Patients are being spared invasive procedures in hospital thanks to a new portable ultrasound which has been bought with funding from hospital charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.
The ultrasound, which is based at South Shore Primary Care Centre, is used to identify the best vein to administer intravenous (IV) medication to patients who need IV antibiotics for two weeks or more to fight infection.
Without it, patients would have to remain in hospital for their treatment, or have cannulas – a shorter tube to administer medication – inserted on a regular basis which can be uncomfortable.
The scanner is used by nurses in the community who place midline tubes – around 20 to 25cm – though a vein in the patient’s arm.
Jan Bamber, Interim IV Lead Nurse, said: “The alternative to what we are doing here in the clinic is that a patient would have to go to hospital to have a PICC line inserted, which is much more invasive and an x-ray is required to get the tube in the right place.
“To have this ultrasound out in the community means that our patients do not need to go to hospital, but can have this procedure in an environment which is already known to them.
“The ultrasound allows us to properly locate the vein, rather than try to feel for it. That means we get it right first time.”
The IV Therapy team applied to Blue Skies Hospitals Fund, the charity for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for nearly £10,000 for the ultrasound. Funding was agreed by the Trust’s Charitable Funds Committee.
Jan added: “We’re still learning all the different things we can do with this machine, but our patients already notice the difference. It’s easier for them to come into our clinic than to either go to hospital or be cannulated three or four times a week.
“We are so grateful to Blue Skies for allowing us to have the funding for this machine. This is proof that donations truly enhance patient experience, so thank you also to everyone who has made a donation to the charity, allowing us to buy this ultrasound.”