Brain tumour patient thanks staff after life-saving operation
Recovering from a brain tumour removal is a difficult experience in any circumstances, let alone in the middle of a pandemic.
But the journey back to health was made a great deal smoother thanks to a groundbreaking unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Price, 69, is full of praise for the team at the NNUH’s Aylsham Medical Day Unit, which allows some people to be treated as outpatients, rather than being admitted to hospital.
He said: “I’m very grateful. It’s a pleasant environment, the nurses are very competent and they have access to consultants in the hospital.”
Mr Price, a retired physical education teacher, had the tumour removed at Addenbrooke’s hospital in January, after being referred by neurologists from the NNUH.
His initial recovery was promising, but padding material which medics had put into the gap left by the tumour became infected, so another operation was needed to remove it in mid-February.
Mr Price said: “I must have had a reaction to it. It was a slow reaction, and as it started to manifest itself I started to slur my speech and not be able to move my right foot and things like that.”
As part of his recovery, Mr Price needed twice-daily infusions of antibiotics. But whereas he once would have had to be admitted to hospital for the four-week treatment, the day unit - opened in December 2018 - meant he could stay at home and travel into the hospital twice daily.
Mr Price said: “At first it was a two-hour drip, twice a day, but later it became half-an-hour.
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“Having the unit there meant I didn’t have to stay in hospital for two half-hour infusions a day.
“It also saves the hospital money and frees up beds.”
Mr Price said he always felt safe while he was being treated in March and April, even as coronavirus was spreading fast across the country.
“It certainly felt pretty safe because it was not in the main hospital, and they took my peak flow [which tests how well lungs are working] four times a day,” he said.
For the first couple of weeks his wife was able to stay with him while he was receiving treatment, but this stopped as stricter rules came in because of the pandemic.
Day by day: The Aylsham unit
The Aylsham Medical Day Unit opened in December 2018 in the new Aylsham Suite at NNUH.
The facility allows patients to be treated during the day for procedures they traditionally would have been hospitalised for, including intravenous therapies, blood transfusions, biopsies, lumbar punctures, liver ablations and iron transfusions.
The Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) service has been set up to treat patients on the day unit who require intravenous antibiotics who would previously have had to be admitted as an inpatient.
Rebecca Turner, the unit’s deputy sister, said: “The OPAT service has received fantastic patient feedback and has also helped to free up beds in the hospital.
“Since the OPAT project began in February 2019 we have secured the support and guidance of a designated microbiologist. This has allowed for better monitoring and governance of all our OPAT patients during their treatment with us. I have also now become the first independent nurse prescriber for our unit and further nurses are planning to undertake enhanced training which is very exciting for the unit.”
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