Our cancer patients are benefitting from a new machine designed to make administering their chemotherapy drugs more comfortable, by our own manager for cancer.
Paula Tinniswood came up with the idea for the ‘Airglove’ around 10 years ago after seeing a friend’s mother having her arm put into a warm bucket of water to make her veins easier to locate for administering her chemotherapy.
Paula, our Divisional Manager for Cancer and Clinical Support, explained: “As they go through their course of chemotherapy, patients’ veins become harder to access and it can be painful and uncomfortable for them.
“I was the general manager for cancer at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust when I saw my friend’s mum having to lean over to put her arm in warm water to help dilate her veins and I just thought, ‘no more, there must be a better way.’”
While we haven’t needed to resort to that, instead using heating pads, the Airglove machine, three of which were gifted to our Trust on Wednesday (09 August), makes the process much quicker and easier for our staff and patients.
The machine takes just minutes to warm up a patient’s arm ready for cannulation – inserting a needle into the arm to administer the chemotherapy drugs. It’s named after the plastic ‘glove’ patients place their hand into.
They were presented to Mary Quigley, our Consultant Clinical Oncologist, by Giovanni Benedetti on the Sunflower Suite, where our patients receive chemotherapy, at Queen’s Hospital.
Giovanni owns the company, Green Cross Medico, which manufactured the machines, using Paula’s initial idea. They’re worth around £700 each.
Paula added: “This will help us to improve patient care and provide more comfort for those receiving chemotherapy. Although they don’t look much like what I designed now, it was lovely to see something from my original concept coming into our hospitals.”
Paula also won an NHS innovator award for the concept in 2010. She was then put in touch with Giovanni’s company and worked with him to bring the idea to fruition. They’ll now be available for sale globally, improving care for cancer patients across the world.
Pictured is Sheena Jack, Marketing and Design Director at Green Cross Medico, using the machine with Nikki Akar, our Lead Chemotherapy Nurse.