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What is OPAT?
The Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service provides intravenous antimicrobials (antibiotics) to patients who are otherwise well enough to be cared for in their own home.
The OPAT service is generally available for appropriate patients living within South Warwickshire —in some circumstances, arrangements can be made to treat patients who live outside of this area.
The aims of the OPAT service are to reduce length of hospital stay and improve quality of life for patients with infectious diseases whilst still providing expert care.
The OPAT service offers patients:
- Specialist care
- An alternative to staying in hospital
- Greater involvement in the planning of their treatment
- The opportunity to recover in their own home
The OPAT team are specialists in infections and antimicrobials (antibiotics).
The clinical team is led by a Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine.
You may also be seen by the OPAT Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) and / or the OPAT Specialist Nurse.
Helen Dillon Consultant in Infectious Diseases
Julie Wilkinson OPAT Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP)
Rachel Kenion OPAT Specialist Nurse
How do I gain access to the OPAT service?
You may be referred to the OPAT service by:
- Your GP
- Accident and Emergency Department
- Any Hospital Clinician
What happens after I am referred?
After referral, you will be reviewed by a member of the OPAT team who will discuss with you:
- Your diagnosis and the likely duration of your treatment
- Insertion of an appropriate intravenous access device (often a MidlineA midline is a short fine hollow tube that is put into one of the large veins in your arm, usually in the bend of your elbow. It is inserted up the vein and goes no higher than your armpit. It can stay in place for a few weeks.More Information → ) to allow administration of your treatment
- Who will administer your antimicrobial treatment
Daily administration of intravenous antimicrobials at home may be carried out by:
- A Community / District Nurse who will visit you daily at home
- Yourself or a member of your family (after appropriate training)
Is it safe to administer my own antibiotics?
Over half of all our patients choose to self-administer (or have their family / carer administer) their intravenous antimicrobials.
The OPAT team are very experienced in training patients or family members to administer intravenous therapy at home.
This option provides you with greater flexibility and freedom once you are discharged —many patients feel empowered by the ability to take responsibility for their own treatment.
Success rates with self / family administration are equal to those who choose community nurse administration.
How soon will I be discharged from hospital?
This will depend on a number of factors including your diagnosis, response to treatment whilst in hospital and your home circumstances.
The OPAT team will work closely with the ward team looking after you in hospital to get you discharged home as soon as it is safe to do so.
When will I be seen in OPAT clinic?
This will depend on your individual circumstances. The OPAT team will arrange your first outpatient review in Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) on Guy Ward before you leave hospital.
When you attend for your review appointment, you may have blood tests or x-rays taken shortly after your arrival. Once the results are available, a member of the OPAT team will review you...
Please be aware that it can take between 1-2 hours for blood results to become available. Your whole visit to AEC may take several hours.
Please prepare for this wait by bringing some reading material and a drink / snack if you wish (water, tea, coffee and biscuits are available in AEC at no charge).
What if I have a problem after I get home?
The OPAT team are available via mobile phone 07867 506 818, Mon-Fri 08:30-16:30.
If the phone is not answered immediately, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Outside of these hours, if you are unwell, please contact your GP or NHS 111 and they will direct you to the most appropriate out-of-hours service.
If it is an emergency, please go to your local A&E department —inform them that you are under the care of the OPAT team and bring your pink book with you.