Physios become first to give ultrasounds by patient bedsides

Communications TeamNews

Patients with major injuries and illnesses, including brain injuries and serious heart conditions, can now be given lung ultrasounds without leaving their hospital beds.

Physiotherapists Emily Cockshutt and Aaron Hales have become the first at Hull University Teaching Hospitals, part of NHS Humber Health Partnership, to qualify in a new technique to perform lung ultrasounds by patients’ bedsides, helping people with serious breathing problems.

Physio Emily Cockshutt standing outside the Neurosurgery and Major Trauma Ward in her uniform, with a stethoscope around her neck

Physio Emily Cockshutt

The technique, endorsed by the Intensive Care Society, allows physiotherapists to assess lung conditions more accurately, enabling them to design effective treatment plans to help patients recover more quickly.

Emily said: “Lung ultrasound is a form of imaging and it’s a non-invasive diagnostic tool that can be used right at patients’ bedsides.

“It is thought to be superior to chest x-ray and auscultation in diagnostic accuracy and has the added benefit of not using radiation and being more portable than chest x-ray.

“We can use it to assess lung conditions and, along with our other clinical findings, enables us provide more effective treatment and interventions. “

Physio Aaron Hales, in his physio uniform, standing in front of an information board explaining the functions of the heart

Physio Aaron Hales

Emily and Aaron attended a course at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and had to complete 30 ultrasound scans, 10 under supervision and 20 without, before completing a triggered assessment as part of their training while they worked towards qualification.

Emily will be using the new technique to deliver tailored and more effective treatment to patients in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), Neurosurgery and Major Trauma at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Aaron will use the technique with patients who have undergone cardiothoracic surgery as they recover in wards and ICU at Castle Hill.

He said: “The patients will benefit as they should access specific treatment plans based on the ultrasound findings, allowing quicker treatment of their problems and therefore quicker recovery – so, hopefully, they will spend less time in hospital.”