An NHS service that helps monitor patients in the comfort of their own homes has reached more than 1,000 people in East and North Hertfordshire.
The important milestone has been achieved by the Hospital at Home service, which provides hospital-equivalent care and safely monitors patients remotely using state-of-the-art technology. Tech-enabled virtual wards are one of the key elements of Hospital at Home.
One such patient to benefit is Edna Webber, 90, from Stevenage, who has been remotely monitored through Hospital at Home for atrial fibrillation on two separate occasions. She said:
“The service has been excellent. It’s so much better for me to be at home – I can have what I like to eat, a nice cup of tea and a good night’s sleep in my own bed. I feel like I made a quicker recovery because I was at home.
“I was so grateful someone was looking after me, and you’re in constant contact with the team, so you feel so safe. The nurses would come to my home to take my blood test to make sure I was responding well.
“The tech was easy to understand, and everyone was so patient in explaining it to me. I’d recommend Hospital at Home to anyone.”
The service is delivered by the East and North Herts Health and Care Partnership and is open to suitable patients over 18 who have a GP in East and North Hertfordshire. Patients who can be monitored remotely are supplied with a kit via tech partner Doccla, which usually includes a tablet, a blood pressure monitor, pulse oximeter, thermometer and if needed weighing scales and an electrocardiogram device. The patient data is regularly fed back to a team made up of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and therapists, who can closely oversee the patient’s condition and stay in regular contact.
Alongside remote monitoring, Hospital at Home can provide face-to-face care from a multi-disciplinary team to help people remain at home. This combination of care has helped more than 7,380 patients in East and North Hertfordshire since the service began accepting patients in January 2021.
Dr Elizabeth Kendrick, Medical Director at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, said:
“We know that people who receive treatment and care at home can have quicker recovery times, so our team are delighted to be improving the quality of life for so many patients across east and north Herts.
“We are one of the first in England to have built this type of remote monitoring hub model – it’s this kind of innovation that is so needed in the NHS to alleviate pressures elsewhere.
“The service is especially beneficial for people with certain complex illnesses, disabilities and frailty. Anyone who has been in hospital for a prolonged period knows that being cared for at home can be life-changing in so many ways.”
Achieving this key milestone of reaching 1,000 patients in east and north Hertfordshire is part of a national ambition to deliver more virtual wards – NHS England recently published data showing that there are now more 10,000 virtual ward beds available across England, treating more than 240,000 patients.
Dr Justin Daniels, Medical Director at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust , said:
“We are pleased to celebrate the success of our Hospital at Home service which has brought hospital-equivalent monitoring to over 1,000 patients in East and North Hertfordshire.
“Through this innovative approach we are not only improving patient outcomes but also redefining the future of healthcare, exemplifying our commitment to delivering patient-centred care. We have seen the benefits the service is having on our patients, including reducing hospital admissions and making healthcare more accessible for patients.
“If you are a patient at one of our hospitals, please do speak to those in charge of your care to see if you would be eligible for our Hospital at Home service.”
Martin Ratz, founder of tech company Doccla, said:
“I have had the privilege of working with the Hospital at Home team for almost three years now and it is such a huge achievement to hit the milestone of 1,000 patients who have been cared for on a virtual ward.
“That is 1,000 people who have woken up in their own bed, getting hospital-level care with all the benefits of home, thanks to innovative clinical teams and our technology working in partnership. I look forward to the next 1,000 people benefitting!”