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Trust’s hand treatment service praised at national nursing conference

Published 22/11/2017
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Derby Teaching Hospitals has received national recognition for providing an innovative service that allows patients with hand infections to carry on their treatment at home. 

The Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) service allows eligible patients with hand injuries to receive antibiotics intravenously at the Royal Derby Hospital as an outpatient.

This means that patients don’t have to be admitted to a ward and can instead visit the Pulvertaft Hand Centre each day to have a cannula fitted before being allowed to go about their normal lives. 

Allowing patients to go home during treatment helps reduce the risk of them picking up hospital-related illnesses, lessens the cost of treatment and allows more beds to be made available elsewhere.

The OPAT service was named best presentation at last week’s Royal College of Nursing Society of Orthopaedics and Trauma Nursing Conference after being promoted by Senior Sister Sarah Balmforth and Sheila Bradley, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Hand Surgery.

Sarah said: “Since piloting the service in 2014, the positive feedback we’ve had from patients has been fantastic. It represents a huge change to the way we deliver outpatient care and really helps ensure that our patients can carry on with their normal lives whilst they receive treatment. We’ve had a lot of visits from other Trusts who are keen to replicate what we do here. We’re delighted to have been recognised in this way and I’m so proud of the whole team for making this service possible for our patients.”  

The OPAT service offers the same treatment that would otherwise be provided on the wards and runs for a maximum of three days, with a decision then being made on whether it’s necessary for a patient to be admitted as an inpatient. 

Mark Powell, from Tutbury, Staffordshire, underwent treatment for an animal bite at the Pulvertaft Hand Centre in July and praised the care he received.

He said: “I had the right treatment, far quicker than I may have done, had I had to go through the process of going through A&E first. It wasn’t a walk in the park but I can’t praise the staff enough for the friendly, compassionate and efficient care I received. They even came in early, so that I could be treated and make it in to work.”

The OPAT service treated 50 patients last year and saved Derby Teaching Hospitals more than £30,000.

Staff at the clinic also provided intravenous antibiotics to 76 patients, who then carried on their care as inpatients without their treatment being delayed. 

Last Modified 22/11/2017