods of reporting data, e.g. electronic patient records, spreadsheet

Purposes of repeated observations or measurements

Interpreting diagnostic tools, e.g. body mass index (BMI), cholesterol ratios. Purposes of reporting data, e.g. handover

Practitioners responsible for the handling, use and management of data

Issues of accuracy, reliability and validity of methods of reporting and data reported

Communication of data, associated barriers and tools

Communication of data to other professionals through appropriate reporting systems such as handover meetings, medical recording charts

Reporting concerns and seeking support

Responding to data out of normal ranges, e.g. change in temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels

Issues regarding confidentiality and respect for privacy Awareness of own responsibilities and limitations

Drawing conclusions from data taking into account different factors Making suggestions and recommendations and impact on care planning

##### LO3 Investigate the scientific rationale of the mathematical methods and information used to predict health outcomes

Recognition of the significance of normal and abnormal data, and the systems used to respond to abnormal data.

Linking abnormal readings to the potential biochemical and physiological significance of those readings

Physiological data

e.g.

Body mass index (BMI), problems with body composition, poor indicator of individual health, use in large populations

Cholesterol levels, HDL:LDL ratios Blood cell counts (immune response)

Factors affecting data collection and accuracy

e.g.

white coat syndrome

delays between sample collection and laboratory analysis individual service user factors

Scientific rationales

Relationship to biochemical processes

Interpreting physiological data to diagnose, monitor, manage and treat conditions

Using evidence of statistical significance to measure physiological efficacy of interventions

##### LO4 Assess the implications of the use of mathematical methods and scientific rationales for healthcare practice

Potential effects on service users’ outcomes and wellbeing

Application of mathematical methods, e.g. measuring and recording vital signs

Understanding of the scientific rationales, e.g. the effects of dosage of medicines, the effect of administration of medicine (both timely and missed)

Impact on healthcare practice Impact on service user Impact on the practitioner Implications for the service

Policies and procedures that are used to reduce the likelihood and /or impact of mistakes due to the inaccurate application of mathematical methods, and poor understanding of the scientific rationales

e.g.

policies ensuring that dosage calculations are double checked procedures to ensure timely use of medicines.

Legislation designed to prevent the consequences of mistakes due to the inaccurate application of mathematical methods, and poor understanding of the scientific rationales.

The impact of accurate use of mathematical methods on outcomes and wellbeing

Improved prognosis and health outcomes Early detection of changes in health status Timely intervention

Increased trust in practitioners and the service

More efficient management of the care of all service users

## Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria

 Pass Merit Distinction LO1 Explain different purposes of mathematical information used in healthcare practice P1 Describe different types and sources and purposes of mathematical information used in a healthcare context P2 Explain potential challenges faced in obtaining primary data in healthcare settings M1 Explain in detail strategies to address the potential challenges faced in obtaining mathematical data for different purposes in healthcare settings D1 Justify the use of specific sources to obtain mathematical information for different purposes in healthcare settings LO2 Apply mathematical methods accurately to report on and work to improve individuals’ health status P3 Safely monitor different aspects of an individual’s health status P4 Report on own data collection to healthcare professionals using appropriate tools, formats and communication systems in a healthcare setting M2 Interrogate barriers affecting own use of mathematical tools, formats and communication systems to solve problems and predict health outcomes LO2 and LO3 D2 Critically review the efficacy of own data collection in solving problems and predicting health outcomes for different individuals in healthcare settings LO3 Investigate the scientific rationale of the mathematical methods and information used to predict health outcomes P5 Explain the scientific rationale for own data collection in a healthcare context P6 Explain the scientific basis of own interpretation of the results of mathematical data collection M3 Analyse the biochemical and physiological significance of data obtained that falls outside normal ranges

# Unit 7: Effective Healthcare Practice using Maths

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