Pressure on inpatient hospital beds is a longstanding issue. Through the virtual ward and hospital at home programmes alternative ways are being sought to treat patients safely and appropriately without the need to admit them to hospital, or reduce the time they spend in hospital by facilitating safe discharge at an earlier stage in their treatment pathway.
Elastomeric devices are small, single use pumps used to administer medication such as intravenous (IV) antibiotics or chemotherapy. As these pumps can be used at home, they have the potential to help to relieve pressure on hospital beds for those patients who would otherwise remain in hospital just to receive IV therapy, or to support patients to remain at home and avoid admission to hospital.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) introduced elastomeric devices to deliver IV antibiotics in patients’ homes in November 2019. By August 2022 180 patients had benefited and almost 2,500 hospital bed days had been freed up.
The Oxford AHSN has worked closely with the trust to understand how the devices were introduced into clinical practice, along with the challenges encountered and lessons learned. With funding from Health Education England, the trust and AHSN have together developed resources to support other NHS organisations interested in introducing elastomeric devices to deliver 24-hour IV antibiotics in patients’ homes.
Use the links to the right of this page to find our more and access resources supporting implementation including videos.