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Virtual ward for patient recovery proves successful

Virtual ward for patient recovery proves successful

Norwich CCG and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) have launched a successful home ward
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Norwich CCG and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) have launched a home ward to allow patients to recover from hospital treatment at home and free up beds at Norwich Community Hospital, a scheme which has proved very successful.

Expert nurses and therapists from NCH&C run Alder Homeward and look after the patient for 3-5 days after treatment, coming to their home. This service is said to provide the same level of care and monitoring that they would have received in hospital, which is why it is called a ‘virtual ward’.

This is a major part of NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group’s YourNorwich programme, to develop and integrate health and care in the community.

Since December, NHS Norwich CCG says that more than 20 patients who were medically stable have been discharged early from Norwich Community Hospital (Alder Ward) and were able to return home.

Dr David Goldser from NHS Norwich CCG said: “If we provide our patients with faster, more intensive support at home it will help them to recover more quickly. It means there is a better chance that they can get back to normal after a hospital admission.”

There are currently more than 20 nurses and therapists in the virtual ward team and more are being recruited. As well as enabling people to leave Alder Ward sooner, it has meant there is more space at Norwich Community Hospital for patients to recuperate after their treatment.

The CCG commissions care for 215,000 people in Norwich and part of the Broadland area. It has been given a programme budget of £231m in 2015/16, of which £116m is spent on acute care.

John Mallett, NCH&C’s assistant director of integrated care in Norwich, said: “This exciting initiative is helping people to return home from hospital sooner. We know that people prefer to receive care in their own homes wherever possible, so I’m delighted that as part of this pilot we have already been able to help so many people to leave hospital and to access the care they need in the comfort of their own homes.” 

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