People who are ill with COVID-19 but did not want to go into hospital, have been able to have treatment at home instead, thanks to a new service.
A Covid Active Treatment Bundle, by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and the Acute Response Team in Thanet (ART), helps patients stay at home, or in care homes and with loved ones or their usual carers, while at the same time receiving hospital-level care.
Working closely with the Oximetry@home Service, the bundle is for patients who have a low oxygen level. Oximetry@home sees a patient’s oxygen levels monitored using a pulse oximeter; a small monitor clipped to their finger, to measure oxygen saturation levels, three times a day.
They, or their relatives or carers, record the results via a smartphone app, a web portal or a paper diary, with clinicians keeping a close eye on the readings and quickly escalating treatment if oxygen levels drop to worrying levels.
The teams at KCHFT and ART organise for oxygen cylinders to be delivered to homes and care homes, if needed. They also provide medicines, including dexamethasone, anti-coagulation drugs and fluids, some of which the team administers intravenously – as they support and care for patients who feel poorly, or could be at the end of their lives.
KCHFT Community Geriatrician Shelagh O’Riordan, who works in east Kent, said: “Getting the service up and running and providing the bundle has been a real team effort. To start with, it involved agreeing a policy, which would work across Kent and Medway. We have been working closely with Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs, pharmacists and our oxygen cylinder provider Dolby
“In east Kent, this service has seen our Frailty Team working closely with our respiratory team and ART in Thanet. We’ve also worked closely with care home staff, who have been amazing. It’s been a real team effort across the integrated care partnership.”
The Covid Active Treatment Bundle was launched in the second week of December and, to date, has been used for more than 200 care home residents, as well as for people in their own homes.