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Respiratory patients to start beetroot juice trial in January

The latest care improvements for patients with respiratory illnesses at Maidstone Hospital could be hard to beet!

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust opened a new £3 million dedicated ward for respiratory illnesses this week and then announced a new clinical trial for patients that uses…. beetroot.

John Day ward has been re-modelled and modernised to create a much-improved and impressive environment for respiratory patients. It includes an enhanced care bay for patients requiring more intensive monitoring or intervention, and a negative pressure room for patients with airborne transmitted diseases such as Tuberculosis, who require isolation.

MTW timed the development and opening of the ward at Maidstone Hospital carefully to coincide with the start of winter when emergency admissions for patients with respiratory illnesses can rise by up to 50%.

The improved ward layout has five 4-bed bays and one 3-bed bay, all with shower rooms and toilet facilities. There are also seven single rooms with en-suite facilities and an additional single room with negative pressure facilities for patients who require isolation with respiratory problems such as tuberculosis.

Dr Ravish Mankragod, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Chairman of the Refurbishment Project Group, said: “The newly refurbished John Day ward at Maidstone will be of great benefit to our patients and staff. The ward has been re-modelled to provide the best possible care environment for those admitted to the hospital with respiratory conditions.”

Respiratory patients are also taking part soon in a unique new clinical trial starting from January to see if beetroot juice can reduce their symptoms like breathlessness and fatigue.

The long-term hope is that the trial could help improve their health and reduce hospital admissions. Maidstone will be one of several major hospitals in the country to provide some of its respiratory patients with beetroot juice when they go home, as part of their rehabilitation. The national trial is being led by the Royal Brompton Hospital which is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the UK and among the largest in Europe.

There is some evidence to suggest that drinking beetroot juice can enhance blood oxygenation levels because of its high levels of nitrates. This could help improve the lives of patients who struggle with the debilitating effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dr Syed Husain, also Consultant Respiratory Physician, Principal Investigator for the Respiratory research trials and Innovations Lead at MTW, said: “We are looking at ever more innovative, but sometimes simple ways of improving the lives of our patients with chronic respiratory illnesses. It is our hope that by improving the care we are able to provide, through the treatment and surroundings, we can help improve our patients’ quality of life and reduce hospital admission.”

Dr Husain explained that since earlier this year MTW has taken on other innovative national research trials to improve patient lives with respiratory conditions like Allergic Asthma including the LASER trial. Asthma patients are given a unique new Air Filter (TLA) device at the bedside of their homes at night, filtering the allergens like House Dust Mite (HDM) away from the airways, preventing recurrent exacerbations and hospital admission for these patients with a chronic respiratory illness where all other treatment options have been exhausted. The Trust’s research team has been praised for recruiting the largest number of asthma patients since starting this multi-centre trial in the UK so maximum numbers of its patients could be the beneficiary of this trial.

MTW currently has over 100 clinical trials currently taking place at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals to help the NHS find every better ways of treating today’s illnesses.

It has taken around 25 weeks to develop John Day at a cost of £3 million, which is taken from a budget set aside specifically for building and redevelopment/improvement projects.
This ward refurbishment is part of on-going work and development to improve wards and other areas throughout Maidstone Hospital.

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald, toured the ward and met staff prior to its opening.

Helen said: “It was a pleasure to visit the new John Day Ward at Maidstone Hospital. This specialist ward will be a great asset to our community, providing fantastic quality of care.
Every time I visit the hospital, I am struck by how welcoming and kind the staff were. I am proud of our local hospital and I am glad to see them have facilities that they deserve.”

A brand new assessment ward at Tunbridge Wells Hospital is due to open early next year (2016).