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The patient’s perspective

Video with Andrew Seaton
I’m a businessman. I work in Ayreshire and I, previously, I was an army officer in the British army for a significant number of years. Prior to coming to OPAT, I had a cancerous tumour, a soft tissues tumour. Back in 2009 it was diagnosed, and I had treatment in 2009 and 2010. During that time, they excised the tumour and left me with a bit of a hole in my leg. That was fine and it lasted until about two and a bit years ago when I noticed that the leg was sore and that it had a significant pressure sensitivity. I was then admitted to hospital and they excised the muck that was in my leg.
It took some time to diagnose what was wrong. I was then in hospital for approximately five weeks and I found this quite difficult as a businessman trying to work from my hospital bed. Although the hospital staff were very kind and tried to accommodate me, it was quite a difficult process. I was on antibiotics at the time and it looked like I was going to be on antibiotics for quite a long time into the future. At that stage, I was introduced to the prospect of being able to do antibiotics at home. And I was approached by the team and was given to understand how this process was going to work.
Specifically they were interested in making sure that I was trained properly to not to introduce anything into the process in terms of any other infection and keep everything as sterile as possible in my home environment. I found the process quite easy. I found it very easy to follow the nurses that were dealing with me. And they always made sure that I understood exactly what it was that they wanted me to do, and what I was doing for myself and the freedom that that was going to give me outside the hospital environment. As part of the process I had to have a line put into my arm, a PICC line.
And for the nurses, that seemed to be quite a difficult prospect. I’d already had treatment for cancer therefore my veins aren’t the best in the world. But for me, it was an easy process and they made it very easy. The OPAT nurses themselves were very good at putting in lines– actually, they were better than the nurses that were on the wards. And I’ve had that experience a couple of times now. And in general, that experience is very easy and it’s not at all painful. Making up the drugs was an interesting prospect. And we had a regime that worked from right to left, so we always did it the same way every time. And it was easy to do.
It was easy to do as a rote, but there was also a piece of paper that actually explained what you had to do and when you had to do it. You had to make sure that the drugs themselves, when you reconstituted them, were not too bubbly so that you could get them into the syringe easily. And of course, you weren’t injecting directly into your arm. You had the line, and that line was long enough to enable you to use both hands to then put the syringe into the coupling that was on the line, and then inject it into your body.
One of the things that was a little bit difficult for me was remembering the timing, because, of course, we had a regime where the time was important about the time it took to put the drug through the intravenous line, but it wasn’t difficult. And actually, I had a regime that every morning I would do it apart from on a Friday. And on a Friday, I used to attend the OPAT clinic. And the OPAT clinic at that time they confirmed that everything was all right with me whether there were any side effects from the drugs, whether I was having any concerns, and also they then took my bloods and ensured that everything was working perfectly.
I had also been told– and I used on a couple of occasions when things went slightly awry and I was concerned– that I had a phone number and I was able to phone that number. The one good thing about that number was it was directly into OPAT, so I knew that whoever I was going to talk to knew exactly everything about me, and could look me up, and just check and make sure that everything was OK. And on one occasion when I had a problem with my line, I actually came into the hospital very quickly after the problem was there and I was I was dealt with by the OPAT team extremely quickly.
And it was very reassuring for me as a patient to have that kind of intimate support that was available through OPAT. I think in terms of where I am today, I’m still taking antibiotics, although it’s not intravenous, and therefore it’s an oral antibiotic. I’m extremely happy with the way I was treated by OPAT through the whole process. As a businessman, it was very difficult for me to have to commit to coming in as an outpatient every day.
Having the OPAT service available to me meant that if I did have to go to other offices or to my other factories, I was able to do so with much freedom, and so I can thoroughly recommend the process to anybody in the future quite happily.

The patient experience should be at the heart of any OPAT service.

Watch this video to hear from a patient about their OPAT experience.

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OPAT: Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy

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