Venous Assessment Tool

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Intravenous news: A former Birmingham-based nurse has come up with an innovative idea that is set to benefit chemotherapy patients or anyone who needs intravenous treatment.

Sara Wells (pictured) developed two assessment tools for health care professionals to use while working as a sister on the haematology day unit at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust.

MidTECH, the West Midlands NHS Innovation Hub, has now helped Sara to find a company to develop, print and distribute VAT and DIVA commercially. The Venous Assessment Tool (VAT) and the Deciding on Intravenous Access (DIVA) were developed by Sara as part of her research for a Masters thesis.

Saras paper-based assessment tools help nurses to assess patients for the most appropriate device to deliver medication directly into each patients veins. Sara, who started a new job as a bone marrow transplant coordinator for Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust in August, said the tools would primarily be used for chemotherapy patients.

When a patient is admitted to hospital with haematological problems, they may need to have a range of treatments delivered into their veins,” she said. VAT and DIVA aim to help nurses make a proactive assessment when a patient arrives to ensure the most appropriate venous access device is used. The tools not only enable healthcare staff do a better job, by assisting in decision making, but they also help patients by reducing the risk of problems developing in relation to their intravenous treatment as their treatment progresses.

Sara, who has worked in the NHS for seven years, said she hoped her tools would be adopted by nurses across the country.

MidTECH approached 3M Health Care, of Loughborough, Leicestershire, for support and, in line with its aims, the company agreed to fund the development through an educational grant, through Tegaderm I.V. Dressings, a part of its healthcare division.

3M Health Care provides world-class innovative products and services to help healthcare professionals improve the practice, delivery and outcome of patient care in medical, oral care, drug delivery and health information markets. Emma Jenkins, Senior Marketing Executive for Tegaderm I.V. Dressings, said: The team at 3M felt that the tools developed by Sara provided an innovative way to support clinicians and improve patient outcomes.

The educational grant provided by 3M covered the design and production of 2,500 laminated cards to be distributed to colleagues at UHB. This will ensure that the tools are widely distributed throughout the Trust, benefiting all clinicians involved in the care of patients receiving long-term intravenous treatment.

David Gleaves, chief executive of MidTECH, said: We are delighted to have been able to help Sara to turn her well-researched idea into an extremely useful tool that will help healthcare professionals to deliver the best treatment for patients.

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