March 13, 2019

Respiratory Care Unit turns one

During its first year, the Respiratory Care Unit (RCU) has seen 284 patients, looking after patients who would most likely be taken to intensive care.

Gavin Fahey, Respiratory Clinical Nurse Consultant, says this unit bridges a gap between critical care areas and ward beds, where staff can manage more complex respiratory patients, enabling patients to receive a closer observation.

“The nurse to patient ratio here is one to two for the four beds the unit has. The patients usually stay here around two to three days, and that varies as we’ve had patients who had referrals elsewhere. Here, we also do non-invasive ventilation and high flow oxygen, as the main therapies,” he said.

Katharine See, Head of Respiratory Medicine, added the staff have done an amazing job in developing new skills and learning all about new therapies which make our patients safer.

Respiratory Nurse Emma James agrees that the Respiratory Care Unit has been a really great addition to the ward, giving staff the ability to take care of complex patients and see a different variety of patient acuity and conditions.

“Having that one nurse to two patient ratio allows us to take care of our patients with greater ability. As the year has gone by, I think we’ve done really well to progress to where we are now, and we are continuing to make improvements,” she said.

Opening this unit required additional training of the existing staff to enable them to look after more acute patients safely. The Respiratory department plans to increase the amount of education for the staff within the Respiratory Unit and is commencing with a Supported Transition to Excellence in Practice (STEP) program in June this year. This program will assist nurses in advanced practice, and it’s a step between general training and post-graduate training.

Photo (left to right): Dr Victor Duong, Respiratory Registrar; Dr Liam Hannan, Deputy Director Respiratory; Emma James, Respiratory Nurse; Dr Toby Fothergill, Respiratory Registrar; Gavin Fahey, Respiratory CNC; and patient Julie Uren.