An award-winning project to provide intravenous (IV) antibiotics to patients with a long-term lung condition in their own homes is set to benefit dozens of others with different health conditions.
The cutting-edge service improvement enterprise looked at how providing IV antibiotic therapy to patients in their own homes rather than as inpatients in hospital could improve both the patient experience and also reduce costs.
Initially designed for patients with bronchiectasis like Anne Clark, 79, from Eston, it has proved so successful it has now been expanded to patients with cellulitis – an infection caused by bacteria that normally live harmlessly on the skin.
Plans for further expansion also include patients with diabetic foot ulcers, who require long term IV antibiotics – medicine delivered through a cannula or catheter (tube) directly into a vein – for up to six weeks.
In addition, there is potential for hundreds of other patients with various different health conditions to benefit from this form of treatment at home in the coming years, rather than remaining in hospital when their only treatment requirement is IV antibiotics.
Anne, who previously spent up to two weeks in hospital twice a year to manage her condition through IV antibiotic therapy, was the first patient to benefit.
She said: “It’s just wonderful being able to stay at home and have this treatment. There’s no comparison to being in your own home following your own routine.”
The project saw community matrons across Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland being trained to administer IV antibiotics to patients with bronchiectasis through a five day Rapid Project Improvement Workshop (RPIW).
It formed part of South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) IMProVE programme (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly).
RPIWs at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust start with professionals suggesting an idea which could solve a particular problem or improve a particular service to the trust’s Service Improvement Team.
After the project was accepted by the Service Improvement Team, the professionals involved, including Sam Griffiths, the RPIW “process owner” and clinical lead for community nursing spent five days designing and redesigning the service to make it as efficient as possible.
This was followed by several months of regular reports and feedback meetings to ensure the service was designed and developed to be as slick as possible.
Speaking about the successful RPIW team, Sam said: “A collaboration of clinical staff from both the hospital and community setting came together to improve the service for the benefits of patients.
“This included a respiratory consultant, bronchiectasis specialist nurse, community matrons, specialist physiotherapist and other clinical staff.
“To date 14 patients have received the service with very positive feedback from patients.”
Dr George Antunes, consultant respiratory physician at The James Cook University Hospital and medical lead for the service, praised the wonderful teamwork and the contribution made by colleagues from various clinical areas in primary and secondary care.
He said: “All team members were extremely dedicated to the success of the project and continue to strive to provide the best care possible.
“This has resulted in the team winning the ‘Outstanding improvement in patient experience’ award at the North East, Cumbria and Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Awards 2016.”
Staff encouraged to submit service improvement ideas
This project and the award received by the team were only possible thanks to support from the trust’s innovations team, which encourages staff to contact them with any bright ideas they might have for improving services.
The innovations team is linked to the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and NHS Innovations North.
Other members of staff have also won awards for the new services they have developed after contacting the team. These include MND nurse specialist Anthony Hanratty and a team of haematology nurses who developed an at home chemotherapy service for elderly leukaemia patients.
Members of staff are encouraged to contact the team with their own ideas for improving existing services or introducing new ones by email to email@example.com