Patients needing long-term antibiotics can now continue their treatment at home. The Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy team (OPAT) teaches patients and carers how to administer intravenous antibiotics themselves. The service avoids patients having to stay in hospital until they have finished their course, which can last up to 12 weeks.
How does OPAT work?
Patients being considered for the OPAT service are those ready to go home, but needing further IV antibiotic treatment. The OPAT process will be fully explained and patients will not be discharged onto the OPAT service if they do not wish to do so, alternative options for their treatment plan will be discussed with them. Patients will receive at least one dose of antibiotic in hospital to ensure that they do not develop a severe reaction.
The OPAT service will be tailored to patient needs. Most community teams provide nurses who can visit patients at home and administer them antibiotic. Some patients will choose to give themselves the antibiotic, or a family member/friend will take on this role. In this case they will be taught how to do this and assessed in hospital by the OPAT team. Another option is to come to hospital on a daily basis to be given the antibiotic in a hospital clinic.
What happens if the patient has a problem?
During this time, patients will be under the supervision of the OPAT team who will be reviewing their progress on a weekly basis at the OPAT clinic. Patients are advised to contact the OPAT team should they feel unwell and are given full contact details about how to access the hospital on 24 hours’ time.
Further information is included in the OPAT patient leaflet .
If you have any questions about OPAT, please phone the IV team on 020 7188 8641 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.