What is a Syringe Driver?
Syringe Drivers are most frequently used in pain management for palliative care, particularly cancer care. They are small portable battery powered machines, usually about the size of a pencil case, which administer a continuous dose of painkiller or other medication by subcutaneous infusion i.e. below the skin. At one end there is a small needle or a cannula (fine plastic tube) which is placed under the skin. A small tube runs from the needle to the syringe containing medication. The syringe is placed into the driver which is used to pump the medication continuously. The syringe driver is therefore ‘attached’ to the patient.
The Story So Far…..
It was a tiny sign in a local fabric shop that caught my eye –
‘Macmillan Nurses are looking for people who are interested in sewing to make bags for patients who use syringe drivers.’
I rang up and found out exactly what was needed and sent a sample. One year on we have now made over 100 bags for the patients at The Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the Royal Liverpool. I make up ‘kits’ from fabric donated by a local curtain maker and take them to our local primary school. The children are shown how to sew them together using a sewing machine. We put labels on them ….Handmade by [child’s first name] then they get sent off to the Macmillan Nurses via the Volunteer Service Coordinator.
The bags are made up using different fabrics and are reversible. They are made using small pattern prints and are made of cotton so they are washable. The response from the patient has been amazing. The constant feedback we get is it brings a smile to their face and they are touched that other people are thinking of them. Practically of course, the bags are of tremendous benefit as it means transfers, using the bathroom and generally getting about is much easier for patient and nurses.
Each bag is donated to one person. They are not transferable due to the possibility of cross infection. Sadly, this means there is a constant demand. Syringe drivers are used in many hospitals and hospices up and down the country.
If you wish to get involved it is best to decide where you want to donate your bags. You will then need to contact them and find out which make of syringe driver is being used as they can vary a little in size. Generally we find that each health authority will favour one brand. I make our bags to fit the McKinley T34 which is the one they use in Liverpool.
If you have any questions or need any help please contact me on