A children's healthcare outreach team has significantly reduced the time that children stay in King's College Hospital over the past year by administering care in the home.
The Children's Outreach Team enables children who are clinically stable, to be able to complete their treatment at home. Once a consultant has assessed the child and stated that it is safe for them to return home under the care of the nurse, a nurse will then visit the child up to four times a day. The nurse will administer IV antibiotics or other treatments to treat serious infections.
Since the service has started 908 bed days have been saved.
The team is comprised of five nurses who mainly work in South London. However, if the nurses are able to travel to the child then they will. The nurses are also flexible with the location often visiting them in schools, if the child is well enough to attend, to administer antibiotics.
Zoe Tribble, the lead nurse for the Children's Outreach Team, says that the real 'jewel in the crown' of the services is the impact that it has had on the families and children. 'As well as freeing up beds more quickly for the children that need them, the impact on the children to be able to go home is key. The majority of them prefer being at home than in hospital. One of the good things about our service is that it doesn't really matter where the children live, if we can realistically get to them, then we will.'
Ms Tribble said that at the moment the team only works at King's but she hopes to be able to spread the team as 'widely as possible'.
'There is lots of scope for growth in King's and other hospitals as well so we are looking at other hospitals to see what we can offer to see where there is a need in other hospitals. We are trying to expand the neonatal service so we will soon be able to care for tiny babies at home who need antibiotics,' she said.