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Antibiotics service helps patients get home sooner
04 May 2017

Patients under the care of our hospital can now receive intravenous antibiotics in the comfort of their own homes thanks to a new service which has saved more than 1,750 bed days in just over five months.

The Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) service gives patients who need a long course of medication, for conditions such as infected bones or joints, the chance to return home while they have the treatment rather than remaining in hospital.

As well as allowing the patient to continue with their normal life, the new service is also helping to free up hospital beds as it means people who are otherwise fit for discharge no longer need to stay on the wards while they receive their antibiotics. So far, 1,765 bed days have been saved since it launched in November.

Patients using the service are fitted with a line and visited at home each day by a nurse from the admission prevention team who connects an infusion device which administers the antibiotics at a set rate. The patient’s blood results are reviewed remotely by Ipswich staff to make sure they are receiving the right dose, which prevents them from having to travel back to hospital for monitoring.

Dr Lauren Hoare, consultant in acute medicine and clinical lead for the acute medicine unit, said: “We are really pleased that this service has made such a big difference and is further improving the care our patients receive while allowing them to return home more quickly.

“The service is ideal for patients who require a long course of antibiotics several times a day, but would otherwise not need to remain in hospital. Receiving treatment at home means that they can continue to live a normal life while also freeing up beds in the hospital for those who do need an admission.”