The virtual ward has been re-introduced to help manage the increase in COVID-19 admissions amongst younger people, as well as supporting the workforce as they face growing pressure and demand on their resources. The move is also a pre-emptive step ahead of the normal winter pressures the NHS faces each year.
Originally launched in late 2020 as part of the NHS’s rapid response to COVID-19, the virtual ward pathway was stepped down in April 2021 as cases and admissions significantly reduced, before being recommissioned to start again from 26th July. The restart of the service also included the delivery of equipment to patients and staff training, all completed within seven days.
Using Clinitouch, patients complete a series of tailored question sets and vital sign measurements, which are sent in real-time to clinical teams to review. The remote monitoring platform automatically generates a risk-scored list of prioritised actions, enabling clinicians to intervene and provide urgent care to patients showing signs of deterioration post-discharge.
"By working with Spirit, it has allowed us to ensure all appropriate patients can be discharged from hospital and be supported in their own homes using the virtual ward."
Research, conducted in collaboration with Leicestershire Partnership Trust and De Montfort University, found that the virtual ward was effective in reducing clinically necessary re-admissions for patients admitted with COVID-19, as well as increasing respiratory ward capacity by 40% during the pandemic.
Aside from the virtual ward service, Clinitouch, provided by Spirit Health, is also used to support respiratory and cardiac teams across Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust to deliver care in community settings for hundreds of high-risk patients.
Alex Woodward, Deputy Cardio-Respiratory Lead at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: "Due to a significant increase in the pressure on the local healthcare system we had to restart our Covid Virtual Ward to support the flow of patients through the system. Our partnership working with Spirit was an integral component of us being able to restart the service within 7-days as they rapidly delivered training sessions to staff and organised the delivery of equipment to our acute care partners. By working with Spirit, it has allowed us to ensure all appropriate patients can be discharged from hospital and be supported in their own homes using the virtual ward."
Nadine Miles, Director of Growth and Operations at Spirit Health, added: "We are really proud to continue to support the team at Leicestershire Partnership Trust to deliver brilliant virtual patient care, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. We always strive to make health easy, so we’re delighted to have met the need for a quick deployment of services, enabling patients to continue their recovery from the comfort of their own home."
Clinitouch is a market-ready remote monitoring platform enabling clinicians to manage their patients remotely. Digitised pathways include monitoring and management for a wide range of long-term conditions, including COPD and heart failure, as well as support for COVID-19 virtual wards and cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation programmes.
For more information about how we can work together to launch a remote patient monitoring scheme, check out our Partner Program.