New antibiotics service at King’s Mill Hospital helps patients get home quicker.
A new service at King’s Mill Hospital is helping patients who would normally need to stay in hospital for intravenous antibiotics get home quicker, not only meaning they can get back to their everyday life, but also making beds available during the busiest time for the NHS.
The new Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) service offers an alternative to an inpatient stay for patients that are otherwise able to go home but need to continue a course of intravenous antibiotics. It means that patients can go back to the comfort of their own home, hobbies and work, whilst their treatment continues to be administered in the OPAT clinic at King’s Mill Hospital or their own home.
This new service was introduced for eligible respiratory patients in December. Normally, patients who require antibiotics intravenously are kept in hospital for the duration of the course of antibiotics. This new service means that patients can be fitted with a midline or PICC line, which are both thin tubes that are inserted into a large vein in the arm so that antibiotics can be delivered directly to the bloodstream, before going home. They then return to the OPAT clinic at King’s Mill Hospital each day or have their antibiotics at home for the duration of the course, which is normally around two to three weeks.
Jeff Roper, 73 from Shirebrook, is a regular patient at King’s Mill Hospital due to his asthma, which he has suffered with since the age of eight. In December last year he became the first patient to benefit from the new OPAT service. He was admitted to King’s Mill Hospital with Bronchiectasis at the beginning of December, an infection which meant Jeff was struggling to breath and needed a course of intravenous antibiotics. After a week in hospital, Jeff was able to go home, just in time to prepare for Christmas, with just daily visits to the clinic for his dose of antibiotics.
Jeff said: “Last time I was in hospital with an infection that affected my breathing I had to stay in for three weeks as I was on a course of intravenous antibiotics where they had to be administered three-times a day, including early morning. This time using the new service has been a very different experience! Within a week I was going home with just a midline catheter in my arm knowing that I just had to come back to clinic each day, which is easy for me as I’m so local.”
Jeff was fitted with a catheter as well as a small infuser pump which means his three daily doses are administered over a 24-hour period, with just one visit to the clinic each day to change the infuser pump.
He added: “The midline and pump is very compact and comfortable and I’m much more comfortable at home and sleeping better than I would be if I was in hospital. Getting back to normality so soon has been brilliant. It wouldn’t have been ideal being in hospital close to Christmas anyway, but there was a risk that if I was still in hospital I would be for Christmas day too.
“It was nice to get home to my wife and get back into a routine. When I’m in hospital for long periods of time, I forget what I’m doing and lose a routine. I’m enjoying being back so quickly.”
Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ OPAT Lead Nurse, Kimberley Whysall, said: “This new service operates a seven-day service, 365 days of the year. It is a positive change for Sherwood Forest Hospitals as it means patients who are eligible for this type of treatment can get back home much sooner, enabling them to get back to their normal daily activities and feel more comfortable and settled within their own surroundings. It also helps patients feel like they have more choice and control over their treatment, especially as the OPAT service offers patients a choice from self-administration at home where patients or their carers are taught how to administer their antibiotics independently to nurse-led administration within the clinic or at the patient’s home.
“We’re starting the service within the respiratory speciality, but we will be expanding to other specialities within the hospital.
“I feel very proud to be part of such a dedicated team that are having a really positive impact on patients’ experience and, as we know, anything that gets patients home faster is ultimately better for them and their recovery. It also means that at our busiest time, over the winter months, we can use acute beds within the hospital for patients that require admission.”