A Midlands ICB is set to launch virtual wards covering seven health conditions over the next two weeks.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICB has today (27 October) opened its virtual ward for patients who have just had bowel surgery, with six more to open within the next fortnight.
Over the next two weeks, patients with asthma, heart failure, ambulatory jaundice, diabetes, community acquired pneumonia and blood disorders will also have access to a virtual ward, it said.
The ICB said it hopes 231 patients will be able to be looked after simultaneously across the virtual wards service, by December.
The slew of new virtual wards join those already in place across the footprint, currently providing care for for patients with the heart condition atrial fibrillation and the lung condition COPD, as well as those recovering from Covid.
Virtual wards see a team of professionals remotely monitor a patient’s condition without them needing to come to hospital.
Dr Gurnak Dosanjh, GP and ICB clinical lead for the virtual wards, said: ‘Virtual wards are all about putting the patient experience at the centre of healthcare. We have seen that being at home can have a positive impact on recovery and mental wellbeing. We also know that staying in hospital longer than necessary can have a detrimental effect on health and independence. Extending the virtual ward service will enable us to provide safe clinical care for more patients in the comfort of their own surroundings.
‘This service is a prime example of our “home first” approach to delivering care. Care providers should consider if there are ways that patients can be treated and cared for in their own home rather than in hospital. We want to make sure that people get the right care in the right place this winter.’
Rachna Vyas, chief operating officer for the ICB, said: ‘The virtual wards service is a key part of our winter plans to ensure that people are only in hospital when they really need to be. Since December 2020 when the first virtual wards for Covid patients were established, 1,780 bed days have been saved, which is the number of days where a patient is at home when they would otherwise have been in a hospital bed.’
The extension to the service was brought about by a collaboration between the ICB, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, DHU Healthcare and LOROS, together with technology providers Spirit Health and Dignio.