Liverpool cancer nurse's innovation goes global

Posted 26th October 2022

Specialist nurse, Carol McCormick from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, has transformed the way people receive intravenous cancer treatments with the trial project highlighted at an international conference which took place in Athens last week (16-18th October 2022).

People receiving chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatment for cancer often need repeat blood tests or medication straight into their blood stream for long periods at a time, over several months or even years depending on their diagnosis and treatment needs.

Traditionally, via a device called a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line that is placed into one of the veins within the upper arm. However, ten years ago, Carol McCormick, Clinical Interventions Lead Nurse, began to pilot a new kind of device that sits underneath the skin which the PICC line is secured within; proving to be more secure, improve patient experience and potentially reduce the risk of infections and the need for replacement PICCs.

Carol said: “Traditional devices are effective during treatment but with a patient carrying out ‘normal’ activities can easily come out or become insecure meaning a new line has to fitted, using nursing time, potentially delaying treatment and potentially increasing the risk of infection and discomfort to a patient.

“Back in 2012, we decided to trial the new devices which goes directly into the dermis whilst also acting as an anchor under the skin and found that for our patients who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, multiple treatments, blood tests, side effects and other life events.Removing something as seemingly simple as a need for a replacement catheter, really improved their experience as well as reducing nurse’s time spent inserting the replacements and potential cost savings on the devices themselves.

“We, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, were the first organisation to start using the new under-the-skin (subcutaneous anchored securement system) devices for all patients. From the start of the trial we monitored all replacement devices and quickly identified that by training our nurses to insert them, we were saving nurse time, seeing fewer delays in treatment and ultimately and importantly, hopefully improving patient experience and comfort at the same time.

“I’m really pleased that the devices have now been nationally approved and other organisations are using them too. I think it’s really important that as professionals we continually look at what we could do differently and staying up to date on new technologies to make treatment as seamless and as positive for people needing our care as possible.

“Hopefully by presenting our work internationally, even more patients and nurses will benefit!”