Kind corporate helps virtual hospital care

Geraldine, Babrah, Diana and Maggie from the virtual hospital team receive the blood monitors

More poorly patients can now receive care at home thanks to a local corporate donor.  The kind supporter, based in Watford’s Imperial Way, has funded two special blood pressure monitors which means that more patients can be supported by West Herts’ acclaimed virtual hospital team.

About our innovative virtual hospital

As the COVID pandemic took hold, West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust developed an innovative virtual hospital programme. The virtual hospital model of care uses technology to provide a regular feed of health data from patients in their own homes to a virtual hospital hub where their results are closely monitored by a multi-disciplinary team, including specialist nurses, doctors, therapists and physiologists.

Patients are monitored via an app and they follow a schedule for uploading their key health data. Their data is monitored seven days a week and includes a daily virtual ward round with a consultant. The app prompts a member of the clinical team looking after the patient to get in touch if data readings are outside of normal range and an alert will tell patients on their phone or tablet to contact the virtual hub or the emergency services.

More than 6,500 COVID patients in West Herts were treated this way, saving thousands of ‘bed days’ while keeping patients safe. Patients’ outcomes were excellent and they gave such positive feedback that this model of care was rolled out for other patients, such as those suffering from heart failure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

A bank of clinicians constantly monitor patients’ health

Expanding this successful service so even more patients can benefit

The programme’s success means that more and more patients in West Herts are now being cared for this way, so the virtual hospital team asked us to see if anyone in the community could help expand the project. They particularly wanted additional M2 Automatic Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitors which use the oscillometric method of blood pressure measurement. This means that the equipment monitors patients’ blood movement through their brachial artery and converts the movements into a digital reading. It is ideal for patients being monitored from home because the OMRON M2 uses unique ‘Intellisense’ Technology which automatically applies the right amount of pressure, preventing discomfort caused by over inflation of the cuff. The M2 has a convenient one-touch design and large display which is useful for older patients with poor eyesight.

The benefits

The benefits of this model of care include:

  • Patients can go home earlier
  • Improved patient experience
  • Joined up care
  • Prevention of further re-admissions
  • Closer relationships between organisations.

Samantha Sherratt, Raise’s CEO, thanked the corporate donor, saying “We are so grateful for your kindness. Thanks to you, we have been able to fund these two new monitors meaning that more patients can leave hospital sooner and be monitored in the comfort of their own homes by a team of experts.”

Just one patient’s feedback

Andrew, a patient with lung disease who receives care from the virtual hospital, said: “When you are at home, it helps you recuperate more. You are in your own environment, know where everything is, can sleep better and you know that you’re being kept an eye on by the hospital because you’ve got constant contact with them. I feel safe and secure knowing that they’re on the other end of the phone.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and MP Dean Russell (left) met the team managing the virtual hospital hub

Glowing reports

Prime minister Rishi Sunak visited Watford General on Sunday 18 June and surprised our brilliant Team West Herts staff by joining them on the night shift. He spent time chatting with the teams and patients in our respiratory, cardiac care and stroke units and also helped out with some tasks like blood pressure checks. He met the team managing the virtual hospital hub and came away deeply impressed by this innovative model of care. Watch the video

You can watch a video message from the prime minister to #TeamWestHerts staff here:

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