Home treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis using the‘Intermate’: the first year's experience


Dr D M G Halpin, Consultant Physician Department of Respiratory Medicine Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DN England


Home treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis has many attractions and is becoming increasingly popular The investigators have studied the use, results and costs of the first year of operation of a home-care intravenous antibiotic service using the‘Intermate’infusion device in a prospective study using questionnaires, spirometric and weight measurements Ninety-three patients received 166 courses of intravenous antibiotics in full or in part at home during 1991 The average length of treatment was 12 5 days and on average 70% of the treatment was given at home The mean percentage predicted FEVt and FVC improved after treatment and the mean improvement was not significantly different to that produced by hospital treatment Breathlessness, sputum volume, appetite, ability to sleep, mood, energy and overall well-being, as assessed by questionnaire, showed significant improvements after home treatment The median time spent mixing and administering drugs was 10–19 hours and visiting the hospital was 7–12 hours The median number of days of lost income to patients or their carers was 0 days The majority of the patients were extremely satisfied with the treatment and supervision that they received Using the home care service, 1442 in patient days were saved The investigators conclude that home care using‘Intermates’improves a patient's lung function and quality of life