Virtual Wards and Hospital at Home
Allowing patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital
The NHS is increasingly introducing virtual wards, or ‘Hospital at Home’, to support people at the place they call home, including care homes. Virtual wards allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital.
Delivering integrated care in the community, and particularly in people’s homes, plays a significant role in the vision for everyone across Greater Manchester to live a good life in a greener, fairer and more prosperous city region.
Virtual wards are not new. Early in the COVID pandemic, COVID-19 patients were provided with an app and pulse oximeter. This enabled NHS clinical teams to regularly monitor patients whilst they could recover in the comfort of their own home. If the data monitored showed patients were deteriorating, clinicians could quickly act to provide the appropriate care.
NHS organisations are now treating tens of thousands of people through virtual wards at home with a range health conditions. Multidisciplinary teams are ensuring people receive high quality care, including senior clinical reviews, the use of tried-and-tested monitoring devices, clinical advice, smartphones and other technology. Healthcare professionals may also visit a patient’s home to provide face-to-face care.
The roll out and expansion of virtual wards is supported by a growing and developing evidence base that demonstrates benefits for patients, staff and systems. For example, there is good evidence that patients on frailty virtual wards (also known as Hospital at Home) have better outcomes than those treated in hospital.
There are a number of benefits for patients who are suitable for virtual wards, or ‘Hospital at Home’. The option to stay in the comfort of their own home, whilst being closely monitored by hospital staff, can lead to faster recovery and improved mental wellbeing. It can also give patients greater independence and empower them to work alongside clinicians and carers to manage their condition.
Within the NHS, there is a need to increase capacity, embrace digital, and improve the patient & clinician experience. The role of virtual wards is seen as critical in supporting capacity at key periods of increased pressure and easing the burden on the NHS and providing a better care experience for the patient.
Virtual wards are one of Greater Manchester’s top priorities. Health Innovation Manchester is leading the transformation and optimisation of virtual wards across Greater Manchester. To ensure success, we are working in close collaboration with staff, patients and their families and carers through this journey, ensuring positive and successful outcomes for everyone.
By harnessing the transformative power of digital and data to develop new models of care that improve access and outcomes for citizens, the ambition is that virtual wards will become a well-established service across GM.
We'd like to hear from you
Have you been involved in virtual wards or Hospital at Home, either as a clinician, patient or carer? We’d like to share your story!
We are looking to share a range of real-life stories and experiences, to help other people understand more about this service.
To express an interest in taking part, please email Info@healthinnovationmanchester.com and we will be in touch with more information.