Background Ultrasound identification of abnormal fluid collections is frequently required for patients with advanced disease who have little reserve to spend on investigational procedures. Current patient pathways via hospital radiology departments are exhausting and introduce delays into management which they can ill afford.
Aim To see whether point of care ultrasound for answering specific clinical questions would improve patient experience whilst reducing delays in appropriate treatment.
Method Initial level one point of care training of two members of medical staff alongside acquisition of a suitable ultrasound machine from generous local donations was undertaken in 2010.
Results A detailed retrospective review of 3 years use will be available for the final presentation but the first 30 months use shows that 104 patients underwent 168 point of care scans which were used to locate abnormal intra abdominal, pleural fluid and bladder collections and resulted in 85 subsequent procedures and prevented further investigation or blind procedures in the rest. Other identified abnormalities are detailed in the presentation.
Conclusion Ultrasound helped to answer a specific clinical question on each occasion of use and allowed for a swiftly crafted, tailored, individual management plan avoiding protracted investigative procedures. Patients reported experiences were positive and staff feel patients receive a more effective and efficient service. This has led to all substantive medical team being trained to level one and consideration of further service development leading to point of care ultrasound in the community.
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