Background Patients with advanced disease require transportation to hospital for ultrasound identification of abnormal fluid and location marking. This is not only exhausting, but introduces service delays, increases work for an already overburdened hospital radiology service and reproducing the exact position of original scan is difficult.
Aim Does the introduction of portable ultrasound improve patient, carer & health professional experience and co-ordination of care?
Method Two hospice doctors underwent the necessary ultrasound scanning training for non radiologists. Following a selection process, an appropriate portable ultrasound machine was purchased, and support agreed with one of the local radiologists.
Results A retrospective review of thirty months ultrasound use was undertaken. One hundred and four patients have had one hundred and sixty eight separate scanning episodes resulting in eighty five procedures. Uses have included confirmation of presence & location of abdominal ascites prior to paracentesis, confirmation of location of pleural fluid prior to aspiration, confirmation of full bladder prior to catheterisation (urethral or suprapubic), monitoring the growth of large intra-abdominal malignant cyst, confirmation of hydronephrosis, biliary stent placement & locating nerve in real time neural blockade. The poster includes detailed analysis of use.
Conclusion On each occasion a definitive clinical question was answered. Patients report greater satisfaction from a speedier service, families feel that patients are less fatigued by the interventions and staff feel able to give a better, more responsive, safer service, adhering to current best practice guidance. Being able to ultrasound patients in the home or in outpatients has prevented unnecessary admissions where the cause of abdominal distension had previously been in doubt.
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