On this month’s cover, refugees clash with police as they attempt to cross the border into Macedonia from Greece. The photo, taken last August, depicts a chaotic scene that has become increasingly familiar as large numbers of migrants flee to Europe from the Middle East and Africa. At press time, the International Organization for Migration estimated that more than 832,000 refugees had crossed Europe’s borders by sea since January 2015. Many migrants, including those from Syria, are risking their lives to escape violence, destitution, and displacement caused by civil war.
Health concerns have arisen as Europe struggles to absorb the huge surge of arrivals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overcrowding in receiving facilities has led to unsanitary living conditions and instances of food- and waterborne diseases. But the journey itself also takes a toll: the WHO reports that injuries, burns, and psychological trauma are among the most frequent health problems refugees face. Those with chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension find their diseases worsened by the interruption of treatment, and women suffer from pregnancy-related complications and sexual health issues.
As policy makers grapple with responding to the influx, the crisis is likely to remain a key global political and health issue in 2016. To read about this and other top health-related news stories of the past year related to nursing and health care policy in the United States, see “AJN’s Year in Review: 2015.”
Some other articles of note in the January issue:
CE Feature: “Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Current Considerations in Symptom Management.” Fibromyalgia syndrome, one of the most common rheumatic disorders, is estimated to affect up to 15 million people in the United States. Management of its symptoms appears to be best addressed using a multimodal approach, with treatment strategies tailored to the individual. This article describes the existing treatment guidelines, discusses pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches, and outlines nursing approaches aimed at enhancing patient self-management.
CE Feature: “Many Benefits, Little Risk: The Use of Massage in Nursing Practice.” Massage therapy was once taught as a core nursing skill, but it gradually lost ground in the United States during the second half of the 20th century. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence in the use of massage therapy. In this article, the authors touch on the history of massage in nursing care and discuss its emotional and physiologic benefits for both patient and nurse. They describe specific massage techniques and specific massage equipment like the top handheld massagers for 2017, and then discuss precautions to consider before using massage with certain patients.
Cultivating Quality: “Beyond Socks, Signs, and Alarms: A Reflective Accountability Model for Fall Prevention.” Despite standard fall precautions, one cardiac intermediate care unit had a 41% increase in the rate of falls and a 65% increase in the rate of falls with injury between 2012 and 2013. This article describes how a group of clinical nurses developed an accountability care program featuring nurse self-reflection that successfully led to a decrease in falls.