Virtual wards

Virtual wards allow patients to get the care they need, at home, safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital by using cutting-edge monitoring devices including smartphones with specifically designed applications and other technology. 

Virtual Ward from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals on Vimeo.

During their stay on the virtual ward, patients are under the overall care of a hospital doctor but can receive care at home from a range of professionals including nursing, therapy, pharmacy and third sector professionals. This includes daily senior clinical reviews and advice using online meeting technology.

The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is increasingly introducing virtual wards, to support people at the place they call home, including care homes – and thousands of people are already benefitting from it. In Lancashire and South Cumbria we currently have capacity for nearly 400 people to be monitored in their preferred location on a virtual ward and we intend to have increased this to over 700 this by March 2024. Since December 2022 we have monitored over 9,000 patients via the virtual wards with 90 per cent of those being discharged without any further care – avoiding a hospital stay.

We make use of remote technology for monitoring using an app called Docobo. This will enable observations such as oxygen saturations, blood pressure and temperature to be taken regularly and uploaded via a device such as a mobile telephone or tablet, with these observations monitored by clinicians within a central hub.  Healthcare professionals may also visit a patient’s home to provide face-to-face care. These types of virtual ward are sometimes known as ‘Hospital at Home.’

Don’t worry if you aren’t ‘tech-savvy’ or don’t have access to your own smart phone or equipment, everything is provided during your virtual ward admission, and we will show you how to use everything – it’s very simple!

Patients are referred from a variety of clinical teams including Emergency Departments, GPs, community services and hospital wards. This can be either to prevent a patient from going into hospital in the first place or to allow someone in hospital to leave sooner.

Feedback from patients and staff about this service is positive, and for some patients and their families, receiving hospital level care at home is preferrable to admission to a hospital bed.


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