Background A syringe pump is a portable battery-powered device used to deliver a Continuous Subcutaneous Infusion (CSCI), and is used in the delivery of subcutaneous medication to patients in order to optimise symptom control. A tertiary cancer centre can experience huge challenges when transferring patients to alternative care settings as the distances to be covered can be great, and the time taken for the patient to travel can be considerable. At Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, the system for transferring patients receiving medication via a CSCI was inadequate, as the CSCI would be discontinued and the patient's symptom management could be compromised during the journey. This is especially important during end of life care when a patient is being discharged in the final few days of life.
Aim To develop a process where patients could be transferred to an alternative care setting with a pump in situ in order to maintain an optimum degree of symptom control during the patient's transfer, with no disruption to medication delivery.
Method Five pumps were designated specifically as transfer pumps. Documentation was designed to track the pumps and to monitor their return. A padded addressed envelope is sent with the pump for return, with accompanying details for the receiving healthcare professional regarding discontinuing the pump.
Results Syringe pumps were used for the transfer of palliative care patients on 42 occasions, with 6 being used for patients who were on a rapid discharge home for the dying patient pathway. All patients suffered no disruption to medication delivery.
Conclusion This innovative system of transferring patients with a syringe pump in situ to maintain an optimum degree of symptom control has been very successful. Staff found the process easy to use, and there was significant benefit to patients.
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