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Videos inject confidence in DIY treatment

28 November 2017
An award-winning project that is empowering patients to administer their own intravenous antibiotics at home is saving Cambridge University Hospitals hundreds of thousands of pounds and has got a universal thumbs up from patients.

Using demonstration videos and practising on a model plastic arm using expired or returned medication, patients and their relatives are taught to self-administer intravenous (IV) antibiotics, enabling them to go home earlier from hospital.

The patients are then able to administer the IV antibiotics through an intravenous line in their arm from the comfort of their own home.

In the first nine months, the project has saved over £300,000 and reduced patients’ length of stay in hospital by more than 2,500 days.

Dr Emma NickersonThe project is the brainchild of Dr Emma Nickerson, a consultant in infectious diseases and an antibiotic guardian, who oversaw the creation of eight videos by CUH’s in-house design team, Media Studio, and is provided through the Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT) service.

She said: “The initiative has been embraced by patients who want to be at home as early as possible and is helping the hospital with both its capacity and finances – so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

“I came up with the idea as I was seeing lots of patients who were in hospital only to finish their course of antibiotics and they were otherwise clinically fit to go home.

“I felt simple, clear instructional videos and a model arm for extra practice would allow patients to go home earlier and I’ve been really pleased with the success of the project.”

Benjamin Usedon, 29, from Clacton, is one such patient. He left hospital and was able to self-administer the antibiotics for four weeks before switching to tablet antibiotics.

“I found the video demonstration very easy to follow and I was able to comfortably give the IV antibiotics for two days before I came off them,” Benjamin said.

“When you start to feel better in hospital you just want to get home as early as possible and these videos help us do that.”

The project won the award for Service Improvement at last month’s Health Enterprise East Innovation Ceremony.