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Virtual Wards see patients across Coventry and Warwickshire receive clinical support from the comfort of their own homes.

Respiratory patients across Coventry and Warwickshire are benefitting from the use of innovative care and technology enabling them to safely and conveniently manage their conditions at home rather than in hospital.

The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Virtual Ward at University Hospital, Coventry has been so well received since being launched six months ago that it was recently extended to accept community referrals.

Warwick Hospital and George Eliot in Nuneaton are now also utilising the same technology to help remotely monitor eligible respiratory patients, who meet certain criteria, as part of the process of moving towards Virtual Wards.

Equipment, including a mobile phone with a remote monitoring app, a thermometer, blood pressure monitor and a pulse oximeter reader – a small non-invasive device which clips on a finger – are provided to those using the service.

Patients are shown how to use the equipment and send readings, with conversations taking place between them and healthcare professionals on a daily basis and tailored observations and follow-ups held depending on their requirements.

Test results are closely monitored and action taken as and when required, meaning patients could be discharged from the Virtual Ward, or readmitted into hospital should their condition deteriorate. Patients have access to help and support should they need it at any time.

As well as offering timely, high quality care to people in their homes, this approach reduces the need for avoidable hospital admissions and frees up bed capacity.

We are proud to be supporting the roll out of Virtual Wards across the Integrated Care System. Not only is there a unique opportunity to reduce inequalities, strengthen relationships with external partners and reduce admissions and length of stays, but it can transform the way our patients are managed and the impact this has on their quality of life.”

Jodie StorrowService Manager for Respiratory Specialist Nurses at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust

Tracey Sheridan, Associate Director of Operations at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to be following NHS England guidance by monitoring patients remotely. This new way of working ensures that patients are continued to be under the care of the hospital consultant and form part of a virtual ward round where their condition and management plan is reviewed.”

Patrick Johnson, Chief Operating Officer at George Eliot Hospital, added: “Keeping people in hospital longer than necessary can delay their recovery and in some cases lead to other complications. This new initiative aims to get people back to familiar surroundings safely where they can continue to recover with appropriate oversight from our consultants and medical teams.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System has helped to implement the Virtual Wards with support from NHSX and healthcare technology experts Docobo.

Adrian Flowerday, MD at Docobo, said: “Since the NHS notice went out to mobilise Virtual Wards, we’ve worked closely with the fantastic teams across the area to mobilise our DOC@HOME platform to enable their virtual wards, and I’m really impressed how the team have worked so hard to provide this care.”