When Covid hit the nation a KGH team faced a dilemma – how would they continue to do blood tests for patients who needed to protect themselves?
With the virus spreading across the country, the last thing they wanted was for vulnerable people to go to hospital on a regular basis.
But thanks to the imagination of the anticoagulation team, they were able to do their tests in a fast food trailer in a parking lot.
They set up an INR drive-thru service for patients who needed tests while taking the blood thinner warfarin, and they’ve now won a national award.
The team was awarded a Cavell Star Award by the prestigious Cavell Nurses Trust for the way they worked together to provide patient care in such an innovative way.
Chief nurse for anticoagulation Tess Page, who nominated her team for the award, said: ‘When the pandemic hit it was vital that we continued to provide blood tests to our patients who are receiving warfarin – but at the same time, these were patients who needed shielding because they were so clinically vulnerable.
“We opted for a drive-thru and were one of the first hospitals in the country to do so on March 29, 2020.
“We wanted to be in an open car park but still have a place where we could keep our papers, wash our hands, store gear and PPE and be protected from the weather.
“And that’s where the fast food trailer came in. She allowed people to drive into the parking lot of the hospital’s Diabetes Center and have a thumb blood sample taken in their car.
“We then use a portable scan device to give them their result – with a follow-up phone appointment if further support is needed.”
The fast food trailer also added a bit of humor to patient appointments.
Tess said: “Some of our patients have felt lonely and isolated during the pandemic and being able to chat with a nurse and get their test has made them feel so much better.
“I’m so proud of how the anticoagulation team came together to implement the drive-thrus.
“Using the fast food trailer also added a bit of humor to the situation. They would say things like ‘can I get tokens with my test’. It made us all smile.
The pandemic has been a testing time for the hospital’s anticoagulation team as Covid-19 has taken a terrible toll on their patients.
Tess said: “We know a lot of our patients well because they come to see us so often – sometimes twice a week. Unfortunately Covid-19 took its toll and we lost quite a few. It had an impact on us.
“But the drive-thru helped us keep them as safe as possible. During the period we operated on him – between March 2020 and June 2021 – we supported more than 1,400 patients.
KGH Director of Nursing and Quality, Fiona Barnes, said: “I am delighted that the anticoagulation team have won this award and I commend them all for the way they have supported their patients during the pandemic. .