The outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) service at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has conducted a survey of its patients which reveals highly positive patient experiences.

The OPAT service allows inpatients receiving intravenous antibiotics to be discharged early from hospital. Patients who are eligible for this service go home after receiving their last inpatient dose of antibiotics. The antibiotics they would have received whilst in hospital are then administered regularly by a nurse at the patient’s home. Since 2009 nearly 400 patients have been treated using this method.

The survey found that all patients surveyed who used the OPAT service found that it met or exceeded their expectations. 85 per cent of patients agreed or strongly agreed that they preferred the OPAT service to receiving treatment as an inpatient in hospital.

The survey also found that all respondents rated the OPAT team’s support as good or excellent, and all patients surveyed said they would accept the OPAT service should the need arise again. 95.2 per cent of patients rated the overall service from the hospital as good or excellent.

The service is a collaboration between the clinical microbiology and specialist medicine departments at St George’s. Clinical teams can identify patients who would benefit from the OPAT service and refer them to the team.

Although discharged from hospital, patients remain under the care of St George’s and are monitored and reviewed regularly by both the OPAT and referring teams.

Aodhan Breathnach, consultant microbiologist, said: “By getting out of hospital sooner, patients are able to recover in a more familiar setting with the knowledge that they are in regular contact with nurses and have access to a consultant microbiologist 24 hours a day should they require help.

“Patients receive full home support for the administration of antibiotic therapy and can recover safely in their own homes – some even return to work while receiving treatment.”

“This frees up beds at the hospital for patients who require more intensive treatment, resulting in a wider benefit to other patients and the trust.”

Notes to editors

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