A study between Silverchain and one of Perth’s leading tertiary hospitals that aims to improve health outcomes for home care patients has attracted international recognition.

The study involving Silverchain and Fiona Stanley Hospital focused on a cohort of patients with serious infections who receive intravenous antibiotics at home via a treatment called outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT).  FSH also consulted with other tertiary hospitals for the study, as required.

A key part of the research identified risk factors that can contribute to these patients developing the uncommon but potentially serious condition ‘catheter related thrombosis’ (CRT) while receiving intravenous antibiotics with OPAT.

The research study, titled ‘Risk factors for catheter related thrombosis during outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy’, was named in the top 10 OPAT studies in 2021 in a recent journal article published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 

The collaborative research project will not only improve health outcomes of home-cared OPAT patients, but it will also reduce pressure on hospitals, with the OPAT home service freeing up about 25 beds a day at Fiona Stanley Hospital alone. 

Silverchain’s Hospital at the Home (HATH) Medical Director Dr Leena Patel said the research would help reduce the risk of catheter related thrombosis for OPAT patients.

“Giving care to patients in their home in a ‘virtual ward’ setting is becoming more common, particularly in regard to Silverchain’s ever-increasing range of complex care in the home services,” Dr Patel said. 

“Therefore, it is increasingly important to ensure that this type of care provides patients with the best health outcomes.

“By identifying the risk factors of CRT for OPAT patients, our health care workers will be better equipped to provide quality care for their patients.”

Dr Patel said Silverchain’s HATH nursing team had excelled in their collaborative work with hospital staff, ensuring OPAT patients could access the best possible care in the comfort of their homes.

Fiona Stanley Hospital’s lead researcher infectious diseases consultant and microbiologist Dr Paul Ingram said OPAT patients who met the risk factors were typically able to still receive treatment at home with measures in place to manage their risk.

“However, we can now put measures in place to best manage at-risk patients, such as adjusting medications, more frequent at-home nursing visits or using alternative types of treatment where required,” Dr Ingram said.

“We want patients to remain at home where they’re comfortable whenever possible, rather than managing them in a hospital.

“This research will help facilitate improved outcomes for patients around the globe who are receiving health care at home.

“This study is also proving its worth here at home, because on any given day OPAT frees up around 25 beds at Fiona Stanley Hospital alone.”