When Covid hit the nation one team at KGH faced a dilemma – how would they keep giving blood tests to patients who needed to shield?
With the virus spreading across the country the last thing they wanted was vulnerable people regularly going into the hospital.
But thanks to the imagination of the anticoagulation team they were able to have their tests at a fast-food trailer in a car park.
They set up an INR drive-through service for patients who needed tests while taking blood-thinning drug warfarin – and now they’ve won a national award.
The team has been awarded a Cavell Star Award by the prestigious Cavell nurses’ trust for the way they worked together to provide care for patients in such an innovative way.
Lead nurse for anticoagulation Tess Page, who nominated her team for the award, said: “When the pandemic struck it was vital that we continued to provide blood tests for our patients who receive warfarin – but at the same time these were patients who needed to shield because they were so clinically vulnerable.
“We decided on a drive-through service and were one of the first hospitals in the country to do this on March 29, 2020.
“We wanted to be out in an open car park area but still have a place where we could keep our paperwork, wash our hands, store equipment and PPE, and be protected from the weather.
“And that’s where the fast-food trailer came in. It enabled people to drive into the Diabetes Centre car park at the hospital and have thumb prick blood sample taken in their car.
“We then use a portable analysis device to give them their result – with a follow-up telephone appointment if more support was needed.”
The fast-food trailer also added a bit of humour to patients’ appointments.
Tess said: “Some of our patients felt lonely and isolated during the pandemic and being able to have a chat with a nurse and have their test made them feel much better.
“I am so proud of the way the anticoagulation team pulled together to make the drive-through services happen
“Using the fast-food trailer also added a bit of humour to the situation. They would say things like ‘can I have chips with my test’. It made us all smile.”
The pandemic was a testing time for the hospital’s anticoagulation team because Covid-19 took a terrible toll on their patients.
Tess said: “We know many of our patients well because they come to us so often – sometimes twice a week. Sadly Covid-19 has taken its toll and we have lost quite a few of them. It has had an impact on us.
“But the drive-through service helped us to keep them as safe as we could. Over the period we operated it - between March 2020 and June 2021 - we supported more than 1,400 patients.”
KGH’s director of nursing and quality, Fiona Barnes, said: “I am delighted the anticoagulation team has won this award and congratulate them all for the way in which they have supported their patients during the pandemic.”