THE SYRINGE DRIVER
The syringe driver is a mechanical device used to administer a mixture of drugs simultaneously in order to relieve pain, nausea and other distressing symptoms. Using a butterfly needle, the syringe driver is primed to subcutaneously allow a continuous flow of medication over a period of 24 hours. MMDNA nurses expertly set up and recharge the driver once a day in the patient’s own home. The device works on a 9 Volt battery. It is normally placed on the patient’s arm or abdomen and the site is rotated.
Because there is no need of intravenous lines or needles, the risk of infections into the blood stream is lessened. Another advantage is that it eliminates the need for injections of medication at intervals throughout the day. Perhaps the greatest advantage is that patients using a syringe driver do not have to be confined to bed. The machine is small enough to be carried in their pocket and so they can move around as freely as they wish or as their health permits.
It is advisable not to use electronic equipment, such as mobile phones, close to the device as it is extremely sensitive and may be damaged. Apart from that precaution, the syringe driver is safe, easy to use and very effective.
The Malta Hospice Movement has a number of these syringe drivers which it loans to patients who can make use of them for as long as necessary in their own home or in hospital. The Movement has many other items which can be taken on loan for as long as needed. The equipment enhances the comfort of a patient and facilitates the task of carers.
Families are kindly asked to take good care of the items, some of which are very costly or delicate and to return them in good order when they are no longer required. In this way a greater number of families will be able to benefit from them. No charge is made for this and all other services.