Lung patient Tom is pioneer for new home treatment plan

Tom Martin, who suffers from severe breathing problems has benefitted from an innovative care plan e

Tom Martin, who suffers from severe breathing problems has benefitted from an innovative care plan enabling him to be treated at home. Picture: NHS NORTH NORFOLK CLINICAL COMMISSIONING GROUP - Credit: Archant

Every breath is precious for Tom Martin, who requires a constant supply of oxygen to stay alive.

Now an innovative treatment programme is enabling Mr Martin, who suffers from severe lung disease, to be cared for at home. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2008, scarring of the lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.

Given just 48 hours to live last year, Mr Martin, who lives near Aylsham, has now recovered sufficiently to be supported at home with medical equipment normally only available in acute hospitals. Similar treatment plans are now being used to care for other patients in the region.

Admitted to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in a critical condition last year, Mr Martin, 67, had a spell in a high dependency unit before being transferred to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

He was assessed for a lung transplant, but it was considered at the time he would not survive the operation.

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At first, he could do little more than lie in bed, but Mr Martin endured three months of gruelling physiotherapy and was eventually able to walk to the end of his ward unaided. To return home, he needed very high rates of oxygen that could usually only be supplied in a hospital.

A multi-disclinary team was set up to provide a solution for Mr Martin's complex medical needs. His condition has now improved sufficiently for him been placed on the transplant list.

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Mr Martin said: 'My consultant told me that I wouldn't make it through the operation and wanted to send me home with palliative care, but I said I can't accept that – how can I get fit enough?'

The treatment, which is funded by NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has proved cheaper and more effective than keeping Mr Martin in hospital.

NHS North Norfolk CCG engagement manager Rebecca Champion said: 'Tom's treatment is likely to have been longer and more complex than most, bringing him home in the way we did was much better for him and cost much less.'

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