A virtual ward, which serves patients across Coventry and Warwickshire who are receiving clinical support for respiratory conditions, has been extended.

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease virtual ward at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust allows patients to receive support from home and the service has been so well received since launching six months ago, that it has now been extended to accept community referrals.

In addition, the DOC@HOME platform from Docobo has been introduced to Warwick Hospital and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, so that eligible respiratory patients can be remotely monitored as the region continues a move towards virtual wards.

Patients on virtual wards are issued with all of the necessary technology to support their use of the service. This includes a mobile phone complete with a remote monitoring app, a thermometer, blood pressure monitor and a pulse oximeter reader.

They are taught how to use the equipment and to send their readings on to their healthcare professional. Submitted data is closely monitored so that any concerns can be addressed quickly and the necessary action taken.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System has been involved with the implantation of the virtual wards, with support from NHSX and Docobo.

Jodie Storrow, service manager for respiratory specialist nurses at the trust, said: “Not only is there a unique opportunity to reduce inequalities, strengthen relationships with external partners and reduce admissions and length of stays, but it can transform the way our patients are managed and the impact this has on their quality of life.”

Patients can be discharged from the virtual ward if appropriate or readmitted into hospital if they deteriorate. At all times patients have access to health and support.

The aim of virtual wards is to ensure that people receive high quality care to safely manage their condition at home and avoid any unnecessary hospitalisations. It will also help to free up bed capacity at hospitals.

Adrian Flowerday, MD at Docobo, added: “Since the NHS notice went out to mobilise virtual wards, we’ve worked closely with the fantastic teams across the area to mobilise our DOC@HOME platform to enable their virtual wards, and I’m really impressed how the team have worked so hard to provide this care.”

This month has also seen University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust launch a remote monitoring initiative for heart patients with virtual wards from Doccla.