Spotlight on: our Ambulatory OPAT service

OPAT (outpatient antibiotics service) is our day service, delivered in the Aylsham Medical Day Unit, that enables clinicians to discharge their patients sooner with the ability to still administer their antimicrobial therapy.

The service was launched two years ago and up until the end of March this year had treated 381 patients, saving a total of 6,948 bed days, and freeing up a full ward for a period of six month.

The team consists of 18 colleagues, with five Senior Nurses leading the team. Rebecca Turner, Deputy Sister, who has worked for the Trust for almost two decades, is one of them.

“We’re just one of the many admission avoidance services at our hospital and it is great that we have the ability to carry out procedures such as giving patients IV fluids and blood transfusions,” said Rebecca.

OPAT eliminates the need to admit patients whose only reason to stay in the hospital is to receive IV antibiotics therapy; it also helps reducing length of stay in hospital and the risk of patients acquiring infections. It helps patients to return home more quickly and carry on their normal daily lives.

Analysis shows a high prevalence of conditions, such as endocarditis and osteomyelitis, which frequently require a minimum of four to six weeks of IV antibiotic therapy. Before our OPAT service was in existence, these patients would have had no option but to remain in hospital for the duration of their treatments.

“Being discharged quickly is so important for those patients who, for example, are self-employed and need to keep receiving an income,” added Rebecca.

“Being at home, and with their loved ones, instead of being an inpatient at the hospital, also improves patients’ mental health.”

OPAT take referrals from all specialties with orthopaedics being one of the highest users of this service.

The service runs seven days a week for 12 hours a day and it is supported by an Antimicrobial Pharmacist and a Consultant Microbiologist.

Reham Soliman, Microbiology Consultant, said: “All patients continue to have their medical condition and therapy closely supervised by a multidisciplinary team, who works in close contact with the patients’ clinical teams. They are reviewed weekly in the OPAT virtual clinic. Feedback from the OPAT patients is overwhelmingly positive.”

Watch our video to find out more about our OPAT service: