Great-grandmother Anne Clark was only eight years old when she was diagnosed with a long-term lung condition.
For the past 15 years the 78-year-old retired clerk from Eston has been admitted to hospital twice a year to enable doctors to treat her bronchiectasis with a two-week course of intravenous (IV) antibiotics – medicine delivered through a cannula or catheter (tube) directly into a vein.
But thanks to a new service recently commissioned at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Anne can now receive this treatment from the comfort of her own home.
All community matrons in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland have now been trained to administer IV antibiotics. The move will save some patients having to spend 14 days in hospital up to three times a year for IV treatment when they are otherwise fit and well. It will also free up hospital beds for more acutely ill patients.
“It’s just wonderful being able to stay at home and have this treatment,” said Anne, who has four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and was first to benefit from the new service.
“You are in your own environment and relatives don’t have to worry about visiting times and parking – it’s just so much nicer.
“There’s no comparison when you can be in your own home following your own routine.”
Thanks to funding from South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), IV antibiotics are now available in the community for patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis – a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened and damaged leading to recurrent chest infections – provided they meet certain criteria.
Dr George Antunes, consultant respiratory physician said: “We are the second hospital trust in the region to introduce this service for patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis.
“The first two doses of antibiotics are administered in hospital to make sure there are no side effects and then the rest of the IV antibiotic treatment is given at home by the community matron team. It’s very patient focussed.”
The service has been introduced as part of South Tees CCG’s IMProVE (Integrated Management and Proactive Care for the Vulnerable and Elderly) programme which aims to improve health services for vulnerable and elderly patients in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland by investing in community services to enable more patients to be treated closer to home.
In future the aim is to offer IV antibiotic treatment at home to other patients with chronic lung disease.
Julie Stevens from NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Our IMProVE programme was introduced to offer patients like Anne the opportunity to access services in their home or as close to their home as possible.
“It’s good to see the benefits this brings and means that Anne can continue to receive the same high quality treatment in her own home.”