Home treatment scheme could get award

A NEW scheme that allows patients to treat themselves at home has saved a hospital trust £135,000 in less than a year - and has now been shortlisted for a top award.

A NEW scheme that allows patients to treat themselves at home has saved a hospital trust £135,000 in less than a year - and has now been shortlisted for a top award.

The IV Therapy service at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, has been running since July 2005 and allows patients to administer daily intravenous injections themselves - freeing up 410 days of hospital beds already.

Normally patients that require regular IV injections over a long period of time have to remain in hospital.

But the eight patients who have already completed the home-based course have praised the new system, developed by the clinical skills team and the orthopaedics department.


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Antony Cowell , 63, from Newton near Sudbury, was the first person to use the service and treated himself for 171 days.

He suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle crash in 1963, which left him with an inflammation in his femur (thigh bone).

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Last year he started getting pain in his leg again, which eventually meant he could hardly walk.

He said: “I was taken back into hospital and doctors found that the bone had a stress fracture. I had it pinned and plated.

“I wanted to come out of hospital as soon as possible, but because I had to take a massive dose of antibiotics, I could only take it intravenously, which meant a long stay in.”

It was then the orthopaedic team asked if he wanted to try self-administering his drugs at home.

“I said I would give it a whirl,” he said. “It meant I could be in my own home - go out in the garden, go to the shops - rather than staying in hospital.”

Craig Sinclair, 34, from Clare near Sudbury, is another to have benefited - he would have faced a six-week stay in hospital for a course of antibiotics.

He said: “It really is pioneering. It is not difficult to do, neither is it uncomfortable. The aftercare and support systems are very good.”

Clinical skills trainer Becki Davies pioneered the project with orthopaedic practice development nurse Mel Pooley.

Ms Davies first saw the system in action in a previous job in Oxford, and the service is now a finalist in the Health Enterprise East innovation awards. The winners will be announced on April 26.

She said: “Patients need to be medically fit - having daily intravenous injections needs to be the only thing holding them in hospital - which is why it worked well in the orthopaedics department which deals with fractures and infections in the bones.

“Community IV therapy is about empowering the patient to become involved with their care.”

Experts are now examining other areas of patient care that could benefit from the IV Therapy service.

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