Northern Care Alliance reports positive feedback on virtual ward for COVID-19

The Northern Care Alliance (NCA) NHS Group has reported positive feedback on its use of a virtual ward for COVID-19 patients.

The NCA and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust are using the remote monitoring solution known as Florence, or ‘Flo’, to support safe patient discharge post-COVID 19 admission. The NHS-developed and owned project enables personalised, two-way messages that allow patients to self-manage their condition, while clinicians monitor and manage patients remotely. The three pathways designed allow for an earlier but supported discharge, thereby freeing up further bed capacity in hospitals.

In this particular case study, the virtual ward model supports patients for up to two weeks post-discharge.

The Florence solution is currently allowing the University Hospitals of North Midlands and Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust to enable the delivery of the Oxi@Home programme, in which patients measure and report both their oxygen saturations and pulse from home, receiving clinical guidance or reassurance in return.

Between its go-live in November and 12 January, the NCA reports it has received ‘overwhelmingly positive feedback’ on the Florence service, with patients saying:

  • Florence helped them to cope with COVID-19
  • they would recommend the service to family and friends
  • they felt supported in managing their symptoms.

Becky Lessons, Respiratory Specialist Nurse at Pennine Acute Trust said that the service had been a “great reassurance” for patients and that feedback had been positive.

She also noted that for staff, “it has worked really well to have all the patient information available in one place as it allows us to quickly highlight any deterioration in symptoms and promptly contact the patients to discuss this further.”

Ashfield PCN also recently launched a Florence pathway, in just five working days, and plans to share its outcomes.