Barr DA, Seaton RA, Barlow G Outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) and the general physician. J Clin Med. 2013; 13:(5)495-499

Chapman ALN, Dixon S, Andrews D, Lillie PJ, Bazaz R, Patchett JD Clinical efficacy and cost effectiveness of outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT): a UK perspective. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009; 64:(6)1316-1324

Chapman ALN, Seaton RA, Cooper MA Good practice recommendations for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) in adults in the UK: A consensus statement. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012; 67:(5)1053-1062

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in primary and community care. CG139. 2012. (accessed 22 May 2020)

NHS England. NHS Long Term Plan. 2019. (accessed 22 May 2020)

Owen K Setting up and running a community IV therapy clinic. J Community Nurs. 2016; 30:(1)53-56

Experience with setting up community intravenous therapy clinics

02 June 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 6


The NHS Long Term Plan aims for patients to receive more options, better support and integrated care at the right time and in the optimal care setting. Community nursing teams at the Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust have experienced several challenges in delivering intravenous antibiotics (IV) to patients within their own homes, especially for non-housebound patients, due to the complexity of and demand on the service. Traditionally, intravenous antimicrobials are administered in the acute hospital or in-patient settings. However, there is now a growing trend to deliver intravenous antibiotic therapy within the community. Community nurses have a wealth of knowledge and skills that can support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan by developing new models of care in integrated care systems while supporting the implementation and delivery of the governments five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance. This article describes how the community nursing service at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust set up community IV clinics.

Outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT) refers to the approach by which intravenous (IV) antimicrobials are administered in the outpatient setting or community (Chapman et al, 2012). In the UK, until recently, OPAT delivery was limited to a few specialist centres led by enthusiastic individuals (Chapman et al, 2012). OPAT is now an increasingly used, safe and effective model of care in the UK, endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care as a key antimicrobial-prescribing decision within an antimicrobial stewardship programme (Barr et al, 2013). Community nursing teams aim to provide a multidisciplinary and integrated approach between care in the hospital and community, complementing the services provided by the secondary and primary care sectors and community service providers.

Community nursing services administer a variety of IV medications to treat infections such as cellulitis, exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), community-acquired pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTIs) (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2012). These treatments are administered safely and effectively in community clinics or at home for housebound patients, often without the need for hospital admission. Referrals for these services are received from GPs to prevent the need for hospital admissions, and from secondary care, to support earlier discharge of patients who would otherwise need to remain in hospital until their treatment was completed.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Community Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for district and community nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month