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Patients receiving non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will now be able to receive treatment at home, thanks to a new service at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW).

Led by the Respiratory department’s Nursing Practitioner team, the Domiciliary NIV Service provides patients who have severe COPD with facemask ventilators they can wear at home, meaning they will not need to come into hospital. The Service will also reduce the time taken to start treatment, as patients will no longer need to wait for appointments at specialist treatment centres out of area.

Mary Lake (pictured with the Respiratory team) was the first COPD patient to benefit from MTW’s Domiciliary NIV Service, when it launched earlier this month. As part of the initiative, Mary, who was an inpatient with raised carbon dioxide levels in her blood, was issued with a ventilation mask attached to a machine which she took home after being discharged. The treatment will help Mary to breathe more effectively by supporting the muscles that make her lungs work and maintaining both oxygen and carbon dioxide levels within a safe range.

Louise Robertson, Lead Respiratory Practitioner, said: “There are many benefits to domiciliary NIV for patients like Mary, including reduced hospital admissions and an improvement in quality of life, thanks to increased energy levels. Having access to a local service will also mean that more patients are likely to take up the treatment, as many struggle to travel up to London or further afield.”

Respiratory Consultant and Clinical Lead for the Service, Dr Philip ‘David’ Davidson, commended the Respiratory team’s work in getting the new Service up and running: “The Respiratory practitioners have put a huge amount of effort into getting this off the ground, and have received training and been upskilled to provide this vital service for some of our sickest respiratory patients.”

The Domiciliary NIV Service will initially be for new patients, with the aim to extend it to patients currently receiving care from alternative providers, such as St Thomas’s in London and the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

The Service will run alongside the Respiratory team’s well-established Home Oxygen Service and COPD Community team, which will ensure continuation of care under the same Respiratory Practitioner team.