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Nurse invents simple IV assessment tools

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A nurse has successfully developed two assessment tools to help colleagues give intravenous treatment, in particular chemotherapy.

The Venous Assessment Tool (VAT) and the Deciding on Intravenous Access (DIVA) were developed by Sara Wells, while working as a sister on the haematology day unit at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust.

The two paper-based assessment tools are intended to help nurses assess patients for the most appropriate device to deliver medication directly into each patient’s veins.

Ms Wells, who became a bone marrow transplant co-ordinator at Southampton University Hospitals 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,” she said.

MidTECH, the West Midlands NHS Innovation Hub, helped Ms Wells develop the idea. This resulted in an educational grant from the company 3M Health Care, which paid for the design and production of 2,500 laminated versions of the assessment cards.

They have been distributed throughout the Birmingham trust and Ms Wells hopes the idea will be adopted by nurses across the country.

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