Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) allows patients to be given intravenous antibiotics while living in the community, rather than as a hospital inpatient.
Although standard practice in many countries, uptake of OPAT in the UK has been slower, and hampered by a range of clinical, financial and logistical issues.
A study in BMJ Open has explored patient experiences of OPAT, including information and communication support.
28 patients were recruited from four acute NHS Trusts in Northern England. These NHS Trusts between them represented both well-established and recently set-up services running nurse at home, hospital outpatient and/or self-administration models.
Most patients were provided with good written information but tailored information was absent, and oral communication between patients and staff was more variable.
Positive relationships developed when staff found time to talk to patients about their treatment and understand them as people, rather than cases. These encounters could help patients develop the confidence needed to take a more active role in their own care.
Poor communication left some without the knowledge and confidence needed to be actively involved in their own care, and affected their perceptions of the service.
The full study can be accessed on the BMJ Open website.
Twiddy M, Czoski Murray CJ, Mason SJ, et al.
A qualitative study of patients’ feedback about Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) services in Northern England: implications for service improvement.
BMJ Open 018;8:e019099. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019099