The Challenges with Virtual Wards
Virtual ward pathways allow patients to receive hospital care at their usual place of residence with the necessary equipment needed to continually monitor their condition.
As virtual wards are being set up across the country, one of the most common challenges is uptake, driven by the fact that patients need to have confidence in the model and be assured that their care is safe. The main challenge is during the night, as many wards are only staffed for 12 hours a day, and patients are ‘left’ with access to 999 or 111 only if their conditions deteriorate.
Often, patients are re-admitted through the night as a result of a change in their condition. An article was recently published reporting that virtual wards initially set up to relieve pressure on A&E departments could create extra NHS demand due to some only being staffed for 12 hours a day.
Consultant Connect’s Solution
Consultant Connect’s overnight advice service for virtual wards is set up so that clinicians (e.g., nurses) can call GPs if patients’ conditions change and need assessing.
One of our examples covers two trusts in the South East. From 8pm – 8am, 7 days a week, ward nurses have access to remote advice provided by GPs to discuss patient conditions before a decision is made regarding an admission. Our model launched in December 2022, and of the total number of calls received to date, 76% have resulted in patients avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions*.
The importance of overnight access to advice for virtual wards reduces the number of patients admitted unnecessarily. This service also provides reassurance for patients and their families that there is a clinician available at the touch of a button when needed.
The flexibility of our service means that it can be altered to fit the needs of your NHS area, for example, as a direct line for virtual ward patients or their carers to GPs.
To discuss how remote advice for virtual wards can help your NHS area, fill in the call-back form below or email us email@example.com
*Based on calls where outcomes were left.