News, NHS trust

Lincolnshire Community Health Services shares virtual ward approach and benefits

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) has shared an update on its virtual ward programme, detailing its approach and some of the benefits it has noted, including a frailty virtual ward with just under 500 admissions in its first year, supporting a reported saving of “more than 2,000 hospital bed days”.

The frailty virtual ward sees a specialist team of nurses carry out face-to-face visits with patients, before issuing them with a “remote monitoring kit” which enables them to take their own observations to feed back to the team throughout the day.

LCHS highlights the role of multidiscplinary working for their virtual ward approach, with the specialist nurse team feeding back findings at a daily multidisciplinary team meeting with representatives from Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Urgent Community Response, Occupational Therapy, Age UK and Adult Social Care along with community nurses and community hospital doctors.

“This collaboration is of huge importance to patients; information gathering, and referrals can be carried out there and then, saving valuable time, and ensuring speedier responses to patients,” states the trust.

The trust also operates a cardiology virtual ward working on a ‘step up, step down’ model which allows patients to be assessed at home by specialists in the field and utilises electronic prescribing where appropriate. The trust states that the model “has allowed the team to treat patients in a more personalised way” depending on their conditions and symptoms.  At present, the cardiology virtual ward has a capacity of 30, with LCHS noting plans to expand the service.

To learn more about LCHS’s virtual ward approach, please click here.

Also on virtual wards, NHS England has published the latest figures for the capacity and occupancy of virtual wards across integrated care boards.

From elsewhere, Inhealthcare has been awarded an NHS contract to scale up virtual wards across West Yorkshire. The new contract will see the company working with NHS West Yorkshire ICB to roll out a range of clinical services, with an aim to make improvements in areas including early discharge, reducing avoidable hospital admissions, and improving overall patient experience.