Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the integrated care system for the county, is planning to deploy a virtual ward capability across five care pathways.
It is to make a new service available for patients under palliative, respiratory, frailty, cardiology and haematology care, using the Doccla box for remote patient monitoring.
The virtual ward expansion forms part of an investment in schemes to increase bed capacity across all hospitals and care homes within Joined Up Care Derbyshire.
Doccla’s virtual ward technology will enable local NHS hospitals to discharge eligible patients who will then remain under the care of clinicians, but also reduce the need for patients with long term or chronic health conditions to visit hospitals in the first place.
It includes a tailor made box of equipment provided to patients receiving care through the virtual ward service, which includes a preconfigured smartphone with a large font that is easier to read. Additionally, wearable medical devices within the kit can monitor vital signs such as heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure.
Safe and efficient
Dr Seema Kumari, who is leading the implementation of virtual wards, said: "Virtual wards are a safe and efficient alternative to NHS bedded care which will allow patients who would otherwise be in hospital to receive the acute care and treatment in the place they call home, including care homes. It allows our healthcare staff to allocate more time for those in need of acute hospital care as it frees up hospital bed space. This is better for patients' recovery and easier for their families and carers.
“The key to making virtual wards work, apart from multi-disciplinary team clinicians, is the monitoring equipment which allows clinicians to check on the progress of their patients while the patient is at home and the clinician is in the hospital. The appointment of Doccla as the provider of our monitoring equipment is a key step in expanding our virtual wards as we approach the busy winter period."