St Helens nurse brings innovative treatment to community

Community nurse Pam McGrail and Alan Martin from PFM Medical

Community nurse Pam McGrail and Alan Martin from PFM Medical

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Patients in St Helens are enjoying cutting-edge treatment thanks to a community nurse mastering an innovative medical device.

Pam McGrail has become the UK’s first community nurse to offer a Powerwand at a clinic or health centre rather than in hospital.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust employee Pam is now offering the improved care to patients in St Helens and Knowsley being treated by the community intravenous therapy team.

The device is inserted using a portable ultrasound device and is then worn at home for weeks or even months while intravenous (IV) medication is given.

The Powerwand also monitors patients’ blood.

Ms McGrail said: “The benefits for patients are that the device can be left in place from weeks to months to deliver IV therapy but also allow blood samples to be drawn and other medications to be administered through the same line.

“The insertion of the device is also quicker and more comfortable for patients and, unlike a cannula, it can be inserted into the upper arm where it is less obvious and intrusive to daily life.”

The Powerwand has already proved popular with St Helens patients.

Paul Glover, 39, said: “Having treatment at home is much better for me than having to stay in hospital as I have four children so need to be able to go out to work.

“The Powerwand is so much better than the cannulas I have had in my arm before. Not only was it able to be left in place for nine weeks after being inserted by a nurse at a local clinic, but it was placed high up on my arm so didn’t interfere at all with my work operating machinery.”

The Powerwand is manufactured by Access Scientific in the USA and distributed in the UK by PFM Medical.

PFM Medical’s clinical educator in vascular access Alan Martin said: “Pam’s introduction of Powerwand placement in the community is a major breakthrough.

“Patients avoid having to go to hospital for appointments, they benefit from reduced travel and reduced delays to treatment and there are low complication rates. There is no waiting at an acute hospital so there are also reduced costs to the local health economy.”