Patient's praise for innovative new service
7 September 2009
A respiratory patient has spoken out in praise of an innovative new service which brings the expert help she needs directly to her doorstep -- describing the reassurance it offers as like "being wrapped in a comfort blanket".
Margaret Wilson, who lives in Stanningfield, said the specially targeted care she has received since West Suffolk Hospital's new Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) service was set up earlier this year was "absolutely excellent".
Speaking at the hospital's annual public meeting on Wednesday, Mrs Wilson said the county-wide service had given her a new confidence and positivity which has changed her life significantly.
Her comments come just six months after Suffolk-wide COPD Services was launched. The service has been designed to provide more care closer to home for the 8,000 people in the county who suffer from COPD, in turn significantly reducing the need for them to be admitted into hospital.
The innovative service has seen a team of specialist nurses who are skilled in the care of COPD patients begin working alongside GPs, practice nurses and community matrons to provide care in the most appropriate setting for each individual. This can include at hospital, in people's homes or within the community.
"The service I have received has been like having someone wrap me in a comfort blanket," said Mrs Wilson, who was diagnosed with COPD around six years ago.
"I am in my own home and own environment, but have the security and knowledge that, should something go wrong, all I have to do is pick up the phone. Within a matter of just 30 minutes or so, I will have an expert there to help me through my panic.
"The COPD team will come out and assess and reassure me, which is the most important thing in helping to stop the panic you feel when you cannot breathe. I also have the knowledge that, if I need it, they will admit me to hospital. If not, I can still get the help I need and stay at home in the comfort of my own bed.
"My experience of the COPD team has been absolutely excellent. I cannot fault it at all. It means so much to be able to be at home, with the experts coming to me rather than the other way around.
"Because of the help I have received, I am now doing things I never thought I would do again because of the problems I have with breathing. I've started exercising again and have taken up bowling. I can still cut my lawns and do my own housework -- and it's all thanks to the team.
"I would encourage other people with COPD to accept the help I have been given. The support of the COPD team has made me look at life in a much more positive way and given me the confidence to do more for myself."
As part of the extensive package of care on offer, the nurses travel to people's homes to assess their clinical condition, arranging delivery of oxygen as and when needed. The team travel in fully equipped cars, which mean they can do everything in the patient's home, with the exception of a chest x-ray which would normally need to be carried out at hospital. In addition, the physiotherapists hold pulmonary rehabilitation courses in community settings, such as leisure facilities, gyms and village halls.
"We are absolutely delighted that this new service has been so well received by our patients," said nurse consultant Linda Pearce, who was awarded a doctorate by the University of Essex in March 2008 for her work on helping patients with COPD.
"One of its key aims is to decrease the feeling of isolation which some patients may suffer by encouraging them to become more independent, while also offering them expert, tailored care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.
"Evidence shows that the receiving high quality treatment in their own homes can significantly help a patient's recovery. Those who are treated at home receive daily visits for a short period from our nurse-led team, while myself and the doctors offer clinical supervision so that anyone who does need hospital treatment can be admitted as quickly as possible."
The service runs for seven days a week, 365 days a year. Although run by West Suffolk Hospital, staff also work closely with colleagues at Ipswich Hospital to make sure patients across the whole county receive consistent and dedicated care.