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Supporting respiratory care in Powys: A Patient Story

posted 15 Nov 2019, 00:47 by Hollie O'Connell

Jo Allen 
Respiratory Specialist Nurse Team Leader 


15 November 2019 



Jo Allen is the Respiratory Specialist Nurse Team Leader at Welshpool Hospital.  Jo was first introduced to Flo a number of years ago, and has been using Flo to support patients who have a variety of respiratory conditions.  She has recently taken some time to share one of her patient’s stories with us. 

“ 
I have a patient who I’m supporting with his respiratory condition.  He has COPD and bronchiectasis, and he has had a number of admissions for Type 2 respiratory failure.  He is hypoxic due to his condition and is on long term oxygen and ambulatory oxygen to try to help with this.   He’s also waiting for a sleep assessment at Wrexham hospital to try to support his breathing and better sleep at nighttime. 

The gentleman becomes breathless after minimal activity or exertion.  He is limited in terms of what he’s able to do before becoming breathless and needing to stop and rest, and as such he can’t walk further than around 50 metres.  Consequently, he has become very reliant on his wife for help and support in his day to day life. 

As you can imagine, my patient found that it was a big adjustment to start using oxygen at home and also to have to rely on his wife so much.  He was not engaged with his health, which was a cause for some concern.  I wanted to find a way to help my patient by improving his confidence around his health and ensuring a link to myself and other clinicians, in a way which would not seem intrusive.  I thought Flo could really help my patient, and he had actually already heard about Flo from our team.  I discussed with him how I thought Flo could help, and we decided to give it a go.  I explained what Flo would ask him to do, and also how to use some simple equipment to take his readings.

Flo sends my patient a friendly prompt twice a week to reply with his blood oxygen saturation levels, and also his temperature.  Depending on the readings he sends in, Flo will then provide some guidance based on the agreed care between myself and the patient.   If his readings are either too low or too high too many times over a certain period, I will get a notification on his patient record in Flo’s system.  Flo also sends him some additional advice and motivation messages each week, for example, advice around staying active, breathing exercises and so on. 

 
I think that from my patients perspective Flo has been really helpful in supporting him to better self-manage his condition He has told me that he finds Flo easy to use, and her messages are useful because they remind him that there is someone there to support him, and he also feels less isolated.  He has told me that he worries a little less now about his condition, and would recommend her to others with similar health concerns to him, as she helps him to stay focused. 

I am really pleased with the improvement I have seen in my patient’s health.  I can tell that he is more confident in the management of his condition and that his knowledge and understanding has improved.   I think this is evidenced by the noticeable reduction in admissions we have seen for this gentleman. 

From my perspective as a clinician, I have found Flo to be a really useful tool for us.  When I have introduced patients to Flo, their feedback has always been very positive.  I think Flo is able to offer patients some additional reassurance, which gives them the confidence to self-manage & engage with their health.  Not only do patients benefit from this, but their family and friends do too, as they feel reassured that their loved one is receiving the support they need. 

Although where we have used Flo we have had some fantastic results, we would like to be able to introduce her to more patients and improve uptake.  We now have a new Healthcare Support Worker working with us, and our physiotherapist has re-joined us, and I think that increased capacity will really help us to be able to take Flo forwards and reach more patients.