The Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS) depends on point-of-care ultrasound systems to get quick and accurate vascular access in critically-ill children being transferred to specialist treatment centres.
Advanced nurse practitioner, Cathy Roberts, said: “In the UK, paediatric intensive care is provided at centralised units, and children needing this care must be safely transferred there by people with appropriate knowledge and skills.
“CATS provides a retrieval service for the North Thames area, transferring around 1,200 critically-ill children a year from regional hospitals to those offering paediatric intensive care, such as Great Ormond Street, St Mary’s, the Royal Brompton, the Royal London and Addenbrooke’s.”
“Successful vascular access is vital for patient retrievals, and we frequently need to insert central or arterial lines as we stabilise children prior to transfer.
“I learned how to obtain vascular access under ultrasound guidance through a combination of supervised practice and a SonoSite training course. It was excellent and gave me the opportunity to practice different ways of holding the probe in the safety of a non-clinical environment, and discover various tips to help me get the most benefit from using ultrasound at the point of patient care.
“CATS has two SonoSite Edge systems that we take with us wherever we go, and these are now used on around 70 to 80 % of our retrievals.
“Ultrasound has become so much a part of our routine that we would be lost without them.”