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25 April 2016

St Michael’s Hospital launches new hyperemesis unit for patients

Expecting mothers who suffer extreme vomiting during their pregnancy can now receive quick and efficient treatment from a new unit called the opening at St Michael's Hospital.

Between 70-80 per cent of women are likely to experience some sickness or nausea during their pregnancy, commonly known as morning sickness. However, one per cent of women become affected by a condition known as "hyperemesis gravidarum" characterised by extreme sickness and nausea, which often requires hospital treatment.

St Michael's new unit, called the gynaecology treatment lounge, is specially designed to treat patients with hyperemesis, without the need for a long stay in hospital. The unit is fitted with two reclining treatment chairs, in a room located in the gynaecology outpatients; away from the busy ward environment.

From 20 April, women who are six to 20 weeks pregnant with hyperemesis, and planning to have their babies at St Michael's Hospital, can come to the unit for treatment. The nurse led service will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am - 4pm.

Sally Stacey, senior staff nurse, said: "We are very fortunate to be opening this unit to patients with hyperemesis. For those who suffer with the condition, this time can be very unpleasant which is why we aim to reduce any added stress with a comfortable environment, away from the busy ward, for treatment.

"Women can be referred to the service via a GP, midwife, early pregnancy or through an A&E admission. When patients have come to the unit once, they can then self-refer, which allows open access to the unit if ongoing treatment is required."

In the last year St Michael's admitted 145 patients to its gynaecological ward which accounted for 213 bed days, with an average stay of one and half days.

Jennifer Anstey, gynaecology matron, said: "Patients coming to the unit can be treated in a short period of time with rapid rehydration, medication and advice to take home about living with hyperemesis. Going home on the same day is particularly beneficial to patients who work or have other children and family at home.

"To ensure patients are not alone during treatment, the room can accommodate one visitor per patient. The room also has a radio, donated by a previous patient of the Trust and televisions funded by Above & Beyond, the local charity that raises funds for St Michael's and the other University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust sites.

"The hyperemesis unit is the result of a huge team effort here at St Michael's. We are very excited to open this new facility to patients and are confident this will improve our patient experience."