Acute ‘virtual ward’ enables patients to receive care safely at home

North West Anglia Foundation Trust has partnered with Inhealthcare to launch a new acute virtual ward for patients to receive care safely at home.

Up to 20 patients per day with conditions including heart failure, infection, respiratory diseases, and stroke, are choosing to join the NW Anglia FT Acute service under the care of a consultant-led clinical team. Inhealthcare designed the technology-enabled service together with clinicians from the Trust, and provides the remote monitoring platform. The service offers patients recovering, but not yet fit for discharge, the chance to return home with simple devices for measuring vital signs like blood pressure, temperature, blood oxygen level, and weight.

Patients supply readings up to three times per day through options such as a mobile app, text message, or telephone landline, and receive regular check-in calls from nurses. If any readings fall outside the expected range, the system automatically alerts clinicians to intervene with medical advice and treatment.  Patients spend an average of four days on the ‘virtual ward’ before discharge or transfer to primary care.

Dr Deyo Okubadejo, Lead clinician for Virtual Wards, said: “Patients love being at home instead of in hospital, and feel safe knowing a nurse regularly contacts them. We have all had friends stuck on a ward desperate to get home. We now actively enable that safely.  There are far more benefits for patients who are medically appropriate to be monitored and regularly contacted from the comfort of their home, rather than in a hospital bed. These include patients being less likely to acquire an infection or experience a decline in functionality if they are in their own home surroundings.  Our virtual ward is provides the safety and security of professional clinical care, provided within a familiar and safe setting for the patient.”

The Trust plans to extend the service to frailer patients whose health can be monitored continuously with wearable devices.

Bryn Sage, CEO of Inhealthcare, said: “We are proud to partner with North West Anglia Foundation Trust to pioneer the future of NHS care through remote monitoring. Virtual wards help patients get home sooner, reduce delays in transfers of care, and free hospital beds for urgent cases.”


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