A woman facing the prospect of missing her granddaughter’s wedding and weeks in hospital has praised medics at a Surrey hospital who came to her rescue.
Sheila Lucas had a serious infection that required intravenous (IV) antibiotics, which is given through a drip directly into the blood and normally administered in hospital.
The 64-year-old feared she faced weeks in hospital and the possibility of missing her granddaughter’s wedding when medics at Royal Surrey County Hospital came to her aid.
Dr Katherine Mccullough was launching a pilot with community nursing teams that would allow patients to receive IV antibiotics safely at home and Sheila was deemed a perfect candidate.
“My granddaughter had been planning her wedding for a long time and I knew she really wanted me to be there,” said retired Sheila.
“I thought I was going to have to miss it and had warned Emily and Andy, her husband-to-be, that I might not be able to attend.
“It was such a relief when they told me that I could receive the antibiotics at home from a district nurse, which would mean I could go to the wedding.
“They came to my rescue and I was very lucky.”
Sheila, who was suffering with a foot infection as a result of diabetic foot disease, was visited daily by the community nursing team who administered the antibiotics.
“It was brilliant to be able to go home and know that the nurses would come and see me daily,” said Sheila, who lives with her husband Geoffrey in Guildford, Surrey.
“The wedding was a lovely day.”
Dr Mccullough decided to launch the project after discovering that patient’s with diabetic foot disease were spending an average of 12-and-a- half days in hospital receiving IV antibiotics, despite being fit and ready to go home.
Dr McCullough, who launched the project allowing patients to receive IV antibiotics at home
Mayur Panchamia from Woking was in Royal Surrey for four-and-a-half weeks this summer with a foot infection.
“Nobody wants to be in hospital, let alone for four-and-a-half weeks,” said the 54-year-old store director.
“We all hear about the shortage of beds in hospitals and I was well enough to be at home and receive treatment in the community.
“I am delighted that this service is launching, as it would have allowed me recover in my own environment, where family could easily visit and I could have carried on working.”
Following a successful pilot of the project the service, which will be known as the Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT), will be launched next month.
Dr Mccullough said: “This project is a clear example of how the hospital and the community teams can work together to improve the experience for patients.
“We all know patients would much rather be at home and receive treatment in their own environment.
“However, we will only consider patients for the OPAT service who are fit and ready to go home, but still need further IV antibiotic treatment.”
Dr Mccullough on administrating IV antibiotics in the community
The Trust is sharing the story as part of a week-long celebration to launch a change in its name.
The Trust started providing adult community health services for Guildford and Waverley in April 2018 and has decided to change its name, from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, to just Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust says it felt it was important to recognise the contribution of community staff and reflect that it is now providing more than acute hospital care and bridging the gap between wards and the community health services.
Medical Director, Dr Marianne Illsley, said: “This project is a perfect example of how by bridging the gap between the hospital and community services we’re able to have a positive impact on the lives of our patients.
“The community teams have become an integral part of the Royal Surrey Family since joining us just over a year ago and we wanted to make sure the Trust name reflects who we are and the range of services we offer.”