Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board are trialing a new service, believed to be the first of its kind in Wales, which allows patients to leave hospital sooner.
The trial involves the use of an Accufuser pump. This is a disposable pump that delivers intravenous (IV) medication slowly over time. The pump is being piloted by the health board’s @home team to deliver antibiotics to patients in their own homes.
Through the trial, patients who need intravenous antibiotics administered several times a day, and fit the criteria, are able to leave hospital sooner than expected. The IV @Home nursing team prepare the Accufuser pump in the patient’s home before attaching it to the patient. The pump consists of a balloon containing the antibiotic within a plastic egg. The antibiotic is released slowly into the bloodstream throughout the day.
24 hours later the nurse then replaces the pump. The pump is small enough for patients to go about their normal day in the meantime, carrying it around with them in their pocket.
Jacqui Morgan, Interim Senior Nurse for the @Home service said the benefits for patients are enormous:
“Previously these patients would have had to stay in hospital and wouldn’t have been able to go home. Now, medication that previously had to be given 2-4 times a day by a nurse, can be cut down to once a day.
“Patients can come home, be looked after and go back to normal life as much as possible. At the same time it frees up beds in the hospital for those that need them.”
Hayden Thomas, 78 from Tonyrefail was one of the first patients to be treated in the trial. He said:
“I originally went to the hospital for just a check-up and ended up having to stay in over Christmas and New Year. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had a hospital stay and it was very frustrating. Being in hospital made me feel low.
“One of the doctors asked if I wanted to go home and if I’d be able to help them out with the trial. It was a godsend to come home from hospital. I was able to come home and not have to go back. I wouldn’t have been home without their help.”
Dr James Bolt, Consultant Physician and chair of the IV steering committee, who along with Jacqui introduced the device to the Health Board said it’s a positive development for both patients and the health board:
“If we can avoid admitting a patient who requires an extended period of antibiotic treatment, that not only brings savings for the NHS but, more importantly, patients are more comfortable in their own surroundings”.
“This is currently in a pilot stage but there are huge opportunities for use with other medications. We hope to extend it further in the near future.”
Pharmacist Dan Phillips was also involved in developing the trial, making sure that the health board can deliver drugs safely to patients through the accufuser pump. Dan added:
“Accufuser pumps provide another string to our bow of treating infections. We now have a wider range of antibiotics to choose from, and can treat complex infections in people’s own homes which we couldn’t do before.”
Three patients have taken part in the trial so far through the @home service. There is now considerable interest from adjacent Health Boards.
The @home service is a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals aiming to offer an alternative to hospital admission. The team support earlier discharges to patients over 18 in the Cwm Taf University Health Board.