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Virtual Wards: Helping you get home sooner or preventing hospital admission

What is a virtual ward?

Virtual wards allow clinically assessed patients to get the care they need safely, where they feel most comfortable: at home. It’s sometimes called 'hospital at home.'

Patients on a virtual ward are cared for by a team of experts who can offer a range of tests and treatments. Every patient has a personalised care plan designed to meet their care needs.

Virtual ward patients have regular contact with the team who will call or visit and check how they are progressing.

Many virtual wards use technology so healthcare staff can easily keep track of a patient's progress. If the patient’s condition starts to change, the virtual ward team can step in quickly to help.

What are the benefits of virtual wards?

Virtual wards have many benefits:

  • Getting you home sooner or avoiding going to hospital in the first place, if appropriate
  • Same joined up, high-quality care, just as you would have on a ward
  • Regular monitoring by, and access to, a team of health professionals, able to visit you if necessary
  • Keeping you connected to your families, carers and communities
  • Fewer trips to NHS settings

What a virtual ward is not?

A virtual ward is not for every patient. Patients are assessed to make sure they will be safe to join a virtual ward.

  • It is not about keeping very ill people out of hospital
  • It is not just for young patients or people who are good with technology
  • It is not only ‘virtual’ care, but in person care too

Who can join a virtual ward?

Virtual wards are usually for people who are stable or on the mend, but still need some medical attention. It's not for serious cases that need lots of hospital equipment. Your healthcare team will assess your condition to see if a virtual ward is right for you before you are offered it.

Virtual Wards Patient FAQ

  • Are ‘virtual wards’ and ‘hospital at home’ the same thing?

  • What health conditions is the virtual ward suitable for?

  • How big does my room have to be to accommodate the technology?

  • What is the minimum level of support I can expect in terms of using the kit/technology?

  • Do I need to be tech savvy to use the equipment?

  • Do I need to have the Internet?

  • What if there is an emergency?

  • Does somebody from my family or a friend need to stay with me?

  • How does this affect the care given by the people already looking after me?

  • Which care professional is responsible for which aspect of care?

  • If people are offered the virtual wards option, do they have to take it even if they prefer going to hospital?

  • How safe is my data? What happens to my information?

  • Do you have a case study from someone who's been on a virtual ward?

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"Seen very quickly. The nurse was very understanding, approachable and empathetic"  - Luton community paediatrics