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A range of medical equipment is needed at Tameside General Hospital to improve care in the neo natal and children’s units.

Children’s unit: Cardiac monitor

A Carescape cardiac monitor will provide safe care for respiratory patients and those being treated by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Catherine Isherwood, Children’s Unit Manager, explains: “The monitor allows a patient to have continuous cardiac monitoring whilst they are on a medication infusion. We mainly use the monitors on patients who have taken overdoses and have to have an infusion of medication to help protect their liver, or patients on continuous insulin infusions, or patients on life saving asthma medication.

“When the medication infusions are running, it is very important to monitor the child’s heart rhythm and be able to recognise any abnormal readings. We often have lots of children admitted with the above conditions at a similar time and there is only one monitor currently on the ward.”

Children’s unit: Airvo oxygen delivery machine

 When children have respiratory distress – severe chest infection, asthma or bronchiolitis – they often require supplementary oxygen. The Airvo 2 Optiflow System features a humidifier which comfortably delivers high flows of air/oxygen mixtures, but is less intensive than other respiratory support systems. The Airvo 2 machine will help provide additional care to patients who require non-invasive ventilation. It will be particularly useful during the winter season.

Children’s unit: Specialised cots

The cots used on the children’s unit are around 13 years old, are worn and need upgrading Unfortunately, with internal funding in short supply and many competing projects, the hospital are not able to replace them. This year new regulations for cots are being released, so it is expected that the new cots will be designed around childcare and handing and will make a positive difference to the safety and the comfort of the patient. They will be easy to use and maintain, helping to deliver the highest standard of hygiene, and will have special features to care for acutely ill children.

Children’s unit: Blood pressure monitors

When children are admitted to hospital, a set of observations is carried out by a member of staff on each patient, and repeated regularly throughout their stay to pick up any underlying problems. These monitors help staff to quickly and accurately assess vital signs with minimal intrusion. The children’s unit currently has two machines shared between 12 clinic rooms. Having more of these machines will help to improve the flow of patients through the department.

Children’s unit: Baby weighing scales

 Every baby that comes through the children’s unit needs to be weighed, and scales are of paramount importance for medication reviews and treatments carried out by weight. The current baby scales in the unit are well used and near the end of their working life. The last service review indicated that a new set would be required.

Neo natal unit: Apnoea monitors

 Apnoea monitors are used when a baby is asleep. They alert the medical team to any changes in a baby’s breathing, so they can intervene. They allow a swift response to avoid oxygen deprivation. Ward Manager Donna Kennedy-Marriott says: “Respiration monitors for apnoea detection are used for babies in the neo natal unit to progress from intensive/high dependency care to special care. This gives the parents reassurance that their baby is doing well and is moving towards discharge home without any monitoring.”

Community team: Pulse oximeters

 The Tameside and Glossop Children’s Community Team supports the neo natal unit by enabling babies to be discharged home on oxygen where required and reducing acute hospital admissions by giving support and advice to families at home. A handheld oxygen saturation monitor (pulse oximeter) is needed for each baby. Manager Jessica Oakes says: “These babies remain under the care of a consultant with a clear weaning plan for their oxygen. We have had an increased number of babies discharged with oxygen, highlighting the need for more monitors in order to manage them safely at home.”

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“Infections of the central nervous system need urgent and appropriate treatment. Most laboratory methods can take from 24 to 48 hours for diagnosis of bacterial meningitis and three to seven days for diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis. The new equipment will mean we can get results of these tests in around an hour. We’ll be able to inform the clinicians of a positive result, allowing targeted therapy and reassurance to the patients and families. Just as important is the reporting of negative results, which may enable treatment withdrawal and possibly a shorter hospital stay.”

Dr Pradeep Subudhi
Consultant Microbiologist
Royal Bolton Hospital

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